The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) decided last week that it doesn’t want the Social Security numbers of nonprofit donors after all. The unpopular government agency withdrew its proposal to have nonprofits obtain more extensive information about donors making charitable contributions of $250 or more. The changes would have come in the form of an amendment to Income Tax Regulations and would have placed organizations in the position of collecting donors’ tax information such as Social Security numbers and addresses.
“The Treasury Department and the IRS received a substantial number of public comments in response to the notice of proposed rule-making,” the IRS said in a statement. “Many of these public comments questioned the need for donee reporting, and many comments expressed significant concerns about donee organizations collecting and maintaining taxpayer identification numbers for purposes of the specific-use information return.”
The IRS received almost 38,000 comments on the amendment. The agency usually receives a few hundred on its proposals.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., introduced legislation last month to block the proposed regulation Roberts released a statement expressing approval of the IRS’ final decision.
“I am pleased the IRS has listened to reason and has scrapped this plan,” he Roberts said. “The rule would have had a chilling effect on charitable giving and would have added a costly burden to charitable organizations.”
Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits – one of a few organizations that is credited for rallying the nonprofit sector against the proposed rule – wrote in a statement, “Nonprofits have neither the financial resources nor sufficient staffing to combat hackers who will see an easy source for Social Security information. This also creates a liability nightmare for innocent nonprofits…To be asked to share their address, their credit card number and their Social Security number all in the same place would be enough to scare even the most committed donor to decline to give.”