Non-Profits Unhappy With IRS Proposed Rule On Charitable Giving

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Bert Perry's picture

Looks like the IRS is needing some remedial instruction on the 1974 Privacy Act, not to mention the 4th Amendment, 5th Amendment, and public objection to their infringement of the rights of 501C3 and 501C4 organizations in the past seven years.

Or maybe they are not, and they're counting on the press' adulation of Mr. Obama and the courts to bail them out.  Either way, very dangerous.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

I work in a NPO, and this is, on it's face, one of the most terrifying things to come down the pike in a long time.  Keeping our organization in compliance with the various PCI requirements is difficult enough, and now they want me to ask our donors/supporters for their SSN's as well?  And keep that information on file and then to turn it over to the government?  Do they have any idea what they're telling people to do from a NPO's perspective?

I think there is an agenda here, and I think it has very little to do with tax substantiation.  I think it has more to do with doubleplus goodthink or ungoodthink than anything else.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jim's picture

I don't like it but if required I could comply

  • I can see the reasoning of the IRS ... an effort to eliminate tax fraud
  • Probably every document that flows to the IRS has the taxpayer's tax ID which is his SS # 
  • At 65, one is required to enroll in Medicare (part A at the very least) ... Guess what ... one's medicare card has his SS # on it. 
  • Fraud is so rampant our tax system. So they are trying to close that loophole. 

See sample Medicare Card below

Bert Perry's picture

Jim, I see your point, but keep in mind the IRS's recent record in terms of discriminating against people with political positions opposing the President.....no way I trust the IRS with this information, especially as collecting it probably violates multiple statutory laws.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Rob Fall's picture

for go deducting their giving to their local church or other institution rather than give those bodies their Social Security Number?  I would.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

GregH's picture

Really not a big deal. The IRS has the right to make sure that people are not cheating on taxes. It is similar to 1099 reporting for contractors.

josh p's picture

I could see this resulting in lower charitable giving or a lot of cash donations. Leave it to the IRS to make charitable giving  difficult.

Jim Welch's picture

Comments before the offering:

Saints, I want to commend you for your faithful stewardship.  You are lovers of God and God's works.  You give sacrificially and generously and out of a heart of love.  As you give this morning, please include your SS #'s on your checks, so that we can fulfill your obligation to be honest with your tax returns.  Now, let us pray.

What role does a non-profit have in making sure that American citizens are fulfilling their tax obligations?  I think that the IRS is over stepping its responsibilities.  There is no way for the IRS to make sure that compliance has happened or if compliance is carried out in an even handed manner.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

I'm not really sure how the IRS wanting the recipient to record the SSN would result in any less cheating.  For donations over $250, I already have to have a receipt to present to the IRS at tax time.  The IRS also gets my SSN.  I would assume that the IRS also gets the records from those that receive the donations.  Since those records will also have name and amounts, the extra SSN would seem superfluous.  Even if the IRS doesn't get such records every year, I would also further assume that those organizations have to keep records to maintain their status as a non-profit organization, so the records will be available for an audit in the even of suspected cheating.

This whole mess is another reason we should move to a completely consumption-based system, with exemptions for basic items for the poor.  Then the only taxes that would have to be filed would be from businesses that sell and then collect taxes.

Dave Barnhart

G. N. Barkman's picture

Not from any churches that I know about.  Certainly not from our church.  Nor do I think they receive them from other charitable institutions.  This new "rule" is a bad move.

G. N. Barkman

Bert Perry's picture

My experience is that churches are not required to report donations to the IRS at this point.  The only time they would be required to report some donations is when a subpoena is issued.  In general that would not open up all donations.

Which is, to harp on something I've harped on before, really something that's pretty much required by the Bill of Rights and the 1974 Privacy Act.  As far as I can tell, many agencies chafe under this--I once caught the USDA insisting on some things that were not in any respect required by law. However, they'd written it in their code and were enforcing it--it was a requirement that spouses' SSNs be provided for those wanting crop insurance.  

So this kind of regulatory overreach is something we ought to be sensitive to, especially inasmuch as the IRS is not known for their restraint in these matters.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

GregH's picture

This is all about perspective. If you think for some reason that Christians have a right to a tax deduction for giving to their church, you are likely to be outraged by this. As for me, I think it is a pretty nice thing to get a tax deduction for charitable giving. It is hardly a Constitutional right or a Biblical mandate. With that in mind, knowing that people do cheat on their taxes (including Christians), it seems entirely reasonable for the IRS to verify contributions just like they verify income. If you want the tax deduction, you can't complain that the IRS wants to confirm you actually did what you said you did. I don't see the problem. And yes, I say that in light of the fact that this IRS rule is probably setting up a future rule where charitable organizations have to send the equivalents of 1099's to the government each year. What is the big deal?

And of course, this is not about Christians at all. It is about all religions and all all non-profits.

Rob Fall's picture

Which is why we (filing jointly) would forgo the deduction rather than cause our church to pass on our SSNs.

GregH wrote:

This is all about perspective. If you think for some reason that Christians have a right to a tax deduction for giving to their church, you are likely to be outraged by this. As for me, I think it is a pretty nice thing to get a tax deduction for charitable giving. It is hardly a Constitutional right or a Biblical mandate. With that in mind, knowing that people do cheat on their taxes (including Christians), it seems entirely reasonable for the IRS to verify contributions just like they verify income. If you want the tax deduction, you can't complain that the IRS wants to confirm you actually did what you said you did. I don't see the problem. And yes, I say that in light of the fact that this IRS rule is probably setting up a future rule where charitable organizations have to send the equivalents of 1099's to the government each year. What is the big deal?

And of course, this is not about Christians at all. It is about all religions and all all non-profits.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..