Thanks in part to a decisive response by nonprofit organizations including Agudath Israel of America, the IRS has retracted its proposal that nonprofits collect the social security numbers of donors who give $250 or more to charity.
The proposed regulation states that for donations of $250 or more, nonprofits could collect donors’ social security numbers and report them to the IRS, along with the donation amount, in lieu of a tax receipt.
Friends of Agudath Israel at the venerable CPA firm, Louis J. Septimus and Co., recently alerted Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Vice President for Federal Affairs and Washington Director to this proposed regulation, recognizing the damage this could cause yeshivos and other nonprofit organizations. Rabbi Cohen then penned a letter to the IRS, during the proposal’s comment period, strongly opposing the regulation and urging the agency to withdraw it. He argued that the proposal places significant costs and burdens on non-profit organizations and discourages donations. “In an era of increased concern over managed data security, this is a step in the wrong direction,” he stated, noting as well that unscrupulous actors could target donors and reputable nonprofit organizations, collecting social security numbers.
“Thankfully the IRS has seen the wisdom of abandoning this proposal, responding to our concerns, and that of numerous others,” said Rabbi Cohen. “Creating a more complex process when the IRS admits on their website that the one we have works well is not helpful, and opening the door to unscrupulous con artists by introducing the collection of social security numbers will certainly not encourage donations.”
Agudath Israel is grateful for the partnership it has with community professionals who share their information and expertise and alert the organization to proposals that may adversely affect individuals and mosdos. This allowed Agudath Israel to take decisive action, oppose and, with others, defeat this IRS bill.