Thank You for Your $250 Donation. May I Please Collect Your Social Security Number? Agudah Worried about Proposed IRS Law

agudah washingtonSuch is the heart of a recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposal. More specifically, REG-138344-13 proposes that, for charitable donations of $250 or more, nonprofit organizations should be offered the option of collecting donors’ social security numbers and reporting them, along with the donation amount, to the IRS, instead of providing a receipt to the donor.

While the system would be optional at this point, Agudath Israel of America views REG-138344-13 as a dangerous step toward altering the way donations are processed by nonprofit organizations. “This is a lose-lose,” said Rabbi Abba Cohen, the group’s Vice President for Federal Affairs and Washington Director. “Donors do not need to subject themselves to yet another information security concern when trying to do something positive, and nonprofits do not need another IRS administrative headache. With this law in place, what would prevent unsavory characters, masquerading as a nonprofit organization, from preying on a vulnerable individual in the hope of eliciting a social security number?”

Added Rabbi Cohen, “This law may have the unintended consequence of encouraging multiple $249 donations for those who do not want to disclose sensitive information – only necessitating more busywork.”

IRS Substantiation-page-001Due to these disturbing concerns, Agudath Israel penned a letter to the IRS and submitted it during the proposal’s comment period to strongly oppose this introduction.

What makes this proposal a true head-scratcher is that the IRS states on its website that the current system of simply providing a receipt to a donor, “Works effectively, with minimal burden on donors and donees, and the Treasury Department and the IRS have received few requests… to implement a donee reporting system.”

So, why the change?

Agudath Israel will continue to monitor this proposal as it proceeds through the legislative process.


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