May 27, 2020 •
New IRS Rules: Some Tax-Exempt Groups Don’t Have to Report Contributors
On May 28, new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations allowing certain tax-exempt organizations to refrain from reporting the names and addresses of contributors on their annual reports to the IRS will take effect and be published in the U.S. Federal Register.
This exemption from reporting applies to tax-exempt organizations generally not receiving tax-deductible contributions, such as labor unions, volunteer fire departments, issue-advocacy groups, local chambers of commerce, veterans’ groups, and community service clubs. These organizations are still required to continue to collect and keep the donor information and to make it available to the IRS upon its request. This change does not affect the information required to be reported by charities primarily receiving tax-deductible contributions, such as 501(c)(3) organizations, certain nonexempt private foundations, or 527 political organizations.
The Treasury Department and IRS had given three primary reasons for the change: the IRS makes no systematic use of this information collected by these organizations; the policy reduces the risk of inadvertent disclosure or misuse of confidential information; and the policy saves both private and government resources.
Previously, the IRS had issued a guidance to this effect, but on July 30, 2019, the IRS guidance limiting these disclosure requirements was set aside by a federal judge. In Bullock v. IRS, the U.S. District Court District of Montana (Great Falls) found the IRS violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not providing notice and allowing a public comment period before the guidance was issued. It predicated this decision by finding the guidance was a legislative rule. Subsequently, on September 6, the IRS issued a notice of a proposed rulemaking and accepted public comment.
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