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Counting on Donations: IRS Proposal Could Change How Charities Collect Info

A proposed change by the IRS could prompt some nonprofits to collect donor information for gifts valued at more than $250. (DodgertonSkillhause/morguefile.com)
A proposed change by the IRS could prompt some nonprofits to collect donor information for gifts valued at more than $250. (DodgertonSkillhause/morguefile.com)
December 30, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Chances are many Tennesseans are making last-minute donations in preparation for the end of the tax year, but an IRS proposal could prompt some nonprofits in future years to collect the personal information of donors who give gifts valued at more than $250.

Lewis Levine, president with the Center for Nonprofit Management based in Nashville, says collecting personal information such as Social Security numbers could create a financial and temporal burden for organizations and potentially impact donations.

"It would be a voluntary system," says Lavine. "But nonprofit leaders are concerned about that dampening down philanthropy and about their record keeping."

In addition to the cumbersome job of managing and protecting donor data, it could make it difficult for some nonprofits to secure board members, who are concerned over the liabilities involved. As with any collection of your personal data, you will be made aware of its collection and use.

Supporters of the proposal say it is needed because currently not all taxpayers file the proper paperwork for donations.

Lavine says while the proposal may be well intentioned, balancing personal rights with other concerns is a fine line.

"We live in an era of terrorism and of concern about security," says Lavine. "I assume that's why the IRS is pursuing this idea."

The IRS received public comment until the 16th of this month. An announcement is soon expected about whether the proposal will be put in place as an option for nonprofits.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN