NTU Urges House to Protect Donor Privacy from IRS Overreach

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “YES” on H.R. 5053, the “Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act.” This bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from requiring 501(c) tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations to divulge the identities of their donors in their annual returns, and pre-empt further violations of both taxpayer privacy and free speech by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

This critical legislation was introduced in response to a misguided IRS proposal to allow charitable organizations to substantiate donations by submitting a report to the IRS which would include, among other personal information, the donor’s Social Security Number. The plan posed numerous risks for privacy and could have exposed individuals to an increased threat of identity theft.

Between hacking incidents, fraudulent preparers, information intercepted through the mail, and other schemes, the number of taxpayers experiencing some kind of identity theft exceeded 2.4 million in the most recent available year. The IRS has even leaked the donor list of a non-profit organization. In addition, the IRS’s past discriminatory methods for determining the tax status of not-for- profit organizations raises questions about the prudence of further empowering this untrustworthy agency.

This latest threat of reporting additional donor information to the IRS would have created a significant barrier to donating and a chilling effect on the free speech of both individuals and nonprofit organizations. Based on past IRS actions, it is likely that the agency is determined to impose more restrictions on 501(c) organizations and the donors who support them. It’s essential that Congress take steps to rein in the IRS and help preserve the robust charitable sector that serves such an essential role in our society.

Roll call votes on H.R. 5053 will be significantly weighted in our annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.

If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift at (703) 683-5700