The Internal Revenue Service has responded to a public outcry and done an about-face regarding a proposed rule change.
Late last year, the IRS sought public comment over a proposal for non-profit organizations, including churches, to gather and report Social Security numbers of donors who give more than $250. Now, however, the agency has withdrawn the proposed regulation after hearing from thousands of online protests submitted to the federal government.
John Eidsmoe, senior counsel at the Foundation for Moral Law, explains that, if implemented, the proposal would have placed a burden on many churches and non-profits because they are staffed in part by volunteers.
"[Consequently there's] the prospect of there being errors and an administrative quagmire over this," he continues. "The problem for a church is some donors will give their Social Security numbers and some will not. What do they do? Do they return contributions of people who won't give more? [There's also] the chilling effect that this might have on donors."
Eidsmoe suggests that some donors would stop giving altogether while others would make sure their contributions would be under $250.
In addition, concern was expressed over identity theft which has become a problem considering computer hackers getting private information from businesses and government agencies.
"I'm glad to say that over 34,000 people and organizations protested this and made comments on the Regulation.gov website expressing opposition to this," he reports. "Sometimes we the people can make a difference, because the IRS has now announced that they are withdrawing that proposed regulation."