In this era of increased harassment and persecution of people on the basis of political viewpoints and…
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First Amendment Rights: Good News from the IRS on Donor Privacy

In this era of increased harassment and persecution of people on the basis of political viewpoints and First Amendment expression, there’s actually good news to report.

In fact, that positive development comes from none other than the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which few people typically consider a font of good news.

Specifically, the IRS just announced a proposed rule to stop requiring nonprofit organizations to file what’s known as a Form 990 Schedule B, which exposes sensitive donor information not only to the federal government and potential rogues like former IRS official Lois Lerner, but also people who seek to access and use that information to target people on the basis of political belief.

As we at CFIF have long asserted, this welcome move will help protect the…[more]

September 12, 2019 • 11:07 am

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Home Press Room Coalition Urges IRS Rulemaking on Donor Privacy/Elimination of Schedule B Form Filing Requirement
Coalition Urges IRS Rulemaking on Donor Privacy/Elimination of Schedule B Form Filing Requirement Print
Tuesday, May 15 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter sent today, a coalition of more than 60 influential organizations and individuals called on President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to protect First Amendment freedoms of speech and association, and help prevent further targeting of nonprofit organizations and their donors on the basis of ideology.  The letter specifically urges them to encourage an IRS rulemaking to eliminate the Schedule B form filing requirement for 501(c) exempt organizations. 

Schedule B, which is currently a mandatory IRS form that nonprofit organizations must file with their end-of-year returns, lists the names, addresses and other intimate information of certain donors.  By law, it is supposed to remain private and confidential.  In recent years, however, the IRS’s collection and retention of that information has resulted in persecution and targeting by not only the IRS, but other government officials – specifically hyper-partisan state attorneys general who have demanded and sought to use the information to harass and intimidate organizations and individual donors that do not share their ideological and political beliefs.

This latest effort, organized by the Center for Individual Freedom ("CFIF"), follows similar pleas to Congress for legislative action earlier this year and last year.  While a permanent legislative fix would be ideal, the coalition explains in this latest letter that, “Congress’ ongoing failure to act has left nonprofit organizations and their donors vulnerable to further targeting, thus justifying action by the Administration.” 

"In the absence of legislation, the IRS can and should initiate a rulemaking to eliminate the Schedule B requirement, thereby preventing IRS officials and activist state attorneys general from exploiting the confidential information to target groups and individual Americans with whom they politically disagree," the letter reads. 

"Such a rulemaking is well within the IRS’s prerogative.  Congress never adopted the Schedule B donor disclosure requirement for most exempt 501(c) organizations.  Yet the disclosure requirement applies today to all exempt organizations, as the Treasury Department and IRS made the decision independently of Congress to require the filing of Schedule B as part of the Form 990 annual information return of all exempt organizations."

Read the entire letter here.

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