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Rothfus, Higgins introduce legislation to protect charitable nonprofits and donors

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Fri, Dec 18th 2015 09:45 am

Congressman Keith Rothfus, R-PA-12, and Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, introduced the Charitable Giving Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 4281), bipartisan legislation to protect charitable nonprofits and their donors from what they called the negative consequences of an ongoing rulemaking by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service.

The proposed rule would give 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations - including charities, religious groups and educational foundations - the option of collecting and providing to the IRS the name, address and Social Security numbers of their donors to substantiate (or serve as evidence of) contributions for tax purposes.

Since its issuance, the proposed rule has been strongly opposed by charitable nonprofits across the U.S., because it could unnecessarily compromise the private personal information of donors and disincentivize charitable giving.

"Charitable nonprofits are an essential element of our society that positively affect the lives of millions of Americans. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will serve to better protect these valuable organizations and their supporters and ensure that they can continue to provide important services to communities across the country," Rothfus said.

"Any circulation of Social Security numbers raises privacy concerns for individuals, and the collection and transmission of personal data places an unnecessary burden on nonprofit organizations already stretched thin," Higgins added. "I am pleased to join Congressman Rothfus in this bipartisan legislation that protects organizations doing good work in our communities and the people who support them."

Rothfus and Higgins' legislation is supported by the National Council of Nonprofits, which represents more than 25 thousand nonprofit organizations nationwide. The proposed rulemaking has received nearly 35 thousand comments, almost all expressing opposition.

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