You may have seen recent accounts in the national media regarding a new IRS regulation that will require churches to obtain the Social Security numbers of donors and provide them to the IRS. I want to explain what has happened and address whether church leaders need to be concerned.
In October, the IRS issued a proposed regulation amending the substantiation rules for charitable contributions: Internal Revenue Bulletin 2015-41. Generally, proposed regulations are published for public comment, and then the IRS issues a final regulation based, in part, on the public input provided. The public comment period for this regulation ends on December 16, 2015, after which the IRS will consider all the public comments and issue a final regulation.
The proposed regulation is only a page long, and it makes a proposed change in the way charitable contributions are substantiated. There are five things for church leaders to note: