On Monday, July 16, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a new Revenue Procedure, Rev. Proc. 2018-13, which provides that Form 990 filers other than section 501(c)(3) organizations and section 527 organizations will no longer have to release the names and addresses of their donors.
The Treasury Department and IRS announced that 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organizations, among others will no longer be required to disclose their donors on their Form 990 filings.
The subject of disclosing donors on Schedule B of the Form 990 has long been a sensitive one. Nonprofits worry about other organizations pilfering their donors. Additionally, when giving to a sensitive or controversial cause, many donors do not want their names publicly known.
The latter issue has gained much focus in recent years due to the increased use of section 501(c)(4) by organizations that want to make independent expenditures in political campaigns since the Citizens United Supreme Court case in 2010 made that possible.
Although Form 990 filings are available to the public, the information on donors is by law not open to public disclosure, and the IRS has at all times redacted the names and addresses of contributors. However, there have been instances where information has been accidentally released leading to increased pressure on the IRS to remove this requirement.
The revised reporting requirements will take effect for the year ending December 2018, with returns generally filed May 15, 2019.