DECEMBER 16, 2015


AGRM Weighs in on IRS and HUD Rulemakings 

AGRM will submit public comments in response to recent regulations proposed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that could have a significant affect on: 

  • Fundraising and donor relations, and 
  • Services for transgender individuals at certain rescue missions.  

The information below summarizes the federal rulemakings and requests comments from AGRM members on the proposed HUD regulation.

Internal Revenue Service 

A recent IRS rulemaking, the “Substantiation Requirement for Certain Contributions” (80 FR 55802), proposes a controversial new filing process that has created a lot of confusion among ministries and other nonprofit organizations.  The IRS is proposing to create an optional and voluntary (not mandatory) filing process for donees (nonprofits) that, if used, would require an organization to gather, report, and store its donors’ taxpayer identification numbers (Social Security numbers), among other personal information, to substantiate donors’ contributions.

The IRS proposed a similar regulation five years ago, which was met with widespread opposition.  Just this week Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), a member of the tax-writing committee in the U.S. Senate, introduced legislation to block the new proposed IRS regulation.  As pressure from the nonprofit sector and Capitol Hill continues to grow, it’s wise for us to help shine light on this misguided federal proposal.  The public comments AGRM will submit midweek argue the following themes:

  1. A new, purely optional reporting process for an existing system the IRS believes is effective is a solution without a problem and wholly unnecessary.
  2. The IRS proposed rulemaking jeopardizes sensitive donor information and needlessly exposes donors and donees to greater financial and legal risk.
  3. The proposed rule creates multiple donor-donee scenarios that could have a chilling affect on charitable giving and services.
  4. The proposed rule raises serious concerns about future IRS actions, even if the proposed filing system is optional.

Public comments can be submitted electronically through through today, December 16. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Housing and Urban Development

AGRM reported last month that HUD published a new proposed rule (80 FR 72642) on November 20 that will codify much the Office of Community Planning and Development’s (CPD) February 2015 guidance on placing transgender individuals in single-sex shelters (Notice CPD–015–02), which built on HUD’s broader 2012 Equal Access Rule (77 FR 5662).  AGRM also announced it would gather and consolidate comments on behalf of individual rescue mission members as part of an association-wide public comment to HUD, which is due Tuesday, January 19, 2016.

AGRM is asking members—especially members that are recipients or sub-recipients of CPD assistance, including funding from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Continuum of Care (CoC) programs—to send me their draft comments no later than Friday, January 8, 2016.  It will be helpful for members to focus comments on the following issues:

  1. Issues that may have been raised when considering potential compliance implications for your affected program(s).
  2. The potential impact of the proposed HUD rule on covered rescue mission programs (e.g., CDBG, ESG, and CoC).
  3. Potential differences between current policies on serving transgender individuals and the proposed HUD rulemaking.
  4. Specific concerns and/or questions (e.g., constitutional, programmatic, etc.) about the proposed HUD rulemaking, its implementation, and its potential impact on other shelter guests.

In addition, AGRM plans to thoughtfully highlight:  (1) HUD’s statement that “temporary, emergency shelters” do not qualify as “dwellings” under the Fair Housing Act (an important clarification that AGRM has been championing for several years); and (2) the applicability of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, to the proposed HUD rulemaking. Again, please feel free to contact me directly if you have questions.  

Finally, don’t forget to save March 14–16, 2016 to attend AGRM’s sixth annual DC Forum, which will include additional information about these regulations—and of course, much more.