January 27, 2016
Muslim Advocates Is Always Working on Behalf of the American Muslim Nonprofit Sector
Muslim Advocates is committed to strengthening the American Muslim nonprofit sector through the implementation of best practices, donor empowerment, and educational seminars and materials.
We recently responded to a request for comments on proposed changes to regulations in the State of California. In particular, the Attorney General of California proposed several modifications to the regulations governing the release of Schedule B of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990. Schedule B contains a list of donors that have contributed $5,000 or more to a nonprofit organization. Similar to the IRS, the Attorney General of California does not disclose this information to the public. However, the proposed amendments to the regulations allow for disclosure in certain limited circumstances.
In a letter to the Deputy Attorney General of the State of California, Muslim Advocates worked together with the Alliance for Justice, to advocate for strong protections to maintain the confidentiality of donor information for all charities. Muslim Advocates’ Charities Program Director, Brenda Abdelall wrote, in part:
Confidentiality is paramount to both donors and nonprofits for many reasons. Some donors want to remain anonymous for religious reasons. Donors to charitable organizations that take positions on contentious public policy issues or represent communities that are frequent targets of discrimination and harassment must be protected from retaliation.
We are concerned that as currently written, this proposed rule does not contain appropriate safeguards [to protect confidentiality of donor information].
Further, we recommended that California use the same standards for confidentiality that have been established by the Internal Revenue Service.
The California Attorney General’s office is in the process of receiving and reviewing public comments on this matter. In a few weeks, we anticipate the Attorney General of California will make a final decision with regard to the proposed changes to these confidentiality regulations impacting charitable organizations. We will be sure to keep you informed on this and other important issues impacting nonprofits and charities across the country.
You can read the full letter by clicking here.