If you know the names of donors, you can’t list them as anonymous on the 990

Sometimes a large donor will want to avoid being listed on the schedule B attachment to Form 990.  Even though schedule B is not disclosable to the public, some donors worry there is a risk of becoming known. Can you accommodate that request from donors?

No. Not if you actually know their name.

Several sources recently point out the IRS requires a person’s name be listed on Schedule B if the NPO knows the name. Listing “anonymous” doesn’t work.

A few references:

Cherry Bekaert & Holland’s post Nonprofit Must Report “Anonymoous Donors” on Form 990:

Entities must report the name given, should they have that information. … The only way to report a truly “anonymous” donation is if the organization does not know the name of the donor.

KPMG TaxNewsFlash, Reporting anonymous donors on Form 990, Schedule B

(W)hen the filing organization knows the donor’s identity, but the donor wishes to remain anonymous, the IRS official (who was speaking at an ABA Tax Section meeting) stated that the filing organization must disclose the donor‘s name on Form 990, Schedule B.

(Hat tip Not-for-Profit Blog from CBH)

Update:  Cindy Bergvall extends this discussion in her post Not as Anonymous as You Thought.  She reminds us that the real names only have to be provided to the IRS. You can take a few steps she outlines to avoid disclosing the information any further.  Check out her post for some good ideas.

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