Which Stores Support Christmas?

P1160243This time of year, many stores offer discounts for Christmas shoppers, but for whatever reason some of the stores fail to acknowledge Christmas itself.

American Family Association has assembled its “Naughty or Nice” list for 2015. The list tells which stores actively promote and acknowledge Christmas; which stores are marginal in acknowledging Christmas; and which stores largely fail to acknowledge Christmas at all.

If you would prefer to do business with companies who are not afraid to say, “Merry Christmas,” this list may be a big help.

You can read AFA’s full “Naughty or Nice” list here.

New Poll: Most Americans Attend Church at Christmas

If church attendance is a major part of the Christmas season for you and your family, you’re not alone.

According to new polling from Lifeway Research, 61% of Americans plan to attend church during Christmastime.

Interestingly, more than half of those who said they do not plan to attend church this Christmas acknowledged they would attend if a friend invited them.

And in case you’re wondering, according to Lifeway, Jesus really is the reason for church attendance this season. They write,

When asked, “For you personally, which of the following is the primary reason you attend church at Christmastime?” 77 percent chose “to honor Jesus.”

Other reasons Americans chose lagged considerably with 9 percent saying they attend church at Christmastime to be with family and friends, another 9 percent say to observe tradition, and 3 percent to get in the Christmas spirit.

You can read more about the polling here.

This IRS Rule Could Lead to Churches Handing Over SSNs of Donors

Earlier this week Family Research Council sent out an alert about a proposed IRS rule change that could eventually require churches and other 501(c)(3) nonprofits–including groups like FRC, Family Council, and others–to give the IRS the Social Security numbers of their donors.

FRC writes,

“Under this ‘optional’ new system, the agency is suggesting that 501(c)(3) organizations (like FRC) consider doing away with their written acknowledgements of gifts over $250 and consider sending all of their donors’ personal information to the agency instead. Specifically, the IRS is interested in Social Security numbers, which the agency insists would make it easier for givers. Instead of processing lots of paperwork, officials are cheering the idea as a way to cut down on paperwork and streamline the filing for both sides. Google ‘Lois Lerner’ if you think this is a good idea.”

The proposed IRS rule change was quietly rolled out a few weeks ago. The proposal states,

“Accordingly, the proposed regulations require that donees who opt to use donee reporting must report . . . the donor’s name, address, and taxpayer identification number. The donor’s taxpayer identification number is necessary in order to properly associate the donation information with the correct donor. Unlike a CWA, which is not sent to the IRS, the donee reporting information return will be sent to the IRS, which must have a means to store, maintain, and readily retrieve the return information for a specific taxpayer if and when substantiation is required in the course of an examination.” (Emphasis Added)

So what is a taxpayer identification number, and why is it such a big deal to ask nonprofits to give the IRS that information?

The IRS website lists multiple types of taxpayer identification numbers; however, for the average American, “taxpayer identification number” means “Social Security number.” Considering Social Security numbers appear on every tax return sent to the IRS, it’s easy to see why many Americans would not be bothered by the idea of Social Security numbers appearing on filings from nonprofits as well.

The problem is this rule change could eventually require churches and other nonprofits to collect Social Security numbers from all donors. That means church offices, for example, would be responsible for securing and maintaining Social Security numbers of church members. That’s going to make churches and other nonprofits targets for identity thieves and other criminals.