501(c)(3) question

A friend of mine runs a food pantry, and would like to know if she can put the pantry’s full 501©(3) number on the website. Her webmaster says that she can’t do it legally, but she thinks it public information.
What say ye?

What do you mean by its 501©(3) number? Do you mean its EIN? I’m not aware that 501©(3)s get a separate number.

From the IRS:

EIN would not be considered sensitive information and in fact, according to the US DOL:

Hope this helps!

Just for the record, that’s not the IRS. It’s a private organization that you can pay to set up a 501(c)(3) for you.

Well, son-of-a-gun, you are absolutely right! Must have clicked the wrong link in the search results.

Okay, here you go!

Applying for an exemption.

Who doesn’t need an exemption?*

*2nd link found during a search to recover the first link.

Non-profit groups’ EINs are easily found at Guidestar, so I can’t imagine why the webmaster feels it’s illegal, immoral or fattening to publish it.

Now, whether or not it’s useful to publish it is another question. I don’t think there’s really any good reason to publish it. If anyone needs it, they can to look it up at Guidestar, Melissadata or at the IRS.

The EIN # would be helpful for folks to use on their 1040 tax reurn if they contributed to the organization. Form 8283 requires you provide the EIN of the organization you contributed to for certain noncash contributions valued over $5,000.

Well, it may just be another layer of cross-referencing to make it easier for donors to check up on the pantry. As a grantor, we require the EIN on apps, because we’ll end up needing it to verify tax status with the accountant, and we don’t want to do the legwork.

I put our EIN on our charity’s Web site several years ago. As others said, it makes it easier to verify our info in a place like Guidestar or with the IRS, and is useful to donors so they can record it for tax/recordkeeping purposes.

For me, the reverse is also true: when I get a request from another charity, it is handy for both my research and recordkeeping to have that number easily attainable.

The webmaster must be insane. There are plenty of numbers you probably shouldn’t post on your website, but I can’t think of any that are illegal.

Putting an EIN on a nonprofit’s page is a common practice, and one I recommend.

The webmaster is probably confused because there are certain legal protections for the confidentiality of Social Security numbers (SSNs), and SSNs and EINs are both tax identification numbers (TINs). (Although it would not be illegal for you to post your own SSN, just very stupid.) In contrast to SSNs, EINs are not usually considered confidential.

Director of a 501©(3) here-- We put our EIN on our web site some years ago, as a convenience to donors and potential donors. Our state (Florida) also registers organizations that solicit donations, and we post that registration number as well. I cannot imagine any reason to consider either as “confidential information” let alone some legal prohibition against revealing them.

Fundraising teacher here. I am struggling to think of why one could not put your nonprofit’s EIN on its website…the EIN isn’t a secret number like a social security number. Your donors need it for tax information, so why should it be kept a secret?