Boosting Cross-Border Philanthropy in Europe: Towards a Tax-Effective Environment

by Hanna Surmatz

May 1, 2017

This publication, a joint effort of the European Foundation Centre (EFC) and Transnational Giving Europe (TGE), offers recommendations and ideas which could potentially ease tax-effective cross-border philanthropy in Europe. Tax experts from across Europe contributed to this publication.

Cross-border philanthropy in Europe is growing. Philanthropic organisations are both investing more across national boundaries as part of their asset management strategy, and individual and corporate donors are increasing their philanthropic giving outside of their home countries.

But the fiscal environment for cross-border philanthropy, even within the European Union, is still far from satisfactory. Although the EU's non-discrimination principle, which applies to philanthropy, some legislators and authorities still discriminate against comparable foreign EU-based philanthropic players. And processes to gain equal treatment - where they are indeed available - are burdensome, lengthy and costly.

This paper aims to highlight good and bad existing practice and to develop recommendations and ideas which could potentially lead to a simplification of the procedures for implementation of the non-discrimination principle. This is therefore not an academic paper but rather a practitioner-driven view on the matter, which will need to be further developed and discussed with fiscal experts and policymakers in the field of philanthropy taxation. The paper is hence a recommended read for legislators and authorities, as well as for philanthropists and the wider non-profit sector.

The analysis and recommendations contained in this publication follow on from a study released in 2014 bythe EFC and the Transnational Giving Europe network (TGE), "Taxation of cross-border philanthropy in Europe after Persche and Stauffer - From landlock to free movement?".

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