The value to society of charitable giving and philanthropy is recognised and growing in Europe and even more and more important in current troubled times. Many Member States promote such giving by providing fiscal incentives. Until recently, such benefits have stopped at national borders, but European and national fiscal and legal initiatives, in conjunction with the impressive extension of the Transnational Giving Europe network (TGE), have seriously improved this situation.
European donors do not want to be hampered any longer by legal or fiscal hurdles when they want to create a new philanthropic structure or simply support a foreign organisation and enjoy tax benefits from this.
Individual complaints at EU level, the famous European Court cases “Stauffer”, “Persche” and “Missionswerk” and important and relevant European Commission infringement procedures (by DG taxation and Customs Union) – requesting Member States to modify their treatment of taxpayers making donations to foreign-based public benefit organisations – are creating slowly but surely an enabling environment for cross-border philanthropy.
Useful Country Profiles
The Transnational Giving Europe network welcomes and supports this momentum and the progress that has already been made regarding changes to the national laws of Member States in two ways:
– By continuing to seek new partners to increase tax-effective giving in all the Member States of the EU until all legal and practical barriers to cross-border giving within the EU are removed.
– By collaborating with philanthropic organisations that work relentlessly for the development of a single market for philanthropy across Europe. TGE aims to provide and relay concrete, valuable and free information to donors, intermediaries and beneficiaries that wish to give or receive a cross-border donation or legacy. Through the country profiles hereunder, released by our partner organization Philea, you will find practical information and initial advice on how to deal with the legal and fiscal aspects involved in cross-border philanthropic transactions (gift or inheritance taxes to be paid, possible relief or exemptions, bilateral tax treaties, alternative solutions, etc.). They will help you to understand the very concrete steps to be taken to find a solution. These reports, updated in 2021, detail many aspects of the legal and fiscal environment for philanthropy within each country.
You can also consult our joint studies with Philea on Cross-border Philanthropy in Europe (2014) and Boosting cross-border Philanthropy in Europe (2017). The two papers discuss the impediments to and opportunities for tax-effective cross-border giving. Accordingly, the pieces overview best practices and obstacles concerning complicated procedures, high costs, and legal definitions ambiguity. As a response, we propose solutions to simplify procedures and improve the implementation of common comparability standards and the non-discrimination principle. Through examples, the studies call for non-discriminatory tax treatment for donors and organisations and for alleviating national tax rules that hinder philanthropic activities across Europe.
The countries marked [*] are members of the Transnational Giving Europe Network.