European philanthropy is known for its diversity, bridging a myriad of cultures, religions and nations. Now, with the launch of the 5th edition of Legal and Fiscal Country Profiles, the philanthropic landscape for foundations has been mapped across 27 European countries.
The Philanthropy Advocacy project, run jointly by Dafne and the European Foundation Centre (EFC), features a collection of national profiles, which cover the legal framework for foundations, as well as requirements for reporting and governance, tax incentives for individual and corporate donors, and broader trends and developments. This has been developed as a free resource for anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of the philanthropic environment in any of those nations. A further 13 national profiles will be launched later in 2021.
Since EFC launched the first edition of the country profiles in 2002, the EU has grown from 15 to 28 members and dropped back down to 27.
Writing of the changes to the foundation landscape during that time, Dr Oonagh B. Breen, Professor of Law at University College Dublin, explains:
“We’ve witnessed the incremental development of European Court of Justice jurisprudence on free movement of philanthropic capital with Stauffer (in 2009) and the development of the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of nationality in the sphere of tax law and philanthropic donations with cases from Hein Persche, Missionwerk and so many others.”
She addresses the importance of gathering comparable information about the philanthropic environment, but emphasises that challenges persist, saying:
“The need for greater clarity and publicly available information on the comparability processes used by Member State tax authorities in the context of cross-border philanthropy is constantly sought. Other obstacles range from restrictive foreign funding legislation, changes in tax laws, additional administrative burdens (substantially increasing the cost of making a grant and the time required to process it) as well as difficulties in cross-border financial flows caused by ongoing incidences of bank de-risking, even within the EU.”
Photo by Krzysztof Hepner on Unsplash