Foundations, Non-Profit Organizations and Associations

Our experience in furnishing legal and tax advice to public bodies, churches and non-profit organizations ranges from the establishment of foundations to the initiation of public benefit projects. We advise both the patrons – companies, private individuals and public authorities – and the management of non-profit organizations on their engagement with foundations and societies, including on the fulfillment of their tax obligations.

Charitable Foundations and Family Foundations

The advice we offer foundations and non-profit organizations begins with the structuring of contracts, keeping sight of the legal requirements relating to the public-benefit sector, income tax and value-added tax. We assist non-profit corporations and foundations with restructuring and conversion projects and tax audits, and represent them in judicial disputes with tax or foundation authorities.

We also structure the legal and tax aspects of asset acquisitions by non-profit organizations. In a typical case, real estate can be acquired through a foundation with or without the interposition of a company. Our specialists are regularly asked to serve as independent experts in legal disputes between the statutory bodies of foundations.

We advise German family foundations on substitute inheritance tax planning and ongoing income-tax planning for both the foundation and its beneficiaries, and we offer expert assistance on all civil-law and tax-law matters.

Foundations and Foreign Activities

The law governing non-profit organizations extends beyond national borders. We have therefore been taking a close interest for many years in the trans-national achievement of domestic NPOs’ objects and the establishment of domestic non-profit structures for tax-privileged corporations. Such cases can entail the creation of German non-profit organizations to support national parks, research initiatives or hospitals abroad, for example. In other instances, we support foreign non-profit organizations seeking to fulfill their objects with tax-privileged status in Germany.

Foreign Family Foundations and Trusts

The furnishing of advice to beneficiaries, the governing boards of foreign family foundations and trusts gives rise to many complex issues of civil law, and income and gift tax. Here we resolve diverse questions for our clients, such as the implications of the foundation structure on a family’s claims to a decedent’s estate or the compulsory portion of an estate, the tax return and reporting requirements in Germany for domestic beneficiaries, and the effects on domestic beneficiaries of CFC rules and legitimate methods of minimizing these.

Associations and Federations

We are highly active in advising non-profit and many non-public benefit societies, associations and federations on appropriate structures for their establishment and regular activities. Our advice spans both the law governing associations and the law governing non-profit organizations, and in most cases is closely linked to tax issues as well. We take care of accounting, auditing and compliance for large associations and federations. One of our areas of specialization is the (elite) sports sector.

We offer the following Services for Foundations and charitable Organizations:

  • Ongoing tax and legal advice for charitable organizations
  • Advice for patrons (companies, individuals and the public sector) of non-profit organizations
  • Advice on domestic and cross-border family foundations, and trusts
  • Cross-border fulfillment of charitable purposes
  • Advice for associations and federations, especially in the sports sector (including taxation of athletes)