Routledge Handbook of Taxation and Philanthropy

The Routledge Handbook of Taxation and Philanthropy, an open access publication edited by Henry Peter and Giedre Lideikyte Huber that will be out in 2021, ventures into a territory that is still widely unexplored. It contains 30 academic contributions that aim providing a better understanding of  whether, why, and how philanthropic initiatives, understood as voluntary contributions for the common good, can and should be fostered by states through tax incentives. The topic has been addressed from a multidisciplinary and multicultural perspective—covering neuroeconomics, sociology, political science, psychology, affective sciences, philosophy, behavioral economy, and law—because of its global and multifaceted nature. It also contains the OECD report on Taxation and Philanthropy released in November 2020, which was prepared in this context as a result of a collaboration with the Geneva Centre for Philanthropy of the University of Geneva.

Henry Peter is a full professor at the University of Geneva, Faculty of Law, and since 2017, the head of the university’s Geneva Centre for Philanthropy. For more than 20 years, his teaching and numerous publications have focused on companies’ structure and governance, as well as their social responsibility and purpose. In 2014, he launched the “Philanthropy Series” public conferences at the university. He is a member of several organizations dealing with governance and ethical issues, and sits on several boards of foundations, associations, and private companies. 

Giedre Lideikyte Huber is a senior lecturer of tax law at the University of Geneva, Faculty of Law, and considering her activities in that context, works in collaboration with the Geneva Centre for Philanthropy. Her research focuses on tax law, tax policies, and sustainable taxation, such as climate and gender issues in fiscal systems. She participated as an expert in the elaboration of the 2020 OECD Report “Taxation and philanthropy” and on the advisory committee of the Philanthropy Advocacy’s project “Legal Environment for Philanthropy in Europe.” She is also a board member of the Geneva supervisory authority of foundations and pension funds.

The book is divided into four sections, exploring, respectively, the justification of tax incentives for philanthropy, theoretical and empirical insights about taxes, efficiency and donor behavior in that context, and tax incentives for cross-border philanthropy and for hybrid entities and social entrepreneurship. It is believed that this volume will be a landmark, yet only the beginning of a journey in which a lot remains to be studied, learned, and said.

  1. The first section will cover theoretical aspects of justification of tax incentives for philanthropy from legal, economic, philosophical and historical stand point. It will seek the response to such questions as whether subsidizing philanthropy via taxes is compatible with the fundamental principles of democracy and whether it is acceptable and appropriate for private initiative be a substitute for State action.
  2. The second section will tackle various research questions related to the efficiency of tax incentives in boosting charitable giving, such as what tax incentive mechanisms are used in different countries to subsidize philanthropic activities and what is the empirical knowledge about the efficiency of specific tax instruments.
  3. The third section will analyze different tax aspects of cross-border charitable giving, for instance how countries define domestic and foreign philanthropy and whether tax barriers affect negatively cross-border philanthropic flows, including those aimed at development or humanitarian assistance.
  4. The final section will focus on corporate philanthropy and hybrid (profit/non-profit) activities, analyzing for instance the role of tax incentives in corporate philanthropy and the redefinition of the traditional boundaries of philanthropy by the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship.

The table of content of the Handbook can be downloaded here.

Table of contents