About the project

"Taxation and Philanthropy" is a project funded by the grant of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) (grant number : 182839).

The overall objective of this project is to assess the effectiveness of the current legislative framework of tax incentives for philanthropic activities in Switzerland and to formulate legislative proposals in relation to its optimization. The inspiration for this research project derives from the fact that the effectiveness of the existing tax incentives for philanthropic activities is largely understudied in Switzerland, even though they are strategic for the state in terms of costs and lost opportunities. In particular, philanthropic activities enjoy a preferential tax treatment both at cantonal and federal levels, indirectly causing a loss of revenue for the state if they are not optimized. The economic effect of this tax relief is that the state delegates some of its budgetary prerogatives to non-elected private actors (donors and philanthropic organizations). This delegation constitutes an important exception to the democratic governance principles. It is further accentuated by the fact that the size of the philanthropic sector in Switzerland is constantly increasing. Thus, the effectiveness of tax reliefs should be evaluated and, if it proves unsatisfactory, the legal framework should be amended. The impact of this research project would be double-fold. From an academic perspective, this project would be the first one in Swiss law to analyze this subject in a systemic and multidisciplinary (economy and law) manner and one of the few studies existing at the international level. From an applied-science perspective, this project would be beneficial to both the cantonal and very likely federal authorities in the improvement of the current legal framework.