Sunday, November 10, 2019
Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz wants to cancel the charitable status and associated financial benefits of clubs that still deny membership to women today. "We are currently changing the charitable law," said the SPD politician of the "Bild am Sonntag". "Clubs that basically do not accept women are, in my view, not charitable, and those who exclude women should not have tax benefits and issue donation receipts." From the CSU was immediately a clear rejection.
Scholz, who runs for the SPD presidency together with Klara Geywitz, criticized the newspaper: "There are hundreds of clubs throughout Germany, such as archery guilds or sports clubs, which only allow men." The Verein Deutsches Ehrenamt writes in the internet about the requirement of charitable status: "Generally, the door to club membership must be open to anyone who wants to become a member." Conversely, this also applies to pure women's associations.
The general secretary of the CSU, Markus Blume, assesses the situation differently: "To disadvantage clubs for taxation, because they turn to their offer only to women or only men, is fundamentally wrong," he said. "I wonder: has Olaf Scholz ever heard of male choral societies, the Catholic Women's League, boys' associations or women's self-help groups? It is absurd to divide our clubs according to gender aspects into good and bad." Blume added, "Equality is an important concern, and this effort will not help."
Recognition brings financial benefits
The recognition of charitable status by a tax office provides a club primarily tax benefits. So he is freed from the corporate and business tax. He also does not have to pay any property tax, inheritance and gift tax or capital gains tax. This exemption applies in particular to income such as membership fees, donations, inheritances or grants. In addition, a nonprofit association will be exempted from certain government fees and expenses.
The recognition of charitable status is also the prerequisite for the association to confirm donations, which in turn has a tax-reducing effect for the donors.
Clause 52 of the Tax Code defines exactly which association purposes are recognized as charitable. This ranges from the promotion of science and research, to the support of animal welfare and sport, to the commitment to home care and culture.
The Federal Finance Court had already dealt with this issue in 2017: according to its decision, a Masonic lodge that had excluded women from membership was not charitable. The Lodge had no compelling factual reasons for the exclusion of women, the court said at the time. It was also said that the decision could affect other clubs. At that time, the scientific services of the Bundestag came to the conclusion that this decision was "transferable to rifle clubs in their fundamental reasons".