What is a foundation?
First, we must define what a foundation is: a foundation is an independent organization, a body. It has no members or shareholders. The legal basis is the mother of all laws, the Civil Code. The statutory basic data are to be found there from the paragraph 80 ff. The federal states have adopted further regulations in the foundation legislation (eg the Stiftungsgesetz Berlin).
The foundation of a foundation has various advantages: on the one hand, the immense tax advantages for the donors of charitable foundations should be mentioned. On the other hand, foundations can also be used for asset protection. This is done in the area of family-oriented family foundations.
How does a foundation work?
A key feature of the foundation is that there must be an asset for business operations, the so-called foundation assets. As a rule, this endowment must not be “consumed”.
Only the income from the asset stock is used for the operation of the foundation. Another core feature of the foundation is that the income can only be used for the purpose of the foundation.
The purpose of the foundation
With foundation of the foundation a foundation purpose is determined. In this one determines from the outset for what the money may be used. Foundation purposes may be in the sovereign sphere.
For this exist public legal foundations private area lie. These would be so-called family foundations or company foundations or non-profit areas. This area is of particular interest to the tax authorities, as donations to the assets of such a foundation can be deducted as generous as donations (more on this later).
Foundations of public law
Foundations of public law are established by a statutory administrative act. They serve the fulfillment of public tasks.
Examples of foundations of public law are:
- the foundation remembrance, responsibility and future (serves the compensation of former forced laborers)
- the Contergan Foundation for disabled people, (support for people suffering from permanent damage caused by the drug thalidomide (better known as Contergan)
- the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, (administered formerly Prussian cultural objects such as libraries or art collections)
- the Berliner Philharmoniker (bearer of this foundation is the Land Berlin)
Federal foundations are erected by a federal law and serve to commemorate outstanding statesmen of German history. This is exemplified by the American presidential libraries.
Examples for the Federal Foundation are:
- the Foundation Chancellor-Adenauer-Haus in Rhöndorf
- the foundation Reichspräsident-Friedrich-Ebert-memorial in Heidelberg
- the Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation in Berlin
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