ON OUR OWN BEHALF -- December 12th, 2012
Charitable status of the
Wau Holland Foundation
With a letter from the Hamburg tax authorities, the Wau Holland Foundation's
charitable status (tax exemption) was reinstated, applying retroactively for 2011.
Therefore all donations (EU-wide) from the years 2011 and 2012 are tax-deductible
for the donors.
Please note that for donations amounting to less than 200€ per year you
don't need a specific donation receipt from us to have your donation counted as
tax-deductible. In such a case, you are required to pass your money transfer
receipt and the so-called
to your local tax authorities.
For donations exceeding 200€ or more per year, please use the
web form to request your donation receipt. We will
try to process your request as soon as possible.
ON OUR OWN BEHALF -- November 5th, 2012
Charitable status of the
Wau Holland Foundation
History of the revocation
The fiscal authorities in Kassel revoked 
the charitable status of the Wau Holland Foundation (WHF) after an intervention by
the Hessian Ministry of the Interior
towards the end of 2010. As the reason for this decision, the authorities stated
that the foundation violated the "principle of selflessness" by collecting
donations and financing the "WikiLeaks" project.
Under the "principle of selflessness (§ 55 AO)", a foundation
may not primarily pursue economic (commercial) purposes, but can only use the money
to further their own goals. The withdrawal of the charitable status by the fiscal
authorities is difficult to understand for two reasons. First, the tax office had
not received any accounting records from the year 2010 at all which would justify
such a decision. Second, the RP Kassel as supervisory authority issued a press release
 in early December that made it clear that the promotion of
WikiLeaks is in accordance to the statutes of the Foundation.
Perhaps this is why the fiscal authorities in Hamburg, which inherited
the controversial procedure after the relocation of the Foundation, changed the reasoning
and pursued the case as a "violation of the principle of immediacy (§ 57 AO)" instead.
Auditing and legal procedure
The WHF commissioned a law firm specializing in foundation and tax law
to represent their interests and put an objection against the decision .
In subsequent proceedings, there was an audit of whether the Foundation had met the "requirement
of immediacy" in 2010; the question of whether the foundation spent its money according to its
statutes was no longer in dispute.
The "principle of immediacy" allows a non-profit organization to engage
auxiliary staff to achieve its goals, but requires that it must establish traceable and
binding control procedures.
In late 2009 and early 2010 the WHF had negotiated oral agreements with the
"WikiLeaks" project; these arrangements were written down in a contract with a WikiLeaks
project manager at the end of 2010. The written contract defined the objectives, responsibilities
and the control processes for receiving money from the foundation. Although the spirit of said
contract had been adhered to by all parties involved throughout the entirety of 2010 the the
tax office did not acknowledge that the immediacy had been [ upheld ?] preserved and rejected
our appeal against the decision after an 18 month audit .
In order to finally bring an end to these proceedings after all the lengthy
deliberation, the WHF agreed with the tax office in Hamburg not to further appeal against this
rejection  and was thus able to have the charitable status reinstated
retroactively for the year 2011 and thereafter.
We have learned through this procedure, what contractual conditions are
required to finance projects through the Foundation. Regretfully, we have had to inform all
donors from 2010, that their donations were not tax-deductible. Notwithstanding, these donations
were used for the purposes specified by the donor.
As soon as we receive the reinstatement of the charitable status from the
tax office, we will be able to send out the respective donation receipts for the years 2011
and 2012. For donations up to 200€ (accumulated), it is sufficient for the donor to present
the payment document together with the charitable status document
(Freistellungsbescheid), which can then
be downloaded from this website.
The projects that are promoted by the Wau Holland Foundation can be found by
We greatly appreciate every donation; click here to see
how you can donate. For questions about donations please contact us using our
- Entzug der Gemeinnützigkeit durch das FA Kassel (2011-01-07)
- Emails zwischen Innenministerium und Regierungspräsidium
- Innenminster an Stiftungsaufsicht (2010-12-10)
- Stiftungsaufsicht an Innenminister (2010-12-16)
- Innenminister an Stiftungsaufsicht (2011-01-05)
- Presseerklärung des RP Kassel (2011-01-07)
- Einspruch gegen den Finanzamtsbescheid (2011-01-11)
- Einspruchsentscheidung des Finanzamts Hamburg-Nord (2012-10-25)
- Klageverzicht der WHS (2012-10-29)