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2013

May, 20th, 2013

Transparency Report 2012 for "Project 04: Enduring freedom of information" (WikiLeaks)

Download as PDF: German  |  English

This is the third transparency report published by the Wau Holland Foundation for "Project 04: Enduring Freedom of Information" which supports WikiLeaks. The following table gives an overview of the chronological development of donations (incoming funds) and project expenses (outgoing funds) for the years 2010 to 2012:

Year Donations Expenses Reserve Fund
2010 1'331'698.19 € 401'824.62 € 85'302.29 €*
2011 139'401.88 € 660'522.84 €
2012 68'995.05 € 392'434.37 €
Total: 1'540'095.12 € 1'454'792.83 €
*) The difference between incoming and outgoing funds is the volume of the reserve fund, which was allocated by the Foundation in 2011 to cover potential follow-up costs (for example, taxation resulting from the loss of Wau Holland Foundation's charitable status) and necessary administrative expenditures for the project. This reserve fund is to be continued in 2013.

As is evident from this table, the number of donations over the past two years has declined substantially, and is currently no longer able to provide the earlier levels support for the project.

Since January 2013, the Foundation has only been able to cover expenditures in essential infrastructure, such as servers. Better support for the project will only be made possible by an increase in donations for Project 04 in 2013; the Foundation nonetheless remains committed to continuing its support for WikiLeaks in such a case.

May, 20th

The WHF publishes its transparency report for "Project 04: Enduring freeedom of information" (WikiLeaks).

2012

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 Freistellungsbescheid 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.


Donations to Wau Holland Foundation are tax-deductable within the EU

As the tax exemption (charitable status) was reinstated, it applied retroactively for 2011 and 2012, thereafter enabling European citizens to make a tax-deductible donations to the Foundation. This was due to a ruling of the European Court in 2007 (Decision C‑318_07), which mandates that every EU country honor the tax exemption decisions of any other EU country.


ON OUR OWN BEHALF -- November 5th, 2012

Charitable status of the
Wau Holland Foundation

History of the revocation

The fiscal authorities in Kassel revoked [1] the charitable status of the Wau Holland Foundation (WHF) after an intervention by the Hessian Ministry of the Interior ([2],[3],[4],[5]) 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 [6] 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 [7]. 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 [8].

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 [9] and was thus able to have the charitable status reinstated retroactively for the year 2011 and thereafter.

Present status

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 clicking here.

We greatly appreciate every donation; click here to see how you can donate. For questions about donations please contact us using our contact form.


Appendix (German)

  1. Entzug der Gemeinnützigkeit durch das FA Kassel (2011-01-07)
  2. Emails zwischen Innenministerium und Regierungspräsidium
  3. Innenminster an Stiftungsaufsicht (2010-12-10)
  4. Stiftungsaufsicht an Innenminister (2010-12-16)
  5. Innenminister an Stiftungsaufsicht (2011-01-05)
  6. Presseerklärung des RP Kassel (2011-01-07)
  7. Einspruch gegen den Finanzamtsbescheid (2011-01-11)
  8. Einspruchsentscheidung des Finanzamts Hamburg-Nord (2012-10-25)
  9. Klageverzicht der WHS (2012-10-29)

December, 27th - 30th

The WHF will have its one area in the assembly section of the 29C3 in Hamburg. All congress participants are invited to talk the foundation about its projects.

WHS

 

About us

We are a foundation related to the Chaos Computer Club, that was launched by close friends and the father of the deceased "information philosopher" Wau Holland (a.k.a. Herwart Holland-Moritz). The foundation aims to preserve and further Holland's unique ideas of free-thinking in the fields of freedom of communication and informational self-determination.

 

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