Research Handbook on Not-For-Profit Law
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Research Handbook on Not-For-Profit Law

Edited by Matthew Harding

This Research Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of scholarship on not-for-profit law. The chapters, written by world leading experts, explore key ideas and debates in relation to: theories of the not-for-profit sector, the composition and scope of that sector, not-for-profit organisations and the constitution, the legal conception of charity, the tax treatment of not-for-profit organisations and the regulation of not-for-profits. The book serves to represent not-for-profit law as a field of academic inquiry, and to point the way to future research in that field.
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Chapter 17: Taxation and the not-for-profit sector globally: common issues, different solutions

Ann O’Connell

Abstract

This chapter reviews the interaction of tax systems at the national and sub-national level and the not-for-profit sector. The chapter begins with a discussion of nomenclature in relation to the sector, and moves to an overview of the complexity and diversity of the sector in relation to organizational form, sources of funding, and mission. It then considers the arguments for and against the tax concessions that have typically been extended to the sector since ancient times, before surveying the treatment of not-for-profit organizations and activities in relation to various taxes, from income tax, to value added tax, to land and estate taxes. The chapter concludes with a consideration of difficult issues that have arisen in relation to the tax treatment of not-for-profits; these include the extent to which charities should be subsidized to participate in the political sphere, whether tax concessions should be extended to charities engaging in commercial activity, and the ways in which the tax treatment of charities might be affected by their cross-border activities.

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