Foundations in Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein is an Alpine country located between Austria and Switzerland, and is known for its breathtaking beauty and its commitment to philanthropy and charitable giving. Foundations have been an integral part of the country’s culture and economic development since their inception in the late 19th century.
Liechtenstein's foundation law is often described as "state-of-the-art"
One of the main reasons why Liechtenstein is attractive to found foundations is its stable economy and political system, which is highly supportive of charitable giving and foundations. Foundations in Liechtenstein are established for a variety of purposes, including research, development aid, and charitable causes. There are currently more than 1300 charitable foundations registered in the country, and these gave in 2018 according to VLGST 190 Million Swiss Francs in donations. 75% of those donations were given abroad (Switzerland not counted as "abroad").
In terms of philanthropy, Liechtenstein is an active participant in international giving. The country has a range of charitable organizations including the Liechtenstein Institute for Social Development, which is dedicated to helping vulnerable communities and individuals, as well as the Liechtenstein Global Trust VP, which focuses on long-term development aid. The Liechtenstein Red Cross is also active in providing aid to those in need on both a local and international level.
When it comes to foundations, Liechtenstein is an attractive place to establish them due to its favorable legal and tax framework. Foundations in Liechtenstein are exempt from corporate income tax, and donations made to foundations are tax deductible. Dagmar Bühler-Nigsch - Managing Director of the Association of Liechtenstein Charitable Foundations and Trusts (VLGST) summarises it as follows: "In Liechtenstein, the foundation law, which dates back to 1926, was comprehensively revised in 2009. Today, together with the tax law, it meets all international standards and at the same time guarantees great liberality and corresponding freedom with regard to the structure of a foundation. When setting up a charitable foundation, the founder has a great deal of freedom, especially in determining the purpose and the administration and use of the assets transferred to the foundation. With regard to the activities of the foundation, the composition of its board of trustees and its recognition as a charitable foundation, there are no legal geographical limits. A foundation legally established in Liechtenstein can develop its activities from Liechtenstein around the globe without restrictions. It can operate globally without the obligation to carry out a minimum proportion of its activities in Liechtenstein."
Moreover, Liechtenstein has a range of special purpose foundations, which are specifically designed to promote the country’s philanthropic culture.
In conclusion, Liechtenstein is an attractive place to found foundations due to its favorable legal and tax framework, and its commitment to philanthropy and charitable giving. There are currently more than 1300 foundations registered in the country, and these are estimated to hold assets of approximately 3 billion Swiss Francs. The country has a number of special purpose foundations which are dedicated to promoting research and education, as well as charitable causes.