Social Enterprises and Tax: Living Apart Together?

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This chapter examines the complex relationship between social enterprises and taxation. The focus is not on a specific country, although various examples are mentioned. As specific tax measures for social enterprises are a form of tax incentives, the chapter discusses this public finance concept. In addition, an important legal constraint on introducing such incentives for social enterprises in the European Union (EU) is discussed: the prohibition of state aid. From an analysis of the taxation of profits of social enterprises, it turns out that only a few countries have implemented tax incentives to further social enterprise models. Some social enterprises may meet the charity definition and thus benefit from tax incentives for charities. The drawback might be that it may require social enterprises to use next best legal forms. The chapter also discusses the relevant tax aspects for funders of social enterprises. Tax rules can especially be detrimental to the funding of high-risk social enterprises. Social enterprises also encounter value-added tax (VAT) issues. The VAT that applies in the EU has been copied (with variations) by many non-EU Member States. For that reason, this chapter focusses on the EU VAT legislation as included in the VAT. Problems emerging from the impossibility to deduct input VAT can best be solved outside the VAT framework.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Handbook of Social Enterprise Law
Subtitle of host publicationBenefit Corporations and Other Purpose-Driven Companies
EditorsHenry Peter, Carlos Vargas Vasserot, Jaime Alcalde Silva
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-14216-1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Author(s)

Research programs

  • SAI 2007-05 FA


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