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5 November 2012

"Bernd R. Fix" <bernd[ar]> sends:

The automatic translation of the German original text from on your website at is now obsolete; there is an english version of the statement on (mirrored below).

Cheers, Bernd.

- --

Wau-Holland-Stiftung W
Postfach 65 04 43 H O L L A N D
22364 Hamburg/Germany S T I F T U N G

4 November 2012

WikiLeaks-Wau Holland Tax-Exemption Revoked

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 this contract had been adhered to by all parties involved throughout the whole of 2010, the tax office does not acknowledge that the immediacy was preserved and rejected our appeal against the decision after an 18 month audit [8].

To finally bring and end to these proceedings after all this time, the WHF agreed with the tax office in Hamburg not to further appeal against this rejection [9] and to regain charitable status for the year 2011 and beyond.

Present status

We have learned through this process what contractual conditions are needed to finance projects of the foundation. Unfortunately we must inform all donors from 2010 that their donations are not tax deductible. Nevertheless, these donations were used for the purposes specified by the donor.

When we receive the promised charitable status from the tax office, we can send out donation receipts for the years 2011 and 2012. For donations up to 200,- Euro (accumulated), it is sufficient for the donor to present the payment document together with the charitable status document, 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 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] Emails between the Interior and Regional Council

[2]Innenminster of foundation supervision (2010-12-10)

[3] Foundation supervision of Interior Minister (2010-12-16)

[4] Interior Minister of Supervision of the Foundation (2011-01-05)

[5] Revocation of exempt status by the FA Kassel (2011-01-07)

[6] Objection to the tax office decision (2011-01-11)

[7] Objection decision of the Tax Office Hamburg-Nord (2012-10-25)

[8] Action waiver of WHS (2012-10-29)