Land demands 9.8 million euros gift tax

Schwerin (dpa/mv) – The state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is demanding 9.8 million euros in gift tax from the controversial climate protection foundation MV. That said the board of directors Erwin Sellering (SPD) on Friday of the German Press Agency. The foundation will appeal against the decision before the financial court in Greifswald. A lawyer had been hired.

The Ministry of Finance in Schwerin confirmed that the decision had been issued. No further details were given. The step was welcomed in state politics. FDP parliamentary group leader René Domke explained that since the foundation does not have non-profit status, it is clear that donations will be subject to gift tax. The parliamentary director of the CDU parliamentary group, Sebastian Ehlers, described it as “good news” that the foundation had to pay gift tax on the foundation assets provided by Nord Stream 2. The energy and climate policy spokesman for the Greens in the state parliament, Hannes Damm, was also satisfied. Tax exemptions are out of the question for “Russian lobbying organizations,” he said.

The foundation was set up by the state in early 2021 to promote climate protection and at the same time to actively support the completion of the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The main financier of the foundation was the Gazprom subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG with 20 million euros, the state provided 200,000 euros as a contribution.

The Foundation believes that no gift tax is payable on the EUR 20 million. She sees this as confirmed by a letter from the tax office Ecovis, which she has entrusted with tax matters. “Since the MV Climate and Environmental Protection Foundation serves exclusively the purposes of the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the donations from Nord Stream 2 AG to the MV Climate and Environmental Protection Foundation also fall within the scope of the tax exemption standard of Section 13 Paragraph 1 No. 15 2. Alternative ErbStG”, according to a statement published in early September.

According to the board, the business part of the foundation, which is said to have handled work and services for pipeline construction in the amount of 165 million euros, has largely been dissolved. However, the bottom line is payments to Nord Stream 2, Sellering said on Friday. It is unclear whether the payment can be made or whether it will be subject to Western sanctions. A request in this regard to the foundation supervisory authority, which is exercised by the MV Ministry of Justice, was answered without any statement on the matter. It is also still unclear whether the state will eventually demand sales tax from the foundation.

The aim of the state government is to quickly dissolve the foundation and to promote climate protection with its own funds through the state energy agency. It is unclear how the forthcoming legal dispute will affect the plans.

FDP parliamentary group leader Domke explained that if the foundation had to pay the gift tax, this could lead to underfunding “which could accelerate the end of the foundation”. Sellering opposed such considerations. Even in that case, the climate foundation would have 15 million euros in capital, making it one of the largest foundations in MV, he said.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220923-99-870674/5

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