As advisors, we see a clear trend amongst entrepreneurs in terms of their interest in social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. By social entrepreneurship I mean that business operations are, entirely or partially, used as a form of organisation in order to solve important social problems. How do today’s tax regulations function in this context and is there a need for new, adjusted regulations?
Historically, social entrepreneurship and philanthropy have been more predominant in the Anglo-Saxon part of the world. In Scandinavia, the historical understanding has been that it is the state, via taxes, which is to provide these sorts of functions. In times of major challenges, for example with immigration and geopolitical change, I am convinced that a strong relationship between the state and civil society is necessary if we are to manage these types of daunting scenarios.
My experience is that successful entrepreneurs with positive journeys behind them, often have a very strong will to give something back to society and to contribute to a better world.
In Sweden, we have, in contrast with, for example, the US, no tax relief on philanthropy. There is a clear prohibition against gifts both in the Swedish Companies Act and in the Income Tax Act. The aim of a limited liability company is to generate profit and no deduction is provided, in principle, for gifts. This is a positive basic principle. A gift made only due to tax reasons is something about which one could have a moral point of view. I am of the opinion that neither social entrepreneurship nor philanthropy are driven by tax motivations.
Good examples of social entrepreneurship in Sweden are, for example, the Mattecentrum (a Swedish mathematics learning support network for students) and the app, Welcome (a digital meeting place for newly arrived refugees and Swedes), both of which have as their aim, the enhanced inclusion of immigrants into Swedish society.
A strong social entrepreneurship and philanthropy trend is based on the premise that what we do should be meaningful and should incorporate a long-term sense of responsibility, and should be sustainable.
Seminar in Almedalen, Wednesday 6 July
In Almedalen we are arranging a seminar with the theme, Social entrepreneurship and philanthropy – models for solving society’s challenges. This is organised together with the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum. Participants on the panel are Niklas Adalberth, one of the founders of Klarna, a Swedish Fintech company providing online payment solutions, Madeleine Linins Mörner, Director at the Axfoundation, Pontus Braunerhjelm, Professor at the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum, Nina Hoas, philanthropy advisor at UBS and Henrik Steinbrecher, PwC Global Network Middle Market Leader.
On our blog, ”PwC i Almedalen”, you will find a description of all of our seminars. There you can also follow our seminars live if you do not have the possibility of being in Visby. You are most welcome to join us to discuss these vital topics and issues! Please notice that all our seminars are presented in Swedish.
Peter Hellqvist, Middle Market Leader, PwC Sweden
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