Germany: Men-only clubs could lose tax breaks | News | DW | 10.11.2019
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Germany: Men-only clubs could lose tax breaks

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz says clubs that exclude women should lose their charitable status. Hundreds of sports, music and education groups still have single-sex memberships.

Germany's Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has vowed to change the law to ensure that exclusively male clubs don't benefit from tax breaks aimed at helping charities.

"There are hundreds of clubs throughout Germany, such as archery guilds or sports clubs, which allow only men," the Social Democrat (SPD) politician told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"Clubs that basically do not accept women are not charitable in my view," he said, adding that they should have no tax benefits and should not be able to issue donation receipts.

"We are changing the nonprofit law," Scholz told Bild.

Read more: Germany: Girl loses gender bias case against boys choir

Scholz is currently standing as co-chair of the SPD, along with Klara Geywitz.

Geywitz has already vowed that as party leader, she would ensure that women take up half of the seats on SPD committees.

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"Target figure zero" for women on the board

Masonic lodge censured

Scholz's comments chime with a 2017 legal case when the Federal Finance Court ruled that a masonic lodge that had excluded women could not be classed as a charity. 

The court said the lodge had no overriding reasons for refusing to accept women members.

Read more: Germany — where female board members earn more than men

It was speculated at the time that the court's decision could affect other men-only clubs. But despite the ruling, hundreds of single-sex sports, music and educational groups continue to enjoy tax breaks.

Recognition of nonprofit status is a prerequisite for tax breaks. Charities are exempt from turnover or value-added (sales) tax and members can offset their donations against their income taxes.

mm/aw (AFP, dpa)

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