Donate billionaires to save taxes

Investments: How you can save taxes with foundations

Does he want now or does he not want to? The alleged accession of the German software billionaire Hasso Plattner to the US donation initiative "The Giving Pledge" caused a stir last week.

While the organization around the US entrepreneurs and philanthropists Bill Gates and Warren Buffett announced that the SAP co-founder was now also committed to the network, German media reported that the billionaire had clearly denied this.

It is probably true that the donation initiative would have liked to see the armorer, who is ranked 99th on the list of the richest men by the data service provider Bloomberg, in their circles, and has therefore advanced a little too far with the report. The 69-year-old could have opened the door for other compatriots.

Hasso Plattner is generous anyway. Every year he donates millions of euros worldwide through his private foundation to interests in culture, medicine and research. Among other things, Plattner supports the construction of the Potsdam State Parliament Palace.

Foundations are a double-edged sword

The Plattner case focuses on an institution that is particularly interesting for the wealthy. Foundations are not just an opportunity to do good and thus also to exert influence based on your own convictions. They are also suitable for saving taxes. That is why foundations are a double-edged sword, even in public image.

The Belgian Queen Fabiola had to experience this. The 84-year-old monarch had discreetly set up a foundation based in Brussels. The money brought in was intended to support family members in need. The construct only serves to avoid the 70 percent inheritance tax that the heirs of the childless queen would have to pay after her death, criticized citizens and politicians. The Queen's foundation was "an ethical problem," said Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo in parliament.

The public outcry was great. After all, the Queen has been receiving public grants for almost 20 years - around 1.4 million euros this year alone. And the country is in bad shape with economic stagnation and an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. Queen Fabiola gave in to the pressure and stated that the money did not come from public grants but was inherited from her Spanish family. The foundation then quickly dissolved.

Queen Elizabeth does not need any control problems