Die Verfolgung politischer Zwecke (The Pursuit of Political Purposes) is a sound installation that deals with the dispute over the deprivation of the non-profit status of some associations by the tax authorities in recent years in Germany.
The most well-known is probably the denial of Attac, this case with its various legal instances attracted a lot of attention. In addition, there are other associations, some very small and without much national attention.
The denial has various reasons. Two aspects are currently at the center of the discussion: are associations that are politically active non-profit? And: aren’t associations that, for example, deny fascists access to their meeting place, non-profit?
In the first case, it is an inaccuracy in the Tax Code. It states that an association can be non-profit if it pursues the purpose of political education. Political education is not understood as political participation. In this regard, some tax offices apply the same guidelines to associations as to parties. This is critically questioned in a legal opinion.
Politicians are called upon in this case, since they could create legal certainty with a change in the tax code. But despite some announcements, nothing has happened there yet.
In the second case, the point is that an association can only be non-profit if it is open to everyone. This means that there could be no associations excluding people who are known to make discriminatory statements. Say the least.
An alliance for legal certainty has been founded, which is trying in various ways to ensure that this legal certainty will soon exist. Because not a few associations are potentially threatened by a loss of non-profit status. And a loss of non-profit status often means the end of an association, since a withdrawal always affects the past three years. The deprivation is therefore retrospective, which usually entails a high additional tax claim.
One question that arises is whether these are really just fiscal regulatory issues. Many associations are unsure how they can still express themselves. The denial of non-profit status can therefore also be seen as a kind of censorship and/or lead to self-censorship.
In the sound installation Die Verfolgung politischer Zwecke, the various utterances interpenetrate. Judgments and press releases from the tax authorities are influenced by analyzes and demands. One statement is the carrier of another. And right in the middle, the foundation of the dispute rises again and again: the tax code.
Sometimes the texts of the law and the judgments refer obliviously to themselves, sometimes a comment furiously breaks through the echo chamber.