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Additional General Terms of Use for Tax-Privileged Organizations and Projects

These Additional General Terms for of Use for Tax-Privileged Organizations and Projects apply since February 10st, 2020.

The old Terms and conditions for organisations and projects which are tax deductible and for volunteering were valid until 09 February 2020.

Table of Content

1. Scope

These Additional General Terms of Use apply to all organizations and their authorized representatives (project managers and other authorized representatives) and their projects registered on the platform betterplace.org to collect donations. They apply in addition to the General Terms of Use. They regulate further details regarding the legal relationship between betterplace.org (gut.org gAG) and the organization.

In the event of any contradictions between the General and Additional General Terms of Use , these Additional General Terms of Use will take precedence.

The Privacy Policy of betterplace.org for the platform is also to be noted.

2. Definition of terms

The definitions in section 2 of the General Terms of Use apply as well to these Additional General Terms of Use.

3. Role of betterplace.org

The role of betterplace.org is conclusively regulated in Sections 9.1 and 9.2 of the General Terms of Use

4. Role of the organizations when using the platform for themselves and their projects

4.1. betterplace.org does not provide any legal advice. The organization is responsible for fully investigating the legal requirements for their project before beginning the project. In particular, it is required to adhere to the requirements under tax law and non-profit law when executing their project. If the organization does not have the required knowledge itself, it is required to seek the assistance of a legal or tax advisor. This also applies if betterplace.org has already approved the project.

4.2. An assessment of the organization and its projects performed by betterplace.org - e.g. Sections 8 (Tax relief) and 9 (Obligation to prove proper use of funds to betterplace.org) - only serves to provide evidence of betterplace.org's own proper use of funds, but does not replace the organization's own statutory obligations towards the tax office or third parties.

5. Permissible purposes

5.1. Only projects which are tax deductible as defined in the sense of the German Tax Law are permitted. Only those projects which directly serve non-profit, charitable and religious purposes within the meaning of the German Tax Code (AO) in its respective valid version and which comply with the statutory purpose and the tax-privileged purposes specified in the current exemption notice of the respective organization as a project manager may be displayed on the platform.

The following are in particular not permitted:

  • Projects or other commercial projects for the direct or indirect purpose of generating profit,
  • Projects which promise or suggest the prospect of some form of consideration in return for a donation,
  • Projects which directly or indirectly serve the purpose of supporting or promoting political parties,
  • Projects which exceed the limits of permitted political activity,
  • Projects that raise donations for administrative costs which are inappropriate under non-profit law,
  • Projects that ultimately also serve to generate income and which are not a special-purpose enterprise ("Zweckbetrieb") within the meaning of the German Tax Code (AO), but instead constitute a commercial business enterprise within the meaning of the Tax Code.

Furthermore, organizations' projects must not violate German regulations regarding tax legislation in connection with non-profit status.

5.2 betterplace.org reserves the right to make approval for projects subject to additional conditions, at any time and as required and/or announced by non-profit law.

6. Registration of organizations and projects and conclusion of the usage agreement with an organization

6.1. Authority to represent

The registration of an organization and a project in accordance with Sections 6.2. to 6.4 is free of charge and can only be performed by an authorized representative of the respective organization. The respective authorized representative must register themselves as a user beforehand (Section 3.1. of the General Terms of Use) in order to be able to then register the organization's project and the organization itself on the platform.

6.2. Registration and conclusion of the agreement with an organization regarding the use of the platform for its project

The organization and its project are registered by completing and submitting the respective registration form on the platform. By completing the registration process, the organization makes a binding offer to conclude a contract between itself and betterplace.org for the use of the platform for its registered project in accordance with the General and Additional General Terms of Use. betterplace.org shall accept this offer by informing the organization about its approval of the project. The agreement regarding the use of the platform between the organization and betterplace.org is concluded when this approval takes place.

If a registered organization wants to register an additional project on the platform, the existing usage agreement will be extended to include the use of the platform for the additional project, whereby the organization is required to submit an offer upon registration of the project using the registration form (see above) and betterplace.org approves the additional project in accordance with the regulations specified above and thereby accepts the offer.

The subject of the usage relationship of an organization includes all rights and obligations during the use of the available functionalities of the platform.

6.3. Registration of an organization

6.3.1. An organization is always to be registered for a project, which is responsible for managing the project.

6.3.2. A contact partner for the organization is to be named for each organization. This contact partner assures that they are entitled to represent the organization within the scope of the use of the platform, see Section 3.2.2. of the General Terms of Use.

6.4. Registration of a project

6.4.1. Projects can only be registered by the organizations on the platform.

6.4.2. The registration of a project requires accurate, complete, realistic and detailed information about the proposed project. This in particular includes information in the project description about the project goal and purpose of use, in addition to information about the project plan and the time frame as well as the project location.

6.4.3. A project manager for the respective project is to be named for each project of an organization. They assure that they are entitled to represent the organization within the scope of the use of the platform for the project, see Section 3.2.2. of the General Terms of Use. They are named as a contact person on the respective project page.

Any changes to the project manager are to be reported immediately to betterplace.org in the administrative area of the project. If the change of project manager is reported and no new project manager is named, or if no other contact partner is provided for the organization in accordance with Section 6.3.2., the respective organization will not be able to collect or request any further donations until a new project manager is named. The previous project manager will remain visible on the platform until a new project manager is named and registered. Until the appointment/registration of a new project manager, the contact partner for the organization in accordance with Section 6.3.2. will also act as the project manager.

In addition to the project manager, managers and authors can also be named for a project. They assure that they are entitled to represent the organization within the scope of the rights allocated to them when using the platform for the project, see Section 3.2.2. of the General Terms of Use.

7. Project management

7.1. Changes to the project description

If the project description is published, subsequent changes are to be clearly marked and, along with the project requirements and the project report, should give sponsors a realistic insight into the status of the project planning and implementation. Requirements which have already received donations can no longer be changed.

7.2. Project reports

The organization must ensure that regular and timely project updates on the platform provide accurate and reliable information about the progress and performance of the projects listed and the use of funds. Project reports should in particular include details of all transactions, purchases/expenses, and any delays or deviations from the project plan. Project reports should be provided in the form of blog posts with photos, linked documents and/or videos on the project page.

7.3. Use of donations

Donations must only be used for the tax-privileged statutory purposes specified in the project description and in compliance with Section 5.

Minor deviations, for example with regard to the quality or quantity of items to be purchased or small price differences are allowed, provided they are immediately and transparently listed without delay. betterplace.org will decide in each individual case at its own discretion when a deviation is minor, taking the principle of commensurability into account. Payments can only be made for specific purposes. Donations made directly to the project or the sponsoring organization are first allocated to a specific purpose before they are paid out.

8. Tax relief of the organization - guarantee, evidence, changes to status and identification on the platform

8.1. Guarantee of tax relief

The organization either guarantees that it is a domestic tax-privileged body and the project serves solely the direct attainment of their statutory tax-privileged purposes; or, that they are a domestic legal person under public law or domestic public entity in accordance with Section 10 b para 1, sentence 2, No. 1 2nd Alt. EstG (Income Tax Act) and the use of the donations is exclusively for tax-privileged purposes in accordance with the German Tax Code (AO).

8.2. Evidence of tax relief

The organization must provide betterplace.org with its current certificate of tax exemption or a notification in accordance with Section 60a AO as proof of its tax relief immediately after their registration or suitable proof of their status as a domestic legal person under public law or public entity. If only a notification in accordance with Section 60a AO can be provided in the case of newly established tax-privileged bodies, the certificate of tax exemption must be submitted upon being issued without being prompted to do so.

Organizations must always submit the respective current notice of exemption.

Organizations must always automatically submit a newly issued notice of exemption no later than six weeks before expiry of the existing notice of exemption submitted to betterplace.org. betterplace.org will assist in this regard by reminding the organization via e-mail about the expiry of the existing notice of exemption.

In any case, betterplace.org must have valid proof of tax relief at the point in time when it forwards the donation to the organization. Otherwise, no donation can be made to the organization by betterplace.org.

8.3. Changes to the tax-privileged status

The organization will inform betterplace.org about any changes to their tax-privileged status without delay and will guarantee the tax-privileged status until receipt of the notification of any changes by betterplace.org.

8.4. Identification of the tax relief on the platform and allocation confirmation.

Upon proof of the tax-privileged status, organizations and projects will be marked accordingly on the platform. Donations made via the platform can be claimed for tax purposes. In this case, the corresponding donation confirmation will be issued and sent directly to sponsors directly by betterplace.org as the recipient of the donations made by the sponsors via the platform, see Section 9.3.10. of the General Terms of Use.

9. Proof of the use of funds by the organization

The organization is obliged to prove the statutory tax-privileged use of the donations in accordance with the purpose specified in the project description to betterplace.org.

This obligation to provide evidence will continue to exist even after the usage agreement has ended if the donations paid by betterplace.org to the organization have not yet been used in full at the time of the termination and/or if all evidence relating to the use of the donations paid out by betterplace.org has not yet been provided at this time in order to enable betterplace.org to provide evidence of the correct use of the funds.

9.1. Confirmation of donation from the organization as evidence

The evidence must be provided by issuing a donation receipt as defined in Section 10b EStG to betterplace.org. Collective receipts of donations are possible for a calendar year. The donation receipts must be sent no later than two months after the end of the calendar year in which the donations were made, or earlier if requested by betterplace.org. If the donation confirmations are not submitted within this period, betterplace.org has the right to block the respective organization and its projects so that they can no longer receive donations from betterplace.org. betterplace.org will activate them again as soon as the donation confirmations have been received by betterplace.org.

9.2. Further evidence of use

In addition, at the request of betterplace.org, the organization must promptly submit further documents that enable betterplace.org to provide evidence of the proper use of funds.

9.3. Increased obligation to provide evidence when the organization achieves tax-privileged purposes abroad

9.3.1. If the organization achieves its statutory tax-privileged purposes abroad - either through its own activities or through the involvement of a domestic or foreign auxiliary person in the sense of Section 57 para. 1 (2) of the German Tax Code (AO), it must comply with its obligation towards betterplace.org to provide additional evidence. betterplace.org will decide on a case by case basis at its own discretion which documents and paperwork the organization is required to submit so that betterplace.org can provide evidence of the proper use of funds, taking the principle of commensurability into account.

The following documents - if necessary translated into German - can serve as evidence of the statutory use of funds abroad:

  • Contracts and related transactions concluded in connection with the use of funds,

  • Evidence of the outflow of funds abroad and receipts from the payee concerning receipt of the funds,

  • Detailed description of the activities carried out abroad,

  • Material about the projects carried out (brochures, press releases),

  • Expert opinion of an auditor for large or ongoing projects,

  • Donation notices from foreign authorities if the measures there are funded publicly, e.g. supported by grants.
  • Confirmation of a German diplomatic mission that the claimed projects are being carried out.

9.3.2. If an auxiliary person is involved within the meaning of Section 57 para. 1 (2) AO, the organization must provide betterplace.org with the written agreement concluded between it and the auxiliary person upon request as preliminary evidence. This contract is to specify the content and scope of the activities and the auxiliary person's legal accountability. This contract must state that the auxiliary person is executing a specific assignment according to the instructions of the organization and that they are only using the funds as instructed for the execution of the project. The activity of the auxiliary person must be monitored by your organization.

10. No (forwarding of) donations to other foreign organizations, foreign natural persons or other foreign recipients

10.1. Forwarding donations acquired via the platform to foreign legal or natural persons or other foreign recipients is not permitted.

This applies even if they are recognized as non-profits in the respective country.

10.2. The possibility of involving a foreign auxiliary person within the meaning of Section 57 para. 1 (2) AO as mentioned in Section 9.3. remains unaffected (as they are not to be regarded as a foreign recipient, but rather the organization's own realization of tax-privileged purposes abroad by means of an auxiliary person).

11. Timely use of funds - information requirements

Organizations must generally use the donations for their tax-privileged statutory purposes in a timely manner (Section 55 para. 1 (5) AO). The funds have been used in a timely manner if they are used within two years after receipt. Hence, if they are received in 2020, the donations must therefore be used in 2022 at the latest. Accordingly, the organization has no more than three years to use the received funds. If an organization does not use the donations collected via the platform in a timely manner, the organization is required to inform betterplace.org of this circumstance without delay, either within the scope of the project report when requesting the donations or by e-mail to support@betterplace.org. betterplace.org will then decide whether and - in the case of a positive decision - under which circumstances the project will be permitted to continue.

12. (Forwarding of) donations to other domestic tax-privileged organizations

12.1. Organizations that wish to pass on the donations collected via the platform to other tax-privileged organizations ("final recipient") are required to inform betterplace.org of this circumstance no later than when requesting the donations within the scope of the project report or by e-mail to support@betterplace.org. betterplace.org will then decide whether and - in the case of a positive decision - under which circumstances the organization is permitted to pass on the donations to other tax-privileged organizations and will inform the organization of this.

The organization is responsible towards betterplace.org for ensuring that the final recipient also complies with all tax and non-profit law provisions and regulations of the General and Additional General Terms of Use of betterplace.org when carrying out their project using the donations received from the organization. The organization must provide evidence of this to betterplace.org in accordance with Section 9.1 and 9.2. of these Additional General Terms of Use upon request.

12.2. The final recipient is permitted to use the donations which have been passed on by betterplace.org solely within the country.

12.3. An organization is never permitted to donate the donations received from betterplace.org to a domestic natural person.

13. Rights of use, linking, identification rights

13.1. All content published on the platform (e.g. project and organization content) will remain visible on the platform as inactive projects and organizations even after the project has ended or been cancelled and after the usage agreement has ended for reasons of transparency, so that the use of donations can be tracked by users and the use of funds can be tracked for documentation purposes.

Sentence 1 of this Section 11.1. does not apply if betterplace.org makes use of its right of erasure in accordance with Section 4.8 of the General Terms of Use or if data subjects assert their erasure rights under data protection law. Please see betterplace.org's Privacy Policy for more details.

13.2. betterplace.org is entitled to make reference to the cooperation using the organization's name and the general identification features, in particular in print, broadcasts or on the internet. In individual cases, this right may be shaped by the organization via the issuing of instructions.

13.3. Organizations are entitled to refer to the cooperation on their own website. For this purpose, the organization shall use the standard logo provided for download by betterplace.org for this purpose in conjunction with a link to the project webpage. Any alternative graphic design must be approved by betterplace.org.

13.4. The provisions of Section 5 of the General Terms of Use (rights of use, copyright, indemnity) remain unaffected by this.

14. End or cancellation of a project and repayment of donations

14.1. Termination of a project by the organization

Termination of a project by the organization if the donations collected before the termination can still be used for the intended purpose:

  1. 100% funded projects – 100% funded projects can either be terminated by the organization itself or they are automatically terminated by betterplace.org.
  2. Early termination of projects without 100% funding – the organization is required to terminate its project if they do not intend to fully complete their project on the platform. The organization must communicate the reason for ending its project and the use of the amounts donated so far to the organization responsible for the project for the intended purpose on the platform, and can submit a request for the contributions that were collected up to the point in time the project was ended to be paid out. Subsequently, betterplace.org will decide in accordance with Section 9.3.2. of the General Terms of Use whether it will pass on the contributions collected to the organization. If betterplace.org not to approve the donation request, the donation amount raised thus far will remain with betterplace.org, which will use this for the pursuit of its statutory purposes.

14.2. Cancellation of a project by the organization

Cancellation of a project by the organization if the donations collected before the termination can no longer be used for the intended purpose:

If it is no longer possible to achieve the project target as specified in the project description or if there is a serious risk of this, the organization is required to cancel the project and provide a corresponding notification on the platform.

In this case, the donation amount raised thus far shall remain with betterplace.org, which will use this for the pursuit of its statutory purposes.

14.3. Cancellation of a project by betterplace.org

betterplace.org is in particular entitled to cancel a project due to:

  1. a serious violation within the meaning of Section 14.4.2.
  2. failure to promptly apply for the transfer of the collected donations. betterplace.org regularly sends reminder emails to the organization informing them about the donation amount that can be requested for the project at betterplace.org. Organizations are obliged to promptly request payment no later than ten months after they are received.

In these cases, the donation amount raised thus far and not yet passed on will remain with betterplace.org, which will use this for the pursuit of its statutory purposes.

14.4. Refunding donations

14.4.1. In the following cases, betterplace.org is entitled to payment from the organization and the project managers or jointly and severally from the organization, the project managers and any possible recipients of donations amounting to the sum that has already been paid out:

  1. Project cancellation by the organization in accordance with Section 14.2.
  2. Serious breach of the listing conditions within the meaning of Section 14.4.2.
  3. Sponsor has reclaimed and recovered the donated amount from their bank.

The payment for the benefit of betterplace.org is to be made to the same account from which the payment was made, without any deduction of costs.

14.4.2. The following in particular constitute serious breaches of the listing conditions:

  1. False information about participating individuals or significant features of the project
  2. Severe or continuing breach of the obligation to provide information about project developments
  3. Loss of non-profit status
  4. Use of donations for other purposes (inappropriate use of funds)
  5. Project is impermissible in accordance with Section 5
  6. Failure to send the donation confirmation to betterplace.org in accordance with Section 9.1. or further evidence of the use of funds in accordance with Section 9.2. or violation of Section 9.3. (increased obligation to provide evidence when using funds abroad)
  7. Violation of Section 10 (no (forwarding of) donation to another foreign recipient)
  8. Violation of Section 11 (prompt use of funds and duty to provide information)
  9. Violation of Section 12 ((forwarding of) donation to another foreign organization)
  10. Substantial or multiple violations of the obligations in accordance with Section 4 of the General Terms of Use
  11. Violations on the obligations in accordance with Section 11.4 of the General Terms of Use

14.4.3. Other criminal or civil law claims, rights and consequences remain unaffected.

15. Termination

15.1. Ordinary termination

15.1.1. The usage relationship with an organization can be terminated by betterplace.org or the organization at any time by giving notice in writing with a notice period of 14 days.

When the termination becomes effective, the organization will no longer be able to use the respective functionalities of the platform that are available for use on the platform according to the usage agreement (see section 6.2.).

The organization's projects will end when the termination comes into force.

15.1.2. As soon as the betterplace.org usage agreement is terminated, the organization may also no longer use the platform with other platform accounts will not be able to log back in.

15.2. Extraordinary termination

The right to extraordinary termination for cause remains unaffected.

The following reasons in particular are to be regarded as cause for termination by betterplace.org:

16. Blocking of projects and organizations

betterplace.org is entitled to temporarily block projects and organizations, regardless of the right to ordinary and extraordinary termination and the right to cancel a project in accordance with Section 14.3. The blocking in particular relates to the ability to post or change content on the project and organization website on the platform and to raise donations. betterplace.org shall in particular make use of this right if third parties inform betterplace.org of the violation of any laws, third party rights or rules of betterplace.org in relation to specific content or users.

17. Appearance on the platform

Registered organizations add their own organization profile and project websites to the platform to represent themselves and their projects.

The various options are determined by the functionality of the platform.

All forms of product advertising and approaching individual users for the purpose of selling products are prohibited on the platform.

In addition to these Additional General Terms of Use, Sections 4 and 5 of the General Terms of Use apply to the admissibility of content which an organization posts on the platform.

18. Changes to conditions

These Additional General Terms of Use are valid from January 2020 onwards.

betterplace.org reserves the right to make changes to these Additional General Terms of Use at any time without restriction, in particular in order to adapt them to legislative or technical changes. The changed conditions will be announced on this website no later than four weeks before their entry into force. Registered users will be informed by e-mail about upcoming changes at the latest four weeks before their entry into force. betterplace.org therefore advises you to regularly review the current version on its website. If a registered user does not object to the validity of the new conditions within four weeks after receipt of the e-mail, the changed conditions shall be deemed as having been accepted. betterplace.org will separately inform the registered user in the e-mail containing the changed conditions about the possibility of objecting and the significance of this four-week period.

For comments or questions about these Additional General Terms of Use (belonging to betterplace.org), please contact our support team at any time:

gut.org gemeinnützige AG

– Projects & Organizations –

Schlesische Strasse 26

D-10997 Berlin

support@betterplace.org