News and analysis
June 16, 2015

Netherlands Tops List of Charity-Friendly Countries, Study Says

Title: The Index of Philanthropic Freedom 2015

Organization: Hudson Institute

Summary: The Netherlands has the world’s best policies to facilitate private giving, followed by the United States, Germany, Canada, and France.

The study assessed and scored 64 countries on philanthropy-related barriers and incentives, including ease of registering and operating civil-society organizations, ease of sending money and goods across borders, and tax policies such as deductions, credits, and exemptions.

Policies varied widely around the world. The country with the worst policies for private giving was Saudi Arabia. Qatar, the controversial choice to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and Nepal, recently ravaged by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, scored only slightly better.

Among the findings:

  • Hostile treatment of foreign donations to local nonprofits impedes philanthropic work in countries including Russia.
  • A high GDP per capita doesn’t always correlate to pro-philanthropy policies, evidenced by examples including oil-rich Qatar.
  • Often well-intentioned foreign-exchange regulation, taxes and bans to keep capital from moving from country to country, and anti-money-laundering legislation hamper philanthropic activity by driving up transactional costs and restricting the amount of money that can be moved between countries.

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