Which NGOs and NPOs are tax-exempt?

Organisations that are tax-exempt throughout Switzerland and its cantons

Not all NGOs are the same. The abbreviation for nongovernmental organisation is often simplistically equated with charitable organisations. We’ll clarify the terminology further in another article. As a general principle, the legal structure of an NGO, INGO, or NPO is irrelevant for their tax exemption: they typically choose the legal structure of an association as per Art. 60 ff. ZGB (Swiss Civil Code) or a foundation as per Art. 80 ff. ZGB; unlike the ‘commercial enterprises’ of the Swiss Code of Obligations, they are created for nonprofit purposes. As long as an organisation meets the material conditions for tax exemption due to nonprofit status and undergoes a cantonal approval procedure on request, a Swiss-wide tax exemption is possible. In this case, you can deduct free gifts (donations, gifts, bequests, inheritances, etc.) to these organisations from your taxes.

Certified organisations and DeinAdieu partners

DeinAdieu.ch cooperates closely in fundraising with certified charitable organisations. We work with over eighty nonprofit organisations, which we allocate to seven topic areas:

Human rights & Humanitarian

Perhaps our best known partner organisations include internationally active charities such as Amnesty International, ICRC, and Doctors Without Borders. They advocate an improvement of the humanitarian situation in crisis areas and countries in which the population must suffer under poverty and violence. To pursue their objectives and programmes, such as critical reporting of the human rights situation or bringing about the rollout of basic medical care, they depend on support from wealthy nations such as Switzerland. Therefore, local branches of such INGOs can profit from tax advantages even if the charitable activities they perform do not benefit the Swiss population directly.

Protecting nature, animals, and the environment

We’re committed to the environment, and nature conservation is more important than ever before. So we partner with reputable nature conservation organisations such as Pro Natura and the Swiss Foundation for Landscape Conservation. We promote animal protection in this country and worldwide in cooperation with Vier Pfoten – animal protection foundation and Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Suisse. And Zoo Zürich and the Nature and Animal Park Goldau in the canton of Schwyz are nonprofit organisations that have committed themselves to species-appropriate animal husbandry.

People with disabilities

Promoting equal opportunities and a quality of life for people with disabilities or special needs is central to a humane, enlightened society. Many organisations dedicate themselves to a specific target group, such as the Swiss Central Association for the Blind or the Swiss Federation of the Blind. Others, such as PluSport, the Swiss Academy for Development, or the foundations Denk an mich or the Wohn- und Bürozentrum für Körperbehinderte (organisation providing residential and work support for disabled people) allow hundreds of thousands of people to enjoy mobility and integration in their working lives every year.

Children & Adolescents

Children and adolescents are the future of our world. Organisations such as the SOS Children’s Villages Foundation,, Pro Juventute or or Kinderanwaltschaft Schweiz (Swiss advocacy for children) help people in Switzerland to cope with emergencies. terre des hommes Switzerland, CO-OPERAID or Save the children are dedicated to the recognition and enforcement of children’s rights in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Senior, social, and emergency aid

The elderly and people in difficult life situations can have a need for consultation or support. Interest groups and charitable organisations such as Pro Senectute, Caritas Bern, and Pro Infirmis see to it that the basic right to a self-determined, dignified life is guaranteed even amid tragedies and problem situations.

Healthcare & Research

Switzerland is very health-conscious, with high standards for medical care. So people suffering from chronic illnesses can count on strong consultation, support, and advocacy from health insurance providers and from associations such as the Lungenliga Thurgau, Rheumaliga, or Krebsliga Schweiz. Those groups are also financed mostly or entirely from (tax-free) private donations.

Development cooperation

The peaceful, sustainable development of poor countries lies in the interests of the entire world community. Ensuring that people in the world will no longer have to suffer from hunger, thirst, war, extreme poverty, or unacceptable hygienic deficiencies – even in the near future – must become a fundamental objective. Organisations such as Biovision or Brücke – Le Pont perform proven developmental collaboration work in regions with a real need to catch up but significant growth potential.

Are there alternatives? Which?

With thousands of tax-exempt foundations, associations, and companies in Switzerland, the broadest spectrum conceivable of possible issues is covered. The Zewo foundation, whose registered office is in Zurich, awards a seal of quality to tested, trustworthy organisations that are financed from voluntary donations, to confirm their integrity. The website contains a great selection of initiatives and projects worth promoting. If you can’t find anything in your cantonal tax office’s index of tax-exempt legal entities, nothing stands in the way of forming your own charitable foundation through an official document or testamentary disposition except basic formalities and fees. We’d be glad to answer your questions over the phone (+41 44 500 52 37), by email (support@deinadieu.ch), or in a chat. If necessary, we can connect you with competent subject matter experts in inheritance and foundation law.

Switzerland has an impressive offering of civil society initiatives and charitable organisations. A dual system of state control over tax exemptions and voluntary supervision through certifications assures a high degree of responsibility and transparency to ensure your donations go exactly where they should. DeinAdieu would be glad to inform you about individual NGOs and partner organisations or put you in touch with them.

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