Services for NGOs

The CAGI assists international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) already established or seeking to do so in the Geneva region.

VAT

VAT is governed by the Federal Law of 12 June 2009 governing value added tax (LTVA) and the Ordinance of 27 November 2009 governing value added tax (OTVA).

You can consult the website of the Federal Tax Administration for any question relating to VAT.

We recommend that you consult in particular Info TVA 22 concerning the self-help organizations, social and charitable institutions sector .

As a general rule, anyone who runs a business, even non-profit, and regardless of its legal form and the aim pursued, is required to register for VAT as of when it achieves an annual turnover of at least 100,000 francs generated from services carried out on Swiss territory and abroad which are not excluded from the scope of the tax (art. 10 al. 1 VAT Act).

For the particular case of non-profit and voluntary sports or cultural societies, as well as public utility institutions, which meet the conditions to benefit from the exemption from direct taxes under art. 56 lit. g LIFD, the determining threshold for mandatory VAT liability is raised to 150,000 francs of annual turnover (Art. 10 al. 2 let. c VAT Act).

You can consult the online forms for registration as a VAT taxpayer on the website of the Federal Tax Administration.

The decisive turnover includes all income from services provided in Switzerland and abroad that are not excluded from the scope of tax under the VAT Act. If the services provided are paid for in kind (goods, services in compensation), the market value of the service provided in return must be taken into account in the determining turnover.

The contributions set by statute that non-profit organizations pursuing objectives of a political, union, economic, religious, patriotic, philosophical, philanthropic, ecological, sporting, cultural or civic nature, collect from their active members in return for an identical benefit for each member or category of members (e.g. newspaper, admission, discount, etc.) are excluded from the scope of the tax and must not be taken into account in the determining turnover for liability to VAT (art. 21(2) c. 13 VAT Act).

Subsidies and other contributions from public authorities must not be taken into account in the turnover determining either, even when they are paid on the basis of a service mandate (art. 18 al. 2 let. a LTVA). Subsidies and other contributions from the public authorities are deemed to be benefits in money or appreciable in money which are not paid within the framework of an exchange of benefits (see also art. 29 OTVA).

The same applies to liberalities (donations) freely granted by third parties other than public authorities. The fact of mentioning the donation one or more times in a neutral form in a publication does not constitute supply of an advertising service in favour of the donor, even in the event of the indication of the corporate name of the donor or reproduction of the logo of the donor. -ci (e.g. acknowledgments in a publication, art. 3 let. i VAT Act).

For further information, you can contact the Main Division of Value Added Tax.

Useful documents

Information session on VAT (November 30, 2021)

Other useful information for NGOs

Annual legal requirements
Direct taxes
Intellectual property and data protection
Pro bono legal assistance

CAGI services
for NGOs and Permanent Missions

Founded by the Swiss Confederation and the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the Geneva Welcome Centre is the single entry point for the support and integration of employees of International Geneva and their families, NGOs and visiting delegates.