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The entire event industry has a problem because of Corona: no concerts, no trade fairs, no packed halls - no money. Can vouchers help? Can vouchers be issued in advance and be redeemed later? Such a scenario is currently being discussed in the context of crowdfunding. We talked to Anja Thonig from the Crowdfunding Campus, who has drawn up a guideline on the subject.
CCB Magazine: Hello Anja, in the Corona crisis there have been discussions for weeks about whether organizers or campaign planners of Crowdfunding should not simply give away vouchers for the time after Corona - in order to be able to generate funds now. You from the Crowdfunding Campus think that this might be problematic. What is the problem?
Anja Thonig:The problem is that due to the crisis many people feel forced to act, no matter what. On the one hand, this is absolutely understandable: it's a matter of professional existence. But if you ask tax consultants about "vouchers", the answer is usually a counter-question: What kind of voucher? Multi-purpose voucher, single-purpose voucher? What value does the voucher have? There is a lot of movement in all areas right now. It is important to always consider your own project from a fiscal and legal point of view. You should always consult a tax consultant or specialist lawyer.
CCB Magazine:Okay, but you always go into advance performance in crowdfunding - either the campaign is successful and the project comes to fruition, or it doesn't, in which case there are no performances. In the case of vouchers, would it not be the case that you would simply get the money back?
Anja Thonig:It may be so. But the problem is: Which organizer can currently guarantee that he can redeem the vouchers in a few months? When does the service expire? How do I communicate such changes with my community? If I, as a club that has no income at the moment, cover my running costs with funds that come in through voucher sales but just don't have any income at the moment, I can't refund any money for the vouchers, because it's gone. At the latest then I have to realize that I have only postponed the problem.
For vouchers for the post-Corona era, it depends on the type of voucher and its value. A problem of many organizers is that they cannot refund money for vouchers due to lack of income
CCB Magazine:Many are currently arguing for not reclaiming purchased tickets in the first place in order to help cultural institutions in the crisis. Couldn't this problem be solved with vouchers? So could vouchers be a kind of expression of solidarity in Corona times?
Anja Thonig:I'm sure they can, but you don't need vouchers for that. That can be solved by classical fundraising or the so-called emotional return, like "karma points". People who simply want to support a project will do so without any quid pro quo. Taking a voucher as a solution would not be necessary. If a band sells tickets for a concert that probably won't take place at the moment, just to get money, would it be more likely to end up with a considerable damage to their image or not? In a campaign you should only offer what is realistic, what is actually available as a resource in the best case - physical records, downloads, merchandise or similar.
CCB Magazine:In your blog post you describe the additional problem of the distinction between "single purpose voucher" and/or "multi purpose voucher". What is the problem with this? What is to be considered here?
Anja Thonig:In the case of a single-purpose voucher, the place and service as well as the tax due are already fixed. The sales tax is already included in these vouchers. Multi-purpose vouchers do not meet these criteria. The VAT is therefore only due when the service is provided, when it is redeemed on site. In our contribution we have used the following example: I buy now a voucher in my favourite café for 50 EUR. Place and time of redemption are not indicated. So I can still redeem the voucher at the end of 2020. If I then buy coffee and cake for 50 EUR, the host has to pay tax on this amount of 50 EUR. In order to support my host, I should actually only eat for 42 EUR. Therefore our tip: At least before the start of a campaign let a professional look at everything and calculate exactly, that helps.
Anja Thonig is the contact person for campaign management and consulting at Crowdfunding Campus.
Profile of Anja Thonig on Creative City Berlin
Profile of Crowdfunding Campus