Taxation of Crowdfunding

Module 4

Objectives and work hypothesis

Crowdfunding is an alternative way to raise money collectively for a specific project, by using an online platform (crowdfunding platform) that acts as an intermediary between those seeking financial support (fundraisers) and the potential investors (backers). 

Thirty-nine active platforms are currently operating in Switzerland. The volumes reported by these crowdfunding platforms have again shown a positive trend in the past year: in 2019, CHF 600 million were raised. The biggest growth drivers were the funding of real estate, and the funding of SMEs via crowdlending.

During this seminar, students will have the opportunity to investigate a subject of major scientific interest and find answers to questions such as: Is a contribution to a crowddonating platform subject to donation tax? Do the same considerations apply in the case of crowdsupporting? Quid of VAT? Under what conditions is a capital gain exempt from tax? And many other questions.

After an introduction to the concept and the main types of crowdfunding, students will be introduced to the fundamental Swiss tax issues that arise in this context. Case studies will also involve a cross-border situation.

A presentation of civil aspects will be done by an external practitioner or an academic.

Students will be asked to prepare case studies and to deliver an oral presentation of their solution (in French or English, according to their preference)

Issues discussed

  • Concept of crowdfunding (crowddonating, crowdsupporting, crowdlending, crowdinvesting).
  • Tax treatment of crowdfunding in Swiss tax law (income tax, withholding tax, VAT, donation tax, stamp tax, etc.).
  • Introduction to international taxation and to the application of double tax treaties.
  • Tax treatment of crowdfunding in international tax law.


The module takes place from October 18 to November 7, 2021.

Each group of students will study a real crowdfunding project and analyse it from a taxation point of view.

Detailed time schedules, meeting places and other practical information will be communicated at a later stage.

Teaching languages are English and French.

Responsable du module


Prof. Thierry Obrist


General participation conditions must be fulfilled. In addition, the following conditions must also be met :

  • Swiss tax law exam (or equivalent) passed.

Participants are expected to be able to understand English (the seminar will be held in French and English; a passive understanding of English is therefore recommended).

Priority is given to students registered to the orientation “Business and Tax Law”.

Modules des orientations

  • Business & Tax Law