Gao Chuanjie: Charitable trusts are not exclusively for the wealthy

凤凰网公益 

中文 English

Editor’s Note

This article was originally published by the Phoenix Network on the 13th of July 2018. What follows is CDB’s translation. Please find the original here

 

Have you been following how the world’s rich manage their enormous wealth?

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  Warren Buffet (left) and Bill Gates (right). Image source: Internet

Bill Gates, the world’s richest man and founder of Microsoft, has said that 95% of his personal wealth will go to the Gates Foundation, and will be donated and used to promote equality in worldwide health and education over the 20 years after the deaths of himself and his wife. What’s more, the Gates Foundation has also attracted the “god of stocks”, Warren Buffet, who makes huge donations to the foundation every year.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has also announced that he will donate 99% of the stocks he owns to charitable causes.

Like Zuckerberg, Ma Yun (Jack Ma) and Ma Huateng have successively donated stocks and shares to be used in charitable sectors, including environmental protection, medical care, education and culture. The Li Ka Shing Foundation has so far donated over HK $20 billion to projects covering 27 countries and regions worldwide, with a focus on supporting education and medical projects.

In 2017, He Xiangjian, the founder of Midea, announced a plan to donate six billion Yuan to charity. Out of that, he donated 100 million Midea Group shares (with a market value of 4.3 billion Yuan) to establish the “He Trust”. He also donated two billion Yuan in cash to establish the He Foundation in Guangdong Province, of which 500 million Yuan went into establishing a charitable trust to be used for the construction of the Shunde district. The remaining 1.5 billion Yuan will be donated to five charitable associations in the Beijiao township of Shunde district, in Foshan, Guangdong Province, with professional charitable organisations responsible for the standard operations of the projects.

In addition, the first family charitable trust to appear in China, the Wanxiang Trust – Lechun Family Charitable Trust, has assets totalling RMB 20 million, with the trustor choosing to remain undisclosed. The trust term is perpetual, and the trust was filed on the 26th of September 2016 with the Hangzhou Civil Affairs Bureau.

In recent years, increasing numbers of China’s wealthy have begun to place importance on the positive role charity can play in family wealth inheritance. They have begun to deeply consider the issue of how to manage the wealth needed beyond family life. Charity has advantages such as the ability to enhance family cohesion, isolate wealth risks and establish a family culture. It is generally used as an alternative wealth management tool by the top-level rich.

It seems that the wealthy are no longer satisfied with making one-off donations, and prefer to maintain or increase the value of charitable wealth and continuously carry out good deeds in accordance with their wishes. As a result, the wealthy have become keen on another high-end way of playing with their wealth – personal foundations + charitable trusts.

 

Charitable trusts are not exclusively for the wealthy

Ordinary people may not dare to emulate the generous charitable acts of the wealthy, thinking that there is a very high threshold for establishing a personal charitable foundation or charity trust, and that such wealth management methods are exclusively for the rich. But what is the reality?

According to Article 8 of the “Regulations on the Management of Foundations” published by the State Council in 2004, Article 2 of the “conditions for the establishment of a personal charitable foundation” indicates that the original fund of a non-public foundation shall not be less than RMB 2 million and must be a monetary fund held in a bank account. This may be somewhat difficult for ordinary people. So what can they do? Charitable trusts provide a new solution.

The “Charity Law”, which was implemented on the 1st of September 2016, defines the concept of the charitable trust. The trustor entrusts their assets to the trustee for charitable purposes in accordance with the law. The trustee manages and disposes of assets in the name of the trustee, and in accordance with the wishes of the trustor, in order to conduct charitable activities. Charitable trusts belong to the “Charitable Trust” section of the “Trust Law”, which was implemented on October 1, 2001. In the section on charitable trusts, “maintaining and increasing value” and “charitable aspirations,” are two goals which can both be realised through the use of a trust as a tool to conduct charity.

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Long-term trustworthiness is the foundation of the sustainable development of charitable trusts. Image source: Internet

Compared with foundations, charitable trusts do not have an original funding limit, and are required only to have certain trust assets and to comply with the trust purposes stipulated by the law. Charitable trusts have advantages in terms of establishment procedures, operating costs, and in maintaining and increasing the value of assets. They also have particular features such as freedom of choice in charitable purposes, diversity in defined term lengths, flexibility in the use of funds and abundance in the types of trustors. Trust companies and charitable organisations can both become trustees, and it is a charitable service which both wealthy and ordinary people can use. Charitable trusts are embedded in the overall structure of family wealth inheritance, meaning family charity is not limited to fund and property donations. The flexibility and creativity of trusts have made the extensive expansion of family charity possible.

Three parties are necessary to establish a charitable trust – the trustor, the trustee and the beneficiary. Of these, the trustor can include corporate bodies, social organisations, high net worth families, ordinary families and ordinary people. The trustee can be a charitable organisation or a trust company, or both can act as co-trustees. The beneficiaries of charitable trusts are unspecified members of the public or poor communities.

The former China Banking Regulatory Commission Non-Banking Director and senior expert in China’s trust industry, Gao Chuanjie, outlined the main features of charitable trusts to Phoenix Public Welfare: “In the short term, corporate bodies, social groups and wealthy families will be the main players in charitable trusts in China. In the long term, ordinary people and ordinary families will participate more. More and more families who are willing to participate in charity can establish their own charitable trust and jointly advance social progress in China. If I want to do a charitable deed, professional organisations can help me carry it out.”

 

Why are public charitable trusts in China applauded but fail to attract support?

bf65b02511fff12_size189_w500_h553                                                              Gao Chuanjie

On July 10 2018, Gao Chuanjie attended a “charitable guest salon” organized by the China Charity Alliance and the Capital Charity Foundation, where he delivered a speech entitled “Preserving and Increasing the Value of Charitable Trusts and Charitable Property”. To the assembled journalists and employees of charitable organizations and trusts, Gao provided professional guidance in a range of areas, including popularizing the understanding of charitable organizations, the charitable sector’s development, evolution and future prospects, it’s routine administration, explanations of related policies, risk prevention and maintaining and increasing asset value.

According to Gao Chuanjie, charitable trusts are currently in their infancy in China. Compared with the United Kingdom and the United States, countries with well-established and stable charitable trusts, China’s charitable trusts are still in the process of growing from a “child” to a “giant”. This process not only requires improving the public’s awareness of and participation in charitable trusts; it also requires related national policies and regulations to keep pace. At present, although laws and regulations governing charitable trusts – like China’s Trust Law, the Charity Law and Charitable Trust Management Regulations – exist, gaps remain in their implementation.

Over the course of many years of developing a charitable trust system in China, imperfections in the implementation of this system have consistently led to an embarrassing situation where the work of charitable trusts is applauded but fails to attract support.

Looking back on legislative efforts to promote public trusts and charitable trusts, Gao Chuanjie lets out a sigh: “As early as 22 years ago in 1996, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress issued a decision regarding the establishment of a charity trust system; in 2000, the State Council approved the People’s Bank’s Trust Investment Company Management Regulations, permitting trust companies to provide charity trust services; in 2001, the National People’s Congress passed the Trust Law, again affirming charity trusts; in 2016 the plenary session of the National People’s Congress passed the Charity Law, once more clarifying regulations covering charitable trusts and recognizing the charitable trust services that charitable organizations and trust companies provide to society.

Four times charitable philanthropic trusts have been approved; four times trust companies have been approved as public welfare charitable trust service providers. More charitable organizations are becoming involved in charitable trust activities. All this exemplifies that our country’s most authoritative governing bodies take seriously the use of charitable trust systems as a means by which to develop our country’s charity and philanthropy sector.”

On July 26 2017, the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Civil Affairs announced that the fourth clause of the Charitable Trust Management Regulations stipulated that China encourages the development of charitable trusts, encourages natural persons, legal persons and other organizations to implement the core values of Chinese socialism, and promote the Chinese people’s traditional values and the development of charitable activities according to the law. This clause is similar to the sixty-first clause of the 2001 Trust Law, with these two clauses together expressing China’s desire to lay down a basic platform on which to develop public welfare and charitable trusts.

Gao Chuanjie believes that there is still a lot of work to be done towards putting into practice the country’s desire to encourage the development of charitable trusts.

 

The main problems influencing the development of charitable philanthropic trusts in China

“Long-term trust, effective management and effective encouragement are the three big challenges facing China’s charitable trust sector.” Getting straight to the point, Gao Chuanjie remarks that “presently, the main issue influencing the development of China’s charitable philanthropic trusts is the problem of tax collection.”

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                                                                Ma Weihua, source: “China Entrepreneur”

Many in the charity sector share Gao Chuanjie’s views, including Ma Weihua, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Shenzhen International Public Welfare College, and Zhai Meiqing, founder of the Heungkong Charitable Foundation. Both men represented the charity sector at the National Political Consultative Conference during last year’s “Two Sessions” and separately introduced two draft resolutions: “Draft Resolution Concerning Improving Charitable Trust by Supporting Policies Promoting the Healthy Development of Charitable Trusts” and “Recommendations Concerning Further Promoting the Implementation of Charitable Trusts”. This was not the first time that Ma Weihua put forward a draft resolution concerning charitable philanthropic trusts. During the Two Sessions in both 2014 and 2015, he called for the national implementation of charitable philanthropic trusts. What drew the most attention in his draft resolutions was reference to “the lack of supporting favourable tax policies”.

China clearly intends to provide charitable philanthropic trusts with favourable tax policies. According to Gao Chuanjie, during the period when the Trust Law was being drafted in the year 2000, all parties reached a consensus through discussion that the development of charitable trusts could not be separated from tax incentive measures. For this reason, the sixty-first clause of the Trust Law states that “the nation encourages the development of charitable trusts”. The 2015 draft of the Charity Law also ran into a similar matter and clarified the legal direction on this issue by noting that “it has not been put on record that charitable trusts should not receive favourable taxation rates”. The Trust Law was promulgated eighteen years ago, but favourable taxation rates for charitable philanthropic trusts have yet to be established.

The fact that the policies towards favourable taxation rates for charitable trusts are insufficient is clear from the obstacles which emerge when the trustee wants to place properties, shares and other traditional large-scale charitable assets into the trust. “When the trustee donates their house to a charitable trust, this is viewed in the same way as a commercial transaction, as a sale. When it comes to the tax rate, is this in accordance with the legislative intention of encouraging the development of charity as stipulated in the Trust Law and Charity Law?” The answer to Gao Chuanjie’s question seems obvious.

The story of glass entrepreneur Cao Dewang’s five hundred million yuan of tax evasion symbolizes the entangled resentments lying between charitable trusts and tax collection.

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Cao Dewang  Image Source: Internet

In February 2009, Cao Dewang was ready to donate 60% of his family-owned shares in the Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co. Ltd. The 3.549-billion-yuan worth of shares was to be used to establish the Heren Charity Foundation. Not long after the donation, he was informed by the State Administration of Taxation that even after the tax reduction, he still needed to pay a corporate income tax of 500 million yuan. Cao Dewang felt wronged however, since he had donated his own shares and received no income! However, at that time, the law stipulated that if ownership of stocks changed, taxes need to be paid based on “respecting sales as income.”

In April 2016, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation issued the “Notice Concerning the Income Tax Policy of Charitable Equity Donations.” If this Decree No. 45 had been issued earlier, Cao Dewang would not have suffered this loss.

However, Decree No. 45 is not a panacea. Although corporate income tax is exempted, charitable trusts must pay taxes when they transfer assets such as real estate and stocks. When it comes to new forms of assets like art, including famous paintings and antiques, there is no tax incentive for charitable trusts either.

As Gao Chuanjie commented: “In the short run, tax incentives for charitable trusts mainly concern the establishment of trusts. Incentives are offered in the issuing of donation invoices and donations of equity and property to the trust. In the long run, the main difficulty of tax incentives lies in the operation of charitable trusts, that is, the management and use of property by the trustee. Designing a solution for the former case is simple, but for the latter it is complicated. The two problems can be solved gradually by solving the easy one first and the harder one later.

The charitable trust tax policy should be in place as soon as possible, this has become the general consensus of the trusts, charities and academia. As Gao Chuanjie also points out, “The charitable trust preferential policy involves a small proportion of taxes, but it affects the conversion of large private wealth into public wealth. The reduction of a small amount of taxes allows the public to obtain a large amount of wealth, and the social resource mobilization effect is very prominent. Therefore, tax incentives for charitable trusts are available all over the world.”

In addition, tax incentives involve several related receipts. The receipts for charitable trusts involve coordination among various government departments such as finance, taxation, and civil affairs (and perhaps environmental protection and education), which is also likely to cause endless wrangling among departments. Charities are unable to open a special account for trust funds in the bank, and trust companies are unable to issue donation invoices to trustees and donors. If charities and trusts suffer such “discriminatory treatment,” how can charitable trusts develop in a healthy manner?

 

Charitable trusts and the “efficiency of charity”

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The Charity Law includes a special chapter on “Charitable Trusts”. Image Source: Internet

In September 2016, after the implementation of the Charity Law, many trust companies and joint charitable organizations launched the first batch of charitable trust products despite imperfections in the current system. The situation seemed to be good, judging from the number of charitable trust filings. In the past two years, charitable trusts have shown an encouraging speed of development. In December 2017, the number of filings even reached a historic number of 14, and the total size of charitable trusts reached an even higher level.

The National Charity Information Disclosure Platform showed that as of July 11 this year, 88 charitable trusts have been filed, and the total size of the trust properties has reached 995 million yuan.

Some people also express doubts regarding the presence of charitable trusts that only contain 10,000 RMB, wondering whether their sole purpose is to improve trust companies’ ratings in regulatory evaluations. As Gao Chuanjie explains, “it is a misunderstanding to consider the establishment of charitable trusts with 10,000 yuan to be done only for improving ratings in regulatory evaluations. It is an international practice to set up charitable trusts with a small amount of money and then increase the trust property through donations or client involvement. In addition, after the establishment of a charitable trust, in order to avoid difficulties in the exercise of power of the trustees and in the management of the trust due to their being too many trustees, it is customary to decrease the number of trustees and open up to more donors.

Gao Chuanjie also emphasizes that charitable trusts should pay special attention to strengthening the division of labour between trustees and professional organizations. He points out that “trustees of charitable trust and organizations that operate charitable project are all composed of professional talents, which is of great significance to improving the efficiency of charitable trusts. Charitable trusts must firmly establish the concept of ‘public interest efficiency’ from the beginning and make good use of every cent to strive for as much public welfare as possible.

Charitable trusts should not only pay attention to the speed of development, but also to its quality and intensity. Regulatory authorities should pay attention to property encroachment and misappropriation of charitable trusts, as well as inefficiency and waste of trust property, to supervise the trustees of charitable trusts through information disclosure and effectiveness evaluation. If there are assessments there are comparisons, and comparisons will promote competition and survival of the fittest. At present, there are 800,000 non-profit organizations and 68 trust companies in the country. If everyone is concerned about the efficiency of public welfare, we can better use limited charitable property.”

 

Guarding realistically against the risks for charitable trusts

Like other trust activities, charitable trusts must also take measures to prevent risks. Gao Chuanjie believes that among the three types of trust activities in China, which include civil trusts, business trusts and charitable trusts, charitable trusts are the most complex, and risk prevention is of paramount importance. He also specifically states that in trust establishment, property management, and use of trust interests, focus should be on the use and distribution of trust property. The most significant risk that needs to be managed is “reputation risk,” and it can be managed through transparency of information and supervision by all parties. The person directly responsible for a “reputation risk incident” should be sanctioned sufficiently for effective deterrence.

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Avoiding reputational risks is very important. Image Source: Internet

As Gao Chuanjie stresses, “transparency is the embodiment of the trustee’s loyalty and obligations. Transparency is the key to charitable trusts!” He mentions to Phoenix Charity the world-famous “double heritage” protection trust, which is the information disclosure practice of the British National Trust. “The National Trust is a large and complex charitable trust with a wide range of social participation. Its management norms and public welfare effects are outstanding. More than 50 countries and regions in the world have learned from its model.

According to the British level of information disclosure, there are three levels, “simple, medium and complex”. Charitable trusts fall into the complex range. The document for information disclosure is very detailed. All trust property and investment assets are explained, and everyone is informed of each investment product and derivative. The asset portfolio and its underlying assets are open to the public and people are informed of the trust income and of the use of that income. This is a case of transparency construction!”

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UK Charitable Committee Guide

The “UK Charitable Committee Guide” is a collection of reference material drawn from the over 100 years of management experience charities have, and is a must-read for anyone researching charitable trusts. Gao Chuanjie says “our nation is still in the primary stages of developing charitable trusts: the institutions are not yet perfect and we have little operational and managerial experience. For this reason, getting to work reading this book has been of great benefit, allowing us to study and draw upon the successes of others.”

Gao Chuanjie says “promoting society’s collective interests and noble moral sentiment is the fundamental principle behind charitable trusts; through respecting free choice by entrusting people to handle charitable affairs, realizing the optimal allocation of charitable resources and the equal development in social progress is the basic rule of the development of charitable trusts.”

Looking back at the historical development of charitable trusts, their first establishment between 1400 and 1600 was because of the great demand for them in England at that time. The 1601 Statute of Charitable Uses was the initial starting point, and even after the challenges faced over the last 418 years, it remains at the core of the UK’s charitable industry and has been of fundamental influence in its sphere across the globe. “Introducing this trust structure is crucially important to the healthy development of China’s progressing charitable industry,” Gao Chuanjie says.

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The change in number of Charitable Trusts on record between September 2016 and April 2018

Looking at the development of domestic charitable trusts, there has been clear progress from the charitable trusts as set out in theTrusts Law of 2001 to the charitable trusts as set out in the Charity Law of 2016. The Charity Law not only made it clear that these are the responsibility of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, but also basically decided the legal stipulations of the operations of charitable trusts. Currently, there are already a number of trust companies and charitable organisations that have been brave and actively launched charitable trusts.

In China, the first domestic public trust recognized by the industry was the “Xi’an Trust 5.12 Earthquake Relief Public Trust Plan”, established in Xi’an after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. In 2008, the China Banking Regulatory Commission issued the Notice on Encouraging Trust Companies to Develop Public Trust Businesses to Support Post-disaster Reconstruction in response to the Wenchuan Earthquake. This created breakthrough provisions on the establishment of public trusts, the monetary value of trusts, the qualifications and quantity of trustees and more. However, this Notice only applies to post-disaster reconstruction. The institutions remain low-level and it has so far not been possible to solve key incentive issues, such as tax incentives.

Since the first enactment of the law in 1601, charitable trusts have played an important role in solving social issues, improving the welfare system and promoting social progress. The ideals of the system, with its emphasis on social public interest and humans’ good moral sentiments, remain of inexhaustible vitality.

Gao Chuanjie expresses in a heartfelt manner that “people will discover in life that behind every good charitable trust there is a moving story, and there is a charitable trust owner’s pursuit of a noble moral sentiment. We ought to carry forward this tradition, and in the areas with flourishing charitable trusts such as education and poverty alleviation, we should pay close attention and promote spiritual civilization when conveying charitable wealth. Poverty alleviation should be continually encouraged, and aid should be more than simply giving money.” Giving a man a fish is not as good as teaching a man to fish, and when virtue and wealth combine, it is virtue that must take priority.

“Let charitable trusts of every size spread like stars to cities and towns of every size across our nation, and let millions of people’s mood towards charity and goodness transform into reality, helping them to leave behind in this world good intentions and charitable footprints.” This is the vision of a generation of charitable trustees, such as Gao Chuanjie, who look forward to seeing the resplendent starry sky, but who also recognise that we must wait through a great number of ordinary dawns before this can happen. (Interview conducted by: Ma Mingyue, with thanks to the China Charity Federation for supporting this article.)

 

Gao Chuanjie

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Gao Chuanjie previously worked in the General Office of the State Council, the People’s Bank of China, the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the China Construction Bank Investment Corporation, the CIC Trust Company, and the China Everbright Industrial (Group) Corporation among others. Now he is a tutor on the Tehua Post-Doctoral Research Programas well as at Renmin University of China and at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law. He is also an Honorary Advisor of the China Charity Research Institute and the China Charity AllianceTrust Committee.

He has long researched the scientific development of China’s trust industry, has participated in developing the legislation of China’s Trust Law and Charity Law, and presided over the formulation and implementation of China’s trust company management and supervision system.

高传捷:慈善信托并非富人专属,发展面临三大挑战

2018年07月13日10:37:33 来源:凤凰网公益 作者:马明月

 

 

全球富豪们如何管理自己拥有的巨额财产,你关注过吗?

巴菲特(左)和比尔•盖茨(右),图片来源:网络

全球首富、微软创始人比尔•盖茨表示,他个人财富的95%都会进入盖茨基金会,将在他和妻子去世后的20年内全部捐赠,用来促进全球卫生和教育领域的平等。此外,盖茨基金会还吸引了“股神”巴菲特,他每年都会对盖茨基金会进行巨额捐赠。

Facebook创始人扎克伯格也宣布将捐出持有股票的99%用于慈善事业。

和扎克伯格一样,马云、马化腾也纷纷捐出股权、股票,用于环保、医疗、教育、文化等公益慈善领域。李嘉诚基金会至今捐款已逾200亿港元,项目遍及全球27个国家及地区,主要专注于支持教育和医疗项目。

2017年,美的创始人何享健公布了捐赠60亿元的慈善计划。其中,何享健捐赠了1亿股美的集团的股票(市值43亿元),设立“和的慈善信托”;还捐赠了20亿元现金,设立广东省和的慈善基金会,其中5亿元设立慈善信托,用于顺德社区建设,余下15亿元分别捐赠给广东省、佛山市、顺德区、北滘镇等5个慈善会,由专业的公益慈善机构负责慈善项目的规范运作。

此外,中国首个家族慈善信托的面世——万向信托•乐淳家族慈善信托财产总规模为2000万元人民币,委托人选择不公开,备案期限为永续,备案日期为2016年9月26日,备案机构是杭州市民政局。

近年来,越来越多的中国富豪开始重视慈善在家族财富传承中的积极作用,开始深度思考超出家族生活所需的财富如何管理的问题,慈善具有提升家族凝聚力、隔离财富风险、建立家族文化等优势,通常作为财富管理工具中的另类工具而被顶级富豪所采用。

富人们似乎已经不再满足一次性捐赠,他们更希望慈善财富保值增值,并按其意愿持续行善。于是,富豪们热衷于“财富”的另一种高阶玩法——个人基金会+慈善信托。

慈善信托并非富人专属

富豪们慷慨的慈善行为,或许让很多老百姓不敢效仿,认为设立个人慈善基金会或者慈善信托的门槛很高,这些都是富人专属的财富管理方式,而实际上呢?

按照国务院2004年颁布的《基金会管理条例》第八条,个人慈善基金会成立的条件第二条所述,非公募基金会的原始基金不低于200万元人民币;原始基金必须为到账货币资金。这对于普通老百姓来说,或许有些为难。怎么办呢?慈善信托给了人们新的解决方案。

2016年9月1日施行的《慈善法》确定了慈善信托的概念,指委托人基于慈善目的,依法将其财产委托给受托人,由受托人按照委托人意愿以受托人名义进行管理和处分,开展慈善活动的行为。慈善信托属于2001年10月1日实施的《信托法》下的“公益信托”。在公益信托阶段,利用信托工具来做慈善,已经能够实现“保值增值”和“慈善心愿”两不误。

长期可信赖是慈善信托可持续发展的基础,图片来源:网络

与基金会相比,慈善信托没有起始资金的限制,只要求有确定的信托财产和符合法律规定信托目的,在设立程序、运行成本、资产保值增值方面都有优势;还具有慈善目的自由选择、期限确定多样,资金使用灵活,委托人类型更加丰富的特点;信托公司,慈善组织都可以成为受托人,是富人和普通人都可以利用的慈善服务。慈善信托嵌入家族财富传承整体架构,使得家族慈善不止停留在资金、财物捐赠层面,信托的灵活性和创造性,让家族慈善的深度拓展成为可能。

成立慈善信托,三方不可或缺——委托人、受托人和受益人。其中,委托人包括法人机构、社会团体、高净值家族、普通家庭、普通老百姓。受托人可以是慈善组织或者信托公司,也可以二者担任共同受托人。慈善信托的受益人则是不特定的社会大众或者贫困的人群。

国内慈善信托的运作模式,图片来源:网络

“短期来讲,法人机构、社会团体和富有家庭是我国慈善信托的主体;长期来讲,老百姓、普通家庭会有更多的参与。越来越多的乐于参与慈善事业的家庭可以建立属于自己的慈善信托,共同推进我国的社会进步。我自己想做的善事,专业机构来帮我履行。”原中国银监会非银司司长、中国信托业资深专家高传捷向凤凰网公益讲述了慈善信托的主要特点。

在中国,公益慈善信托为何叫好不叫座

高传捷

2018年7月10日,高传捷做客中国慈善联合会与首都公益慈善联合会共同主办的“善客沙龙”,开讲《慈善信托及慈善财产保值增值》。他为慈善组织工作人员、信托从业者、媒体记者提供了慈善信托知识普及、发展沿革、实务操作、行业前景、政策解读、风险防范、财产保值增值等方面的专业指导。

在高传捷看来,慈善信托目前在中国处于起步阶段,相比英国、美国等慈善信托成熟、稳定的国家,中国的慈善信托还有一个从“小婴儿”到“巨人”的成长的过程,不仅需要社会大众提升对慈善信托的认知度和参与度,也需要国家的相关政策法规要跟上。目前来看,虽然有了《信托法》、《慈善法》、《慈善信托管理办法》等相关法律法规对慈善信托的规制,但在现实操作中仍有“空白点”。

慈善信托实施制度的不完善,使得公益慈善信托制度在中国建立多年,始终“叫好不叫座”,处境尴尬。

回首中国对公益信托、慈善信托的立法推进,高传捷发出了这样的感叹:“早在22年前的1996年,人大常委会就做出了建立我国公益信托制度的决定;2000年,国务院批准人民银行《信托投资公司管理办法》,准许信托公司提供公益信托服务;2001年,全国人大通过了《信托法》,再次确认公益信托;2016年全国人大全体会议通过《慈善法》,又一次明确慈善信托的规定,并确定慈善组织、信托公司向社会提供慈善信托服务。四次批准公益慈善信托,四次批准信托公司作为公益慈善信托的服务主体,并增加了数量更多的慈善组织从事慈善信托活动,体现我国最高权力机关对利用信托制度发展我国公益慈善事业的重视。”

2017年7月26日,银监会、民政部颁布的《慈善信托管理办法》第四条规定:国家鼓励发展慈善信托,支持自然人、法人和其他组织践行社会主义核心价值观,弘扬中华民族传统美德,依法开展慈善活动。这一条与2001年生效的《信托法》第六十一条的规定相似,一致表达了国家鼓励发展公益信托、慈善信托的基本立场。

高传捷认为,“国家鼓励发展公益信托”的国家意志,在实际落实中还有很多工作要做。

影响公益慈善信托在中国发展的主要问题

“长期信赖、有效监管、有效鼓励是我国公益慈善信托事业面临的三大挑战。” 高传捷认为,如果非要一针见血,“当前,影响公益慈善信托在中国发展的重要原因是税收问题。”

马蔚华,图片来源:中国企业家杂志

与高传捷有一样观点的,还有公益慈善界人士,深圳国际公益学院董事会主席马蔚华,香江社会救助基金会创始人翟美卿,两名很能代表公益界的全国政协委员在去年两会上,分别提交了《关于完善慈善信托配套政策推动慈善信托健康发展的提案》和《关于进一步推动慈善信托落地的建议》。事实上,马蔚华不是第一次提出公益慈善信托的提案了,在2014、2015年的“两会”上,他就连续两年呼吁国家落实公益慈善信托,提案中最值得大家关注的便是“配套的税收优惠政策缺失”。

给予公益慈善信托税收优惠,国家有十分明确的政策意图。高传捷介绍,2000年在起草《信托法》时,各方面经过讨论形成共识,公益信托的发展不能离开税收鼓励的措施,因此才有了《信托法》第六十一条:“国家鼓励发展公益信托”的表述。2015年起草《慈善法》又遇到同样的问题,并以“慈善信托不备案不享受税收优惠”的方式明确法律导向。《信托法》颁布已经18年了,公益慈善信托的税收优惠仍然没有确立。

慈善信托税收优惠政策不到位,最明显地表现在对委托人的税收优惠,是房子、股权等传统的大宗慈善财产进入信托的突出障碍。“委托人把房子捐给慈善信托,要视同买卖、视同销售,要上税,这与《信托法》、《慈善法》里规定国家鼓励发展慈善的立法意图符合吗?”高传捷的质疑,答案仿佛显而易见。

玻璃大王曹德旺“漏税”5个亿的故事,可以更形象地说明慈善信托与税收之间的恩怨纠葛。

曹德旺,图片来源:网络

2009年2月,曹德旺准备捐出家族持有的福耀玻璃股份中的60%,当时市值35.49亿元的股票来成立河仁慈善基金会。没多久,就被国家税务总局告知,减免之后,还要交5亿元的企业所得税。但曹德旺很委屈,自己捐了股权,又没有收入!但当时的法律规定,股票所有权发生了改变,就“视同销售取得收入”,就得缴纳税金。

2016年4月,财政部、国家税务总局发出《关于公益股权捐赠企业所得税政策问题的通知》,这45号文要是早点出,曹德旺也就不用吃哑巴亏了。

然而,45号文并不是“万灵丹”,虽然给免了企业所得税,可在当前,慈善信托在过户地产、股票等资产的时候还得交税,对于艺术类,比如说名画、古玩之类的新形式资产参与慈善信托就更是没有税收优惠。

高传捷具体说:“公益慈善信托的税收优惠,从短期看,主要是信托设立环节,委托人向信托交付财产涉及到信托公司开具捐赠发票、股权和房产交付信托的税收优惠等。从长期看,主要的难点在慈善信托的运行环节,受托人管理、运用信托财产所涉及的税收优惠。设计解决方案,前者简单,后者复杂;两个问题完全可以先易后难、逐步解决。”

慈善信托税收政策应该早日到位,这已经成为信托界、公益慈善界、学术界的普遍共识。高传捷指出:“慈善信托优惠政策涉税金额很小,但影响到非常大的私人财富转变为社会公共财富。减收很少的税款,使社会公共领域得到大量财富,社会资源动员效果非常突出。因此,从全世界来讲,慈善信托都是有税收优惠的。”

此外,税收优惠要牵扯相关票据,慈善信托票据涉及财政、税务和民政(也许还有环保、教育)等政府多部门之间的业务协调,这也容易造成相互“踢皮球”的无休止扯皮中。慈善组织往往没办法在银行开信托资金专用账户,信托公司无法给委托人、捐赠者开捐赠发票,就是现实的苦恼。慈善组织和信托公司遭遇如此“歧视性对待”,如何实现慈善信托的健康发展?

慈善信托与公益效率

《慈善法》中专门设立一个章节讲“慈善信托”,图片来源:网络

2016年9月,《慈善法》实施后,尽管现行制度不健全,不少信托公司还是联合公益慈善组织推出了第一批慈善信托产品,形势看似不错,单从慈善信托备案的单数来看,近两年来,慈善信托也表现出可喜的发展速度,2017年12月备案单数甚至达到了历史性的14单,慈善信托的总规模也达到了较高水平。

全国慈善信息公开平台显示,截至今年7月11日,已有88单慈善信托完成备案,信托财产总规模已达9.95亿元。

也有质疑声表示:“有的慈善信托就一万块,只是信托公司为了监管评估加分。”对此,高传捷解释说:“设立1万元的慈善信托是为了监管加分,这是对当事信托公司的误解。先用小额资金设立慈善信托,再通过捐赠的方式或者是委托人追加的方式增加信托财产,这是国际通行做法。此外,一个慈善信托设立后,为避免因有多个委托人而造成委托人权力行使、慈善信托治理等方面的操作难度,少增加委托人,多开放捐赠人,是域外的成熟经验。”

高传捷还强调慈善信托要特别注意加强受托人与专业机构的分工协作。他指出:“慈善信托受托人和慈善项目运行机构都是由专业人才组成,这对提高慈善信托的公益效率有重要意义。慈善信托事业要从一开始就牢固树立‘公益效率’的理念,用好每一分慈善财产,用尽可能少的慈善财产,争取尽可能多、尽可能大的公益慈善效果。慈善信托的发展既要注意发展速度,也要重视发展质量,实现集约化发展。监督部门既应该关注慈善信托的财产侵占、挪用,也应该关注信托财产的低效与浪费,通过信息披露和公益慈善效能评估,监督慈善信托受托人。有评估就会有比较,有比较就推动竞争,才能优胜劣汰。目前,全国已经有80万家公益组织、68家信托公司,大家都关注公益效率,就可以把有限的慈善财产用得更好。”

切实防范慈善信托风险

如同其他信托活动一样,慈善信托也要做好风险防范。高传捷认为,在我国的民事信托、营业信托、公益慈善信托这三种信托活动中,公益慈善信托最复杂,防范风险的工作至关重要。他还具体说,在信托设立、财产管理、信托利益使用的三个部位中,重点是信托财产的使用与分配;在需要管理的各类风险中,摆在首位的是“声誉风险”;基本方法就是信息透明、各方监督。同时,要让造成“声誉风险事件”的直接责任人付出足够的代价!惩前毖后,以儆效尤。

避免声誉风险非常重要,图片来源:网络

高传捷强调:“透明度,是受托人忠实、谨慎义务的体现,是慈善信托的命脉!”他向凤凰网公益提到全球著名的“双遗产”保护信托——英国国民信托的信息披露做法,“国民信托是一个大型、复杂的慈善信托,社会参与度非常广泛。它管理规范、公益效果突出,世界上有50多个国家、地区学习借鉴了它的模式。按照英国‘简单、中等、复杂’的三个信息披露等级,它属于复杂类型,信息披露的文件是一个大厚本子,内容非常详细,把所有的信托财产情况、所投资的资产包全都打开,告诉人们每个投资品、衍生品的资产组合、资产包及其基础资产的情况,告诉人们一年的信托收益、使用情况。这就是透明度建设!”

英国慈善委员会指引

《英国慈善委员会指引》是汇聚了英国公益慈善100多年管理经验的参考资料,研究慈善信托不能不读。高传捷说:“我国慈善信托处于起步期,各类制度不完善,运行经验和监管经验不多,静下心来阅读这本书,对学习借鉴他人的成功经验大有裨益。”

高传捷说:“社会公共利益、弘扬高尚道德情操,是慈善信托的根本原则;通过尊重委托人从事慈善活动的自由选择,实现慈善资源的优化配置与社会进步的均衡发展,是慈善信托发展的基本规律。”

回顾慈善信托的历史,1400—1600年,慈善信托起家是因为当时的英国有巨大的慈善需求。1601年《慈善用益有效实施法》是慈善信托的起点,在经历了无数坎坷后,在418年的发展历史上,它一直是英国慈善事业的主体制度、核心制度,在世界范围内形成基础性的影响。“引入信托制度,对促进中国公益慈善事业的健康发展,有非常重要的意义。”高传捷说。

图片来源:网络

从国内公益信托的发展历程来看,从2001年《信托法》的公益信托到2016年《慈善法》的慈善信托,公益慈善信托有了明确的进步。《慈善法》不仅确定慈善信托由民政部门主管以外,还基本解决了慈善信托运行的法律要件。目前,已有一批信托公司和慈善组织勇于做“先吃螃蟹的人”,积极开展了慈善信托。

在中国,业界认同的国内第一个公益信托产品,是2008年5.12汶川地震后西安信托建立的“西安信托5.12抗震救灾公益信托计划”。2008年,银监会针对汶川地震灾后重建的公益信托发布了《关于鼓励信托公司开展公益信托业务支持灾后重建工作的通知》,对公益信托设立方式、信托单位金额、委托人资格与数量等做出突破性规定。但这一《通知》只适用于灾后重建,制度层级低,不可能解决税收优惠等关键性激励措施。

慈善信托,从1601年有第一部制定法至今,它在解决社会贫困、推进福利体系完善、促进社会进步等方面发挥了重要的作用,它强调社会公共利益和人类美好道德情操的制度理念使它具有不竭的生命力。

高传捷从内心里发出这样的感慨:“人们在生活中可以发现,每一个优秀的慈善信托后面都有一个感人的故事,都有一份慈善信托主人对高尚道德情操的追求。我们应该发扬这一传统,在慈善信托蓬勃发展的教育、扶贫等各个领域,输送慈善财富时关注与弘扬精神文明并重;扶贫要多扶志,助困不该只给钱。”授人以鱼不如授人以渔,德财兼备,更该以德为先。

慈善信托多如繁星般撒播,图片来源:网络

“让大大小小的慈善信托多如繁星般地撒播到我国的广大城乡,把千万人们对慈善、对美好情怀的感动化为现实,帮助他们把美好的心意、慈善的足迹留在世间。”这是高传捷等一代公益慈善信托人内心的美好愿景,他们期盼看到的璀璨星空,还要历经很多个“黎明”才能到来。(采写:马明月,感谢中国慈善联合会对本文的支持。)

人物简介:

高传捷

高传捷,曾就职于国务院办公厅,中国人民银行,中国银监会,中国建银投资公司,中投信托公司,中国光大实业(集团)公司等。现为特华博士后科研工作站、中国人民大学、西南政法大学的指导教师,中国公益研究院特聘研究员、中慈联慈善信托委员会荣誉顾问。长期研究我国信托产业科学发展问题,曾经参与我国《信托法》、《慈善法》立法工作,主持我国信托公司经营、监管制度的制定与实施的有关工作。

(凤凰网公益独家原创,转载请注明出处和作者,谢谢合作)

Translated by Emile Dirks, Peta Heinrich, Alice Mingay and Shuhan Zhang

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