Zuckerberg: No, My New Venture Isn't a Tax Dodge

He responds to criticism over $45B philanthropic initiative
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2015 2:21 AM CST

(Newser) – Mark Zuckerberg announced the birth of his baby daughter and a $45 billion giveaway on the same day this week, and he's had to do a little more explaining about the latter. In a Facebook post on Thursday, Zuckerberg explains that Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC, the entity he's donating 99% of his Facebook shares to, is being set up as a limited liability company instead of a traditional foundation so it can engage in actions like "funding non-profit organizations, making private investments, and participating in policy debates," reports TechCrunch, which notes that some critics accused Zuckerberg of having ulterior motives or said the move could be "a big waste."

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The initiative will focus on "personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities," building on previous investments in "education, science, health, Internet access, and inclusion," Zuckerberg explained. He also addressed concerns that the donation—equivalent to the GDP of Serbia, or around $38 for every Facebook user—could be some kind of tax dodge, explaining that "we receive no tax benefit from transferring our shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, but we gain flexibility to execute our mission more effectively" and that if he wanted to avoid tax, it would have been far more effective to set up a traditional charity, the Verge reports. (A ProPublica piece calls the initiative a "tax vehicle.")

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