FOR AN INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN ON CHURCHES AND TAX: SOME PROPOSALS
by Max WALLACE
Australia New Zealand Secular Association (ANZSA)
I read in one of your documents recently that LP is thinking about getting to the bottom of the church’s tax privileges in France. I suggest this is imperative. Research into the tax privileges of the church in France could stand as an example to other Europeans. While nations’ budgets are groaning under debt and the EU is struggling, it seems the church continues to be excused from any serious impost on their income and wealth. A publication along the lines of Livre Noir would be very useful.
Obvious questions are:
- does the church pay income tax?
- does the church pay income tax on its commercial revenes?
- does the church pay property tax on its religious buildings?
- does the church pay tax on its buildings unrelated to religious purposes?
- does the church pay government taxes when it sells or buys property?
- Do individual priests have to submit annual tax returns declaring their income? If not, why not?
- Is accommodation, the use of cars, and travel expenses counted as part of untaxed benefits priests and other religious receive? If yes, why?
- Is religion defined legally as a form of charity in France, as in the British system, and therefore eligible for tax-free benefits?