Wednesday, September 03, 2014

In Germany, New Tax Rules Lead To Departures From Churches

Reuters reported last week that a change in Germany's tax law has prompted a large jump in the number of Germans leaving both Catholic and Protestant churches. Under Germany's tax law, church members are assessed another 8% or 9% which goes to pay the salaries of clergy, charitable services and other expenses of the church. While the church tax applies to all income, apparently many Germans have paid it only on their salaries and not on their investment income.  Under tax changes that become effective next year, banks will automatically withhold church taxes from accounts in which individuals earn more than 801 Euros in capital gains. Many are leaving their church rather than pay the increased amounts.  Leaving a church means that an individual is no longer entitled to receive sacraments or marry in the church, or receive a religious burial. [Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]