Sunday, October 14, 2012

Italian Court Invalidates Attempt To Tax Church-Owned Property

In Italy last Monday, the Council of State invalidated a decree issued last February that would have subjected to taxation much of the now tax exempt property held by the Catholic Church.  The decree was an attempt to conform Italian law to European Union requirements. EU antitrust officials are investigating whether current exemptions amount to illegal government subsides of commercial activities.(See prior related posting.)  According to The Right Perspective, the Council on Monday held that the decree is "too heterogeneous" and goes “beyond the competences" of a tax law. The Church owns 20% of the property in Italy.  Purely commercial property it owns is already subject to tax. The new law would have expanded taxation to include property that generates profits, but which is now tax free because some percentage of the activities on it are religious, such as a shopping center that includes a chapel. According to ANSA, Italy's Economy Minister says that despite the court decision, the government is still determined to extend the property tax to Church property.