Commentary Religion

Czech opposition against taxation of church compensation

The Czech center-right opposition parties have filed a proposal with the Constitutional Court for the abolition of taxation of the compensation churches receive from the state for their unreturned property.

The proposal was signed by 62 deputies from ODS, Pirates, KDU-ČSL, TOP 09 and STAN. The Constitutional Court had already received a proposal to abolish the taxation of the financial compensation in May, which was signed by more than 40 senators from KDU-ČSL, ODS and other parties. However, according to Marek Benda (ODS), the deputies' proposal accentuates the injustice that taxation causes to smaller churches.

TOP 09 Chairman, Miroslav Kalousek pointed out that the taxation does not only apply to Christian churches. He says “those who were robbed in the past are now being robbed again”. For example, the taxation applies to the Federation of Jewish Religious Communities as well, where, according to Kalousek, the state does not steal from those who were previously robbed, but “from those who were being murdered, which is a crime that the Constitutional Court must judge”.

According to MP Mikuláš Ferjenčík (Pirates), the government has made a tremendous interference in legal certainty in the Czech Republic without even attempting to quantify in any way how church restitution could have been disproportionate in the past.

The taxation of the financial compensation was pushed through by the government coalition of ANO and ČSSD, supported by KSČM and SPD, outvoting the Senate veto. President Miloš Zeman signed the law on May 2nd. Starting next year, the churches are to pay tax on the financial compensation they receive from the state for property not released in restitution.

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