Italy starts taxing Catholic Church — when will the US?

Italy’s Catholic Church will be forced to pay taxes starting in 2013 after the EU pressured the country’s government to pass a controversial law stripping the Church of its historic property tax exemption.

The Catholic Church in Italy is excluded from paying taxes on its land if at least a part of a Church property is used non-commercially – for instance, a chapel in a bed-and-breakfast. “The regulatory framework will be definite by January 1, 2013 – the start of the fiscal year – and will fully respect the [European] Community law,” Italian premier Mario Monti’s government said in a statement…

The move could net Italy revenues of 500 million to 2 billion euros annually across the country, municipal government associations said. The extra income from previously exempt properties in Rome alone – including hotels, restaurants and sports centres – could reach 25.5 million euros a year…

The measure came after the country’s leadership decided in February to alter Italy’s property tax code, ending the Church’s longstanding privileges due to the severe debt crisis.

Last December, after new austerity measures were adopted in the country, 130,000 Italians signed an online petition urging the government to strip the Church of its tax exemption.

“It was time that they paid, too, with all the exemptions they’ve had throughout the years,” Marco Catalano, a 35-year-old shopkeeper in Rome, told the New York Times in February, adding that he goes to church twice a month. “They own the most beautiful buildings in downtown Rome, on Italian soil, and rent them out at market prices…

Overdue. Not only in Italy. Not only regarding the Catholic Church.

Living in a nation with a constitution requiring separation of church and state, it is truly absurd that we still don’t collect property taxes, business taxes on the money-making, profit-generating properties owned by religious institutions.

10 thoughts on “Italy starts taxing Catholic Church — when will the US?

  1. Cures Riches says:

    The Italian government needs the money to pay for Silvio Berlusconi legal bills… As much as WW3 would get great TV ratings and stimulate the economy for jobs jobs jobs :(…. Some of us hope that a concerted effort to keep Berlusconi out of government would be more sensible some how or other… No joke, he really is Mussolini on television steroids and some of us are worried he will offer Obama a sweet deal 3rd term as president for his participation in global military conflict.

  2. Confíteor says:

    New Mexico: a 2016 lawsuit that alleges the Archdiocese of Santa Fe had transferred “virtually all” its parishes and real property into a trust since 2012 to shield the assets from possible creditors, including survivors of clerical sexual abuse. See also “Bankruptcy filing provides rare window into diocese finances” and “Victims of clergy sexual abuse will have until June 17 to submit a proof of claim as part of the ongoing bankruptcy case filed by New Mexico’s largest Catholic diocese.”

  3. Faith offerings says:

    Joel Osteen church cash discovery renews calls to tax churches
    “…Police said that evidence from the recovered checks suggests that the envelopes are connected to the March 9, 2014, theft of undisclosed amounts of money from the church.
    CNN reported at the time that about $600,000 — $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks — was taken from a church safe. The money came from contributions given on March 8 and 9 of 2014. [Two days!]
    Burglary and theft officers inventoried and documented the recovered money and left it in the custody of the church, because it was property found on its premises, the statement said.
    Police said the investigation is ongoing.”

  4. Yee-haw says:

    Some Texas religious leaders live in lavish, tax-free estates thanks to obscure law
    “Unfair Burden: Tax Sanctuaries” first of a four-part series on property taxes and religious organizations across Texas, a follow-up to the Huston Chronicle’s yearlong investigation. Previous installments of the series at

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