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Italian politicians eye church properties for tax revenues

Catholic World News - January 19, 2012

Italian politicians are pressing for the Catholic Church to begin paying property on some real-estate properties.

The Church already pays taxes on purely commercial investment properties, but many buildings, where commercial work is conducted along with religious activities, remain exempt. “We need to change the law and establish a sensible principle: all commercial activities, no matter who runs them, have to pay taxes,” said Mario Staderini, secretary of the Radical Party.

With the government facing a severe budget crunch, and all Italians threatened with sharp increases in property taxes, “the pressure has never been so high” to extract new taxes from the Catholic Church, notes Francesco Perfetti, professor of contemporary history at the Luiss University in Rome.

Advocates of taxing the Church claim that the government could gain at least €100 million ($130 million) in new revenue from taxes on commercial properties.

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