German canon lawyer challenges 'church tax'
May 06, 2010
A retired canon-law professor in Germany is testing that country's "church tax," asking the Vatican to rule that the system of taxation is not in keeping with Church law. Harmut Zapp says that the tax-- which is deducted from earnings for all Germans who are registered members of a religious congregation-- improperly involves the government in collecting alms from parishioners. Zapp says that he is a practicing Catholic, but objects to the involuntary form of the tax. As the system is now structured, Catholics can avoid the tax only by signing a form that indicates they no longer belong to the Church.