Catholic World News

Italian Church receives $1.3 billion from 'church tax'

July 18, 2016

The Catholic Church in Italy received $1.3 billion from income-tax returns, under a system that send 0.8% of tax payments to religious or charitable institutions.

Italian taxpayers are given the opportunity to designate the religious or charitable institution to which their portion of income taxes should be directed. However, most taxpayers do not make a selection. The law stipulates that 0.8% of the taxes collected from those who do not make a choice should be divided up proportionately among the institutions chosen by those who do make a selection. Because of that system of distribution, most of the income-tax receipts directed to the Catholic Church in Italy come from taxpayers who did not choose to make a contribution.

The "church tax" system, in which the government sends tax revenues to religious bodies, is common in Italy. The Catholic Church in Germany reaps the greatest rewards from the system, netting over $6 billion last year. 

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