The (widely-respected) Pew Research Center has produced a long and detailed report on the rules for the church tax or fee in those European countries that operate it. “Church taxes” are levied in many European countries; and while in some of them only church members are required to pay a percentage of income to the church to which they belong, in others all taxpayers pay a church tax but have the option of paying it to the state instead of to a religious organisation. The report’s conclusion is in the title: In Western European Countries With Church Taxes, Support for the Tradition Remains Strong.
Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Sweden and some of the Swiss cantons have more-or-less compulsory systems of church tax, the precise details of which vary from country to country. Spain and Portugal have voluntary systems. The report provides both a helpful source of reference for the laws in the various countries that operate any kind of church tax and an interesting analysis of the differences between the various regimes. Continue reading