Are Churches Getting Too Much of a Tax Break?

Prague, Nov 16 (CTK) – Taxation of the financial compensation for Czech churches within their property restitution should be seriously discussed and it should be found out whether it is possible or not, President Milos Zeman said in a regular interview broadcast by the TV Barrandov commercial channel tonight.


ANO leader Andrej Babis recently said he would impose a tax on the financial compensation that the state is paying to the churches for the property that the state did not return to them. The Communist Party (KSCM) named the taxation among the conditions under which they would support ANO’s minority government. The Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement supports the idea, too.


Senate chairman Milan Stech (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the taxation is impossible due to the related agreements made between the state and churches.


The CSSD wanted the financial compensation to be subject to taxation in the previous election period, but the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), their government partner, resolutely rejected it.


Right-wing TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek opposed the step, claiming that imposing a tax on the compensation for stolen property would be another theft and injustice.


According to the restitution law from 2012, churches will be returned land and real estate worth 75 billion crowns, confiscated from them by the communist regime, and given 59 billion crowns plus inflation in financial compensation for unreturned property during the following 30 years. Simultaneously, the state will gradually cease financing churches.


The financial compensation began to be paid to churches in 2013. The tax would not be imposed on the compensation already paid.


($1=21.684 crowns)