Italian footballer owes German church tax money


Don’t you just love the Catholic church in Germany?

The curious case of an Italian footballer who owes the German Catholic Church €1.7m in unpaid church taxes has hit a snag as a second appeal hearing produced no conclusive result.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

102 thoughts on “Italian footballer owes German church tax money

  1. Church taxes are one of the very few things the U.S. has been progressive on regarding religion. It’s one thing if people who believe in it give money, but to have the government collect for it is another matter entirely.

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  2. john zande says:

    What?

    The church collects tax? It collects an income??

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      • john zande says:

        Good grief! And the state doesn’t tax this income?

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        • No. I’m surprised you didn’t know about this. It’s nuts. So nuts, in fact, that I’m stunned America doesn’t do the same thing. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

          Liked by 1 person

          • makagutu says:

            If they make your country a theocracy, I think it would only be a matter of time

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          • john zande says:

            Actually, I on FB i saw that a baptist church was billing a parishioner for church attendance. Someone had taken a photo of the letter/bill. So, it is happening.

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          • makagutu says:

            He caused wear and tear on the benches

            Liked by 1 person

          • Awesome. Wouldn’t want Jesus to go homeless. He needs the cash, the poor bastard.

            Liked by 1 person

          • makagutu says:

            Or shoeless

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          • Peter says:

            I recall the story of a lady who was attending a church and there was yet another sermon on giving. The pastor said it costs us $20 a week for each of you people in the congregation (bear in mind this was around 15 years ago). The Lady’s response was to stop attending church, she told her daughter (who passed the story onto me) that she was thereby saving the church money.

            Perhaps the pastor should have chosen his words more carefully.

            Coming back to Germany it is ironic how much of a church legacy survives, despite so few people actually attending church. Even the governing party is called the ‘Christian’ Democrats.

            Most of the German public holidays are Christian religious days.

            It was the German scholars who did more than any other group to destroy the mystique of the Bible with their leadership of Biblical Criticism.

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          • makagutu says:

            That is the strange thing about human beings. They destroy all the foundations for a belief but somehow the belief survives.
            How many people say the sun rose?

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        • makagutu says:

          The state is helping the church collect its dues

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        • fojap says:

          You got me curious, so now I’m busy reading about the history of the constitution of Brazil on Wikipedia. It’s quite interesting.

          Liked by 1 person

        • fojap says:

          Almost all organizations need to collect some form of money to function. I was the treasurer for my 4-H club as a kid. (4-H is an organization for children run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and, in my opinion, can be much better than Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. It’s co-ed, there’s no uniforms, it’s much more flexible and most of the projects are about science, ecology or community service.) A club like that isn’t taxed because it isn’t a profit making enterprise. I’m not really sure how the government defines it and I’m sure every government defines it differently. Every week we each contributed our dues and then we’d put it towards a group project. Even though it was all volunteer, we still needed money for materials and so on.

          So churches collect money. The odd thing in this story is the government’s involvement in the collection. That seems to only happen in a limited number of European countries. I’m guessing that’s due to the historical entanglements that European governments would have had with the Churches in their countries which would have preceded the Enlightenment and modern concepts of secularism. So, it would probably seem really foreign to you and me. Still, churches collect money all over, mostly voluntarily.

          The question is the taxes and churches are exempt from taxes in a lot of countries. Again, it’s going to be defined differently by different countries. In fact, that question nearly destroyed Scientology. The IRS didn’t consider them a religion and they owed a huge amount of back taxes.

          It’s hard for me to find out about tax exemptions for religious institutions outside of the U.S. since my search results keep coming up with information in the U.S. (It’s actually an ironic change. As search algorithms have “improved” I get fewer and fewer results that are from outside the U.S., but that’s a tirade for another day.) However, adding the names of specific countries to my search it seems that, for instance, Australia doesn’t tax the income of the churches, but contributions to the churches by individuals aren’t tax deductions as they are here.

          Scanning Wikipedia, (I’m going quickly so I might be making mistakes) in France: “Religious organizations are not required to register, but may if they wish to apply for tax-exempt status or to gain official recognition. The 1901 and 1905 laws define two categories under which religious groups may register: “associations cultuelles” (associations of worship, which are exempt from certain taxes) and “associations culturelles” (cultural associations, which are not exempt from these taxes).”

          I’m guessing that income tax exemption for churches, synagogues, mosques and temples in widespread. It exists in Canada as well.

          Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Yes. I learnt about this German oddity sometime last year

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cara says:

    I’d like to point out that the Roman Catholic Church, like all other religious institutions, pays taxes to NO GOVERNMENT. That means the Church keeps every penny, pound, euro, that gets put into the collection plate on Sunday. The Catholic Church owns property in every country on every continent on this earth, on which it pays NO PROPERTY TAXES. Basically, the Catholic Church has more money than the God they pray to, and they pay tax on none of it. And they’re breaking a man’s chops because he hasn’t paid them taxes on money he earned???? Um, pot, kettle.

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  4. shelldigger says:

    That is bizzare. I only have one thing to say to the C church. Fuck you!

    Taxing people who happen to identify as Catholic? The nerve.

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  5. Although not a footballer, I am a 1st generation Italian-American. Here’s my message to the German church:

    Vaffanculo!

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  6. nannus says:

    The bizarre thing here is that the German state operates as the money collection organization for the big churches and a few small ones. Church and state are more or less separate in most respects and the churches don’t have much influence again, but there is still some mixing. You can go to a church and declare yourself a member, but if you want to get out, you have to go to a state authority.

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    • makagutu says:

      I was hoping you would a voice to this given you reside in Germany. So what happens to those who were baptised and then became atheist later in life?

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      • nannus says:

        You have to go to the civil registry office (the same people where you register births and where you marry – nota bene: an authority of the state!) and declare your secession from the church. The civil registry office will then inform the other authorities involved (registry office, tax collection office). It is a bizarre system.

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        • makagutu says:

          Does it take long or there is some German efficiency? And does one have to pay

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          • nannus says:

            When I was 18, I decided to get out of the (Lutheranian) church. So I went to the churche’s secretary. To my surprise, she told me I would have to go to the civil registry. I went there (I think I had to wait for 15 minutes or so in that place), told them what I wanted, signed a paper, and that was it. It was easy, but what I found funny is that I had to opt out although I had not joined the church since I had come of age. I think it should be the other way around, that once you come of age, you can declare membership, but I obviously became a member just by being baptized, and if I had been working at the time, I would have had to pay church tax. So that football player, when he signed his contract in Germany, would have had to go to the civil registry office and declared himself to be no longer a church member. He was probably asked about his religion but nobody maybe had told him about the consequences. Church tax is calculated according to your income.
            The churches still collect money on top during mass.

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          • makagutu says:

            Thanks nannus for sharing this.
            Have a superb day

            Liked by 1 person

  7. basenjibrian says:

    My problem is with the State as enforcer. Those who claim to be catholic but who don’t want to pay…well, then you shouldn’t be catholic.

    But the whole state enforcement thing….that’s crazy.

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  8. My falling out with religion was over the greed and corruption that persists in Christian churches and well any churches mosques etc- all about money and power. I think faith and spirituality should remain separate from the world- I’m a spiritual person and I don’t expect someone to give me tax exemptions because of it lol- it’s personal- let’s keep it that way and tax them like any other business- because it is a business- people make careers out of it and profit- what makes them special they are tax exempt anyway 😏
    When they start doing gay marriages I *may* accept that status- but their predjudice to color, creed, sex etc is against the law and therefore should wipe away their “get out of IRS tax evasion prison” 😉😄

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  9. Ron says:

    If I were him, I’d make the cheque payable to “Our Father, Who art in Heaven”.

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