Church tax (Germany)

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The church tax in Germany is a tax that religious communities levy from their members to finance the community's expenses. In the Federal Republic of Germany , the church tax is collected by the tax offices of the respective countries , which retain an expense allowance. According to Art. 140 of the Basic Law (GG) in conjunction with Art. 137 of the Weimar Constitution , those religious and ideological communities that are a corporation under public law are entitled to levy taxes. Within the German state church law , the church tax is part of the bundle of privileges consisting of rights and other advantages granted to religious societies under public law . The church tax belongs to the res mixtae , ie subject areas which, as common affairs, are both a state affair and an affair of religious and ideological communities.

In Germany, church tax in addition to the wearing state benefits and subsidies for church financing with. In 2015, the Roman Catholic Church in Germany received around 6.09 billion euros in church tax and the Evangelical Church in Germany received 5.36 billion euros. The tax revenues of the churches have increased in the last few years despite falling membership numbers. The additional government benefits and various special-purpose payments totaled 460 million euros in 2012. In a representative survey published in 2015 by the opinion research institute YouGov , 84 percent of the German citizens surveyed stated that they rejected the German church tax model.

The assessment bases for church taxes are income tax or wage tax ( church income tax , church wage tax ), which is to be determined in accordance with Section 51a EStG. It is also legally possible to levy church tax as a surcharge on wealth tax and solidarity surcharge , but the churches in Germany have so far waived these two options. The church money in a marriage of different faiths , also a church tax, is linked to the “lifestyle expenses” of a marriage. In some federal states, a minimum church tax is levied. The amount of the church tax is set by the church authorities. The church stipulations become legally binding through the approval of the respective state parliaments to their church tax laws .

The church tax of its members makes up the largest part of the income of the churches, for example it amounted to about 79 percent of the Cologne archbishopric in 2011, which corresponds to 706 million euros. State tax collection for religious and ideological communities is a German specialty. It is legitimized by the Basic Law (Article 140) and regulated in more detail in the Income Tax Act , a federal law.

In the following, only the church tax is mentioned, which is linked to the wage and income tax ( annex tax ).


19th century

A church tax as understood today has only been able to begin to speak of since the beginning of the 19th century. Through the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803, the secular princes of the empire were assured of compensation for the cession of their areas on the left bank of the Rhine (to France), which was sealed in peace with France ( Lunéville 1801 ). In the course of this compensation, almost all the spiritual areas immediately on the right bank of the Rhine were divided among the territorial lords to be compensated (with the exception of the diocese of Regensburg). Furthermore, they were allowed to confiscate the goods of the established monasteries, abbeys and monasteries in their countries. Everyone except the Habsburgs made use of it.

The entire property in the hands of the churches, ecclesiastical and religious institutions, which concerned the public function of the church, was claimed by the public authorities. The assets available for pastoral care, Caritas and possibly for teaching were not only excluded from secularization, but also expressly protected from any misuse.

After 1803 there was only the "peculiar church property" used for pastoral care. It was located almost exclusively with the individual municipalities and comprised three types of wealth holders:

  • First of all, the benefice, which is understood to be the estate, from whose income the provision of the respective job holder is denied;
  • then the church foundation , the income from which both the maintenance costs for the buildings used for pastoral care and all expenses for the worship service are to be met;
  • finally foundations for the poor, the sick and for schools, insofar as foundations with such objectives existed in individual communities.

In many specific cases, the secularizing state continued to take care of the maintenance of the church and parish. The state authorities began to cover the church's needs financially after 1803. For some time they also got by with the available financial resources. But the financial tasks of the church grew: the main reasons for this were the increase in population , the beginning of industrialization and the emergence of large cities. In addition, internal migration began slowly . In the most important industrial conurbations, the previous denominational unity was broken through immigration. It originated diaspora communities . The political communities could no longer be stopped to finance these tasks. Because at the same time, the political and ecclesiastical community separated (see separation of church and state ). There were further impairments of the churches: In the wake of the revolutionary movements of 1848 , many tangible and personal services, i.e. tithe and other taxes in money and in kind, as well as personal hand services, ceased to exist . The ecclesiastical property holders received no direct compensation for this reduction in income from property.

Instead, in view of this and other revenue reductions, the churches were forced to tax a tax in order to relieve the state. Specifically, the Frankfurt Reich Constitution (FRV) left church tax legislation to the individual states, but at the same time imposed certain restrictions on fundamental rights. These resulted in particular from the right of non-disclosure under Section 144 (2) FRV and from the parity requirement under Section 147 (2) clause 1 FRV.

The introduction of the church tax began in Lippe-Detmold in 1827 , after it had failed in Prussia in 1808. Oldenburg followed in 1831 , the Prussian provinces of Rhineland and Westphalia in 1835 through the Rhenish-Westphalian church order, 1838 Kingdom of Saxony , 1875 Grand Duchy of Hesse , 1888 Baden , 1892 Kingdom of Bavaria . In Prussia , in the course of the Kulturkampf under the Bread Basket Act, against the express will of the Catholic Church, on June 20, 1875, the law on asset management in the Catholic parishes was passed. Section 21 (7) stipulated that the church council, with the consent of the parish council, could procure the “funds or services required for the church's needs” from church members. This departure from the previously valid financing from the tax funds also paid by people of different faiths is sometimes seen as the first mention of a church tax in Prussian law. However, Prussia only introduced the actual church tax in today's sense with the law on the collection of church taxes in the Catholic parishes and general associations of July 14, 1905, as well as for the Protestant parishes with similar laws in 1905 and 1906.

State sovereignty was not initially given to all church parishes and should not be a permanent right. The church tax was therefore set up on the initiative of the state and was originally intended only as an additional source of help for special tasks of an individual community.

The state closely watched over this sovereignty which it conferred . In principle, taxes were only allowed to be levied for the needs of their own community. If these requirements were high, a correspondingly high rate could be applied for from the state authority. So it came about that in one municipality no church tax was levied at all, in another, however, a tax with a rate of assessment of 4 percent and in a third one with a rate of assessment of 22 percent, for example. Richer congregations were not allowed to help their poorer sister congregations to compensate. However, the state legislature provided for the amalgamation of several communities to form a church tax association. After 1895 all Protestant parishes in Berlin joined together to form a local church tax association. In this way, the individual municipality gave the sovereignty granted to it by the state to the local association. However, by no means all cities accepted such amalgamations, many feared for their financial autonomy. The state church tax legislation was therefore a law almost completely tailored to the individual local congregation.

With the aim of self-financing by the churches and, accordingly, a stronger unbundling of state and church, state-wide church taxes were introduced, for example in Württemberg in 1887, in Prussia in 1905/06 (see above) and in 1912 in the Kingdom of Bavaria.

Payment certificate from 1923 from the Herrenhausen parish at the time of German hyperinflation

Weimar Republic

In 1919 the church tax was enshrined in the Weimar constitution . In Article 137, Paragraph 6 it says: "The religious societies, which are corporations under public law, are entitled to levy taxes on the basis of the civil tax lists in accordance with the provisions of state law." In fact, in the following years the Reich Tax Code of 1919 and State collection of church taxes was introduced through state laws.

Time of the National Socialist rule

The Reich Concordat of 1933 between the German Reich and the Holy See , like the Baden Concordat , the Bavarian Concordat (1924) and the Prussian Concordat concluded during the Weimar Republic, guaranteed the Catholic Church the right to levy church taxes (final protocol to Article 13 ). While Nazi ideologues wanted to push back the influence of the churches (see Kirchenkampf ), the church tax initially remained untouched. In 1934, the National Socialists introduced church tax collection by employers as a “state” task on January 1, 1935, by levying church tax uniformly on the wage tax that had been collected by the employer since 1920 on behalf of the state. The income tax card has been expanded to include the entry "Denomination". It was not until December 1, 1941, that the Reich government decided by law to refuse state assistance in collecting church tax, but left the entry on the income tax card. In 1943, for example, this led to the church tax being collected again through its own church tax offices in Bavaria . Before 1945 the tax was around two to three marks per person per year. The amounts were collected from the churches themselves.


In 1956, the GDR stopped collecting church taxes. This happened at a time when Christians and churches were confronting the GDR state apparatus.

Federal Republic of Germany

The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany adopted the Weimar regulation in 1949 through Article 140 . After the churches had previously collected their contributions themselves, these have been collected by the state for the churches since the end of the currency reform . Each federal state has its own international treaty with the recognized religious communities.

The discussion about the legitimacy of church taxes in the secular German republic was considered a political taboo until the 1990s. Nevertheless, since 1969 at the latest in Germany there has been repeated public discussion about the legitimacy and scope of the church tax. In addition to the question of standardizing the different levels of between eight and ten percent in the individual countries, there have been several fundamental legal disputes since the mid-1960s. In 1965, after an eleven-year legal dispute on the principle of half-division , the Federal Constitutional Court declared the previously valid practice to be unconstitutional. According to this, a non-denominational husband had to pay church tax for his wife, who belonged to the church but did not earn money. On the basis of the principle of half- division , the churches had until then set housewife activities to be half as high as the husband's income and thus used half of his income to assess church tax. At the same time, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that only an individual, but not a legal person such as a stock corporation, can be a member of a church. As a result of this decision, the so-called church building tax, which had been levied on companies in Baden until then, could no longer be collected. From 1967 to 1991 the tax revenues of the big churches quintupled from 3 billion to 15.2 billion marks.

Since the 1970s, there have been repeated discussions between the state and the churches about the level and scope of the church tax. In 1974 the FDP passed the resolution “Free Church in a Free State” at its federal party conference. One of the demands reads: "The state services to the churches based on law, treaty or special legal titles are to be replaced." The decision had no consequences.

In 1985 there was a dispute between the churches and the finance ministers of the federal states about the "administrative cost reimbursement" of the federal states incurred when collecting taxes. At this point in time, this amounted to 3% to 4.5% of the withheld church tax. The controversial volume this year was around 330 million marks. With reunification, church tax law became valid again on the former territory of the GDR, which led to irritations for many East Germans.

In the 1990s, criticism of the church tax grew. The Catholic and Federal Minister of Labor Norbert Blüm put the church tax up for grabs in 1994 after he was annoyed that the Catholic bishops had opposed his model of sacrificing a church holiday as part of a reform. In this context, Blüm stated: "The church tax system is not as certain as some bishops believe". In 2001 the two large churches received around 17 billion marks annually from their members through church taxes, around 8 billion marks from the Evangelicals and around 9 billion marks from the Catholics.

Eckhard Nagel , President of the 30th German Evangelical Church Congress in 2005 , initiated another debate in 2005 on the abolition of church tax. He demanded that the large religious communities would have to get by without state aid in the long term. After other church representatives reacted with horror to this statement, he relativized his statement and stated that an addition to the church tax was necessary, such as new foundation models or church fees, which are already available in some federal states. A representative of the Catholic Church People's Movement We are Church considered Nagel's initiative to be “worth considering”. “It is good that Mr Nagel broke this taboo,” he had actually only openly stated that, in view of tax reforms, the church tax is not necessarily secured in the long term.

In 2012, the Federal Administrative Court ruled that a pure exit from church tax, but not from the Catholic Church as a religious community, is not possible in Germany. The judgment is considered a decision of principle. At that time, more than 100,000 people in Germany left the Catholic Church every year. The corresponding problem in the area of ​​tension between church and tax law was the subject of media coverage as early as 1974. In the meantime, the General Decree of the German Bishops' Conference of March 15, 2011 (in force since September 2012) stipulates that Catholics who leave the Church are excluded from the sacraments of the Church and are not allowed to hold church offices.

About the current situation

Legal basis for the collection of church taxes

The legal requirements for collecting taxes for religious and ideological communities include:

  1. the recognition of a religious and ideological community / organization as a corporation under public law
  2. Tax decisions of the competent governing bodies (for example, in the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland , the presbyteries , in the Protestant State Church of the Palatinate , the Synod ) in the Catholic Church, the church tax councils of the respective (arch) dioceses, board a philosophical community
  3. the approval of the respective parliaments of the federal states to the tax laws of the respective communities or organizations
  4. the membership of the natural person to be taxed. In Christian churches, this basically begins with baptism. With the declaration of exit from the church , depending on the federal state before the local court or the registry office, membership and consequently tax liability expire.

Church taxes are fundamentally subject to the church administration. However, they have the option of transferring the administration of church taxes to the state tax authorities, which has so far been done regularly. For the administration of the church tax by the state tax authorities, the religious communities pay an administrative cost allowance to the respective federal states.

With the Corporate Tax Reform Act 2008 of August 14, 2007, the 2008 Annual Tax Act of December 20, 2008 and the Contribution RLUmsG of December 7, 2011, the procedures for withholding church tax on wages tax and withholding tax have been further developed so that the Federal Central Tax Office, as a federal authority, is involved in the administration of the church tax (cf. item 10.1).

Church tax laws of the states

The individual federal states have their own - mostly largely identical - church tax laws and church tax ordinances, which regulate church tax liability, church tax rates and administrative issues.

Tax rates

The church tax rate is currently (2019) in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg 8%, in the other federal states 9% of the income tax. The assessment basis for church tax is the assessed income tax levied in the deduction process. The possibility offered by the church tax laws of the federal states to calculate the church tax directly from the taxable income is not used. If children are to be taken into account or if the taxable income (zvE) includes income from business operations or income that is taxed according to the so-called partial income method, the zvE and the income tax applicable to it are in accordance with Section 51a (2) EStG to be calculated separately for church tax purposes.

Church tax is also included in the capital gains tax at 8% or 9%. When calculating the church tax for capital gains tax, it is already taken into account that the church tax reduces the assessment base for income tax analogously to a special expenditure deduction , cf. Capital gains tax and church tax .

The church tax legislation of most states (exception: Bavaria) and the corresponding regulations of most Protestant regional churches and the Roman Catholic (arch) dioceses allow church members to “cap” the church tax. In the case of high incomes that are above the so-called cap threshold, this leads to the church tax being limited to 2.75 to 3.5 percent of taxable income. In the majority of countries, the cap is ex officio: The tax office takes into account the most favorable regulation for the church taxpayer. In Berlin, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, the cap is only granted on application.

In some regions, church tax is levied on property (for example 10% of the base tax base ).

Church money

In addition, there are local general church fees for people who do not pay domestic taxes, and special church fees for joint assessment with a spouse who is not subject to church tax . The church money was first introduced in Germany between 1928 and 1935. Its final introduction at the end of the 1960s, after the judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court on the principle of half-division in 1965, met with concerns from the data protection officer and the taxpayer association.

In Bavaria , the local tax associations - these are the parishes as corporations under public law - collect church money as a special form of church tax. The legal basis for the general church fee is § 20 BayKiStG. A corresponding regulation was issued for the Bavarian dioceses, which regulates the collection of church fees in Art. 20 ff. It is probably a statutory church tax obligation, but due to the low amount of the church money, the church administrations do not collect the church fees, but rather ask the church members to fulfill their (legal) duty.

The Catholic diocese administration of the Diocese of Hildesheim in Lower Saxony also levies a local church fee for parishioners from the age of 21 according to the law on the revision of the church tax ordinance in the area of ​​Lower Saxony . Be informed community members through a corresponding annual Kirchgeld decision, here are unemployment benefits (Hartz 4) - and welfare recipients , students , pupils , apprentices , soldiers and civilian service exempt from paying. Corresponding church money payments are fully tax deductible as a special expense.

Those who are liable for church tax and church fees rate themselves based on their income and transfer between 0 and 115 euros once a year. In order to convey the need for this income, which is officially part of the church tax, the church money goes to fixed projects about which the deaneries inform the church taxpayers.

Church tax for non-year-round church membership

After leaving the church, the church tax liability ends at the end of the month of leaving or, depending on the country, one month later. Nevertheless, the entire income of a year in which one has ever belonged to a church can lead to the obligation to pay church taxes. Only the amount of the church tax due depends on how long you were liable for church tax in the year in question. This can be explained by the fact that the church tax is calculated from the annual income tax. In the year of leaving the church tax is calculated as described in the church tax law of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia: "If church tax does not exist for the entire calendar year, one twelfth of the amount is levied for each calendar month in which church tax is due would result in year-round church tax liability as an annual tax liability. "This means that someone who had no income at the time of church tax liability still has to pay church tax if he still has income subject to income tax in the same calendar year after the church tax liability has ended.

Church tax collection by the state

In this picture example of an income tax card , the church tax deduction was discontinued due to the exit from the evangelical church (EV).

The following churches and organizations are currently using the possibility of church tax collection by state bodies:

The states withhold from 2% (Bavaria) to 4.5% (in Saarland) of the church tax revenue, usually 3%, as payment for the collection of church tax.

Church tax collection by the parish

The following churches in Hamburg, which are corporations under public law, draw their church taxes according to § 8 Abs. 1 HmbKiStG itself:

The following parish in Berlin with its own constitution within the Berlin-Brandenburg State Church draws its church taxes according to 1 KiStG-Berlin itself:

  • the French Church in Berlin (French Reformed Huguenot community)

Abandonment of the collection of church taxes

The following selection lists religious and ideological communities that are corporations under public law in all of Germany or individual federal states and therefore have the right to collect church tax, but still do not collect church tax:

Religious communities

Weltanschauung communities

The above-mentioned community federations, churches and ideological communities finance their work through voluntary membership fees.

Church tax as a special edition

The church tax paid is deductible from the total amount of income as a special expense in accordance with Section 10 (1) No. 4 EStG . The Federal Ministry of Finance has forecast the resulting reduced tax revenue for 2018 at 3.88 billion euros (26th subsidy report by the Federal Government, 23 August 2017). For the year 2018, the churches reported record income of 12.4 billion euros, which arithmetically means that around 1/3 of the annual church tax is paid by the general public, i.e. also those not subject to church tax, through the withdrawal from the joint tax budget.

Church wage tax

Church tax as a final withholding tax

Church tax by the employer also for non-members

In the case of flat-rate taxation, the employer pays a flat rate of 2, 20 or 25% tax (Section 40a EStG). If the employer does not object in advance, Catholic and Protestant church taxes are levied in addition to the solos, regardless of the membership of the recipient or the entrepreneur. An objection is only possible if the beneficiary is not a church member and the employer can prove this. (BFH, November 30, 1989 - IR 14/87, BStBl II 1990, 993).

Church tax receipts and their significance for the church budget

In 2004 the church tax revenue in Germany was:

  • Catholic Church: 4,158.0 million euros
  • Evangelical Church: 3,689.0 million euros
  • Old Catholic Church: 2.9 million euros

Depending on the church unit, the income from church taxes is between 60% and 85% of the respective household. In relation to the overall budget, the regional churches or (arch) dioceses have the following expenditure items (rounded figures):

Catholic Church

Personnel costs: approx. 60%, material costs, administration: approx. 10%, church buildings: approx. 10%, school and education: approx. 10%, social and charitable: approx. 10%.

Protestant church

Personnel costs: approx. 70%, material costs, administration: approx. 10%, church buildings: approx. 10%, schools, education, social affairs and charities: approx. 10%.

Church tax revenue

Church tax revenue
year Evangelical
Million DEM
1967 1600 1233
1968 1700 1363
1969 1900 1548
1970 2200 1597
1971 2700 2215
1972 3100 2643
1973 3600 3162
1974 4000 3584
1975 3500 3005
1976 3800 3426
1977 4200 3814
1978 4300 3839
1979 4400 4009
1980 4839 4619
1981 4815 4726
1982 4937 4839
1983 5540 5004
1984 5078 5110
1985 5567 5713
1986 5778 5786
1987 6245 6304
1988 6485 6507
1989 6782 7105
1990 6508 6791
1991 7620 7866
1992 8427 8744
1993 8386 8666
1994 8235 8496
1995 8382 8673
1996 7946 8136
1997 7588 7853
1998 7798 8420
1999 8275 8944
2000 8312 9164
year Million EUR
2001 4080 4500
2002 4080 4443
2003 4012 4498
2004 3689 4158
2005 3650 4107
2006 3884 4388
2007 4199 4804
2008 4586 5225
2009 4360 5056
2010 4256 4942
2011 4380 4918
2012 4624 5198
2013 4842 5460
2014 5077 5691
2015 5365 6096
2016 5454 6156
2017 5671 6437

The church tax under fire

The church tax (as an annex tax) is the best known form of church financing and has been criticized for various reasons. The criticism refers both to the tax as an instrument of church financing per se and to a number of its effects and the consequences of their handling in the state and church area. The criticism includes other state services to the churches.

Criticism from a state church law perspective

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the church tax in 1973 came under discussion as a result of the " Freiburg Theses " Free Church in the Free State of the so-called "Church Paper" of the FDP , since the party separated state and church and thus replaced the state collection of church tax a church contribution system was called for. These demands can still be found today in the FDP's program in a weakened form. Similar positions were formulated earlier by the Green Party . Even the Left rejects both the constitutional anchoring of church tax as well as their state feeder. Outside of politics, the International Federation of Non-Denominational and Atheists eV (IBKA) , the Humanist Union and the Humanist Association of Germany represent a rejection of the church tax.

  • Despite its constitutional anchoring, the church tax privilege contradicts the constitutional separation of state and church, i.e. the ideological neutrality of the state.
  • The sovereignty of the churches, as corporations under public law, discriminates against other religious and ideological communities that either cannot acquire this status or do not want to acquire it for reasons of faith. However, this criticism is opposed by the fact that the status mentioned is basically also open to other communities.
  • The connection of church tax to wage and income tax requires all dependent employees to indicate their religious status on the wage tax card . This is seen as a violation of negative religious freedom .
  • Section 10 (1) no. 4 EStG allows unlimited tax deductibility of the church tax paid as a special expense . According to the federal government's subsidy report, the aim is to “favor recognized religious societies and religious communities with equal status for reasons of church and social policy”. According to the criticism, religious communities that collect church taxes should be given preference over other social groups with relevance anchored in the constitution, for example parties and trade unions, through this regulation. Donations and membership fees to these organizations are of course deductible up to an amount of 20% of the gross annual income with the same effect and thus subsidized (see Section 10b (1) EStG).
  • The deductibility of church tax and the associated tax waiver by the state represent a considerable subsidy for church members and thus indirectly for the church, for 2007 for example in the amount of almost 33% of the church tax revenue.
Figures for 2007:
Church tax revenue in Germany total: EUR 9002.94 million
of which borne by church members: 5952.94 million euros (67.1%)
of which borne by general taxpayers' money through a reduction in income tax: EUR 2,960 million (32.9%)
This criticism is countered by the church that the church work to a large extent also benefits non-denominational people or members of other religious communities and is not limited in its effect to members.
  • The "fictitious" church tax: Until 2004, all recipients of unemployment benefits , unemployment benefits , early retirement and maintenance benefits as well as short-time work and bad weather benefits were deducted from the unemployment benefit in the amount of the “fictitious” church tax. However, the amount did not benefit the churches. The criticism saw this as a “amalgamation of state and church”, because the “withheld church tax” was described as “the usual wage deduction”. Only with the new regulation of ALG II from January 1, 2005, this regulation is no longer applicable.

In the literature, new doubts - not generally about the church tax, but about individual forms of collection - have recently been raised. This concerns, on the one hand, the church wage tax (part of the ELStAM procedure ) and, on the other hand, the church tax on withholding tax ( KIStA ). The accusation of an unconstitutional design of the procedure, in which the involvement of the Federal Central Tax Office is criticized, remains open. A judicial clarification is still pending.

Criticism from an internal church perspective

The following points of criticism are also cited by church groups:

  • The tax nature of this source of finance disguises the fact that it is a personal membership fee for a religious community.
  • The state collection of church tax makes the churches appear as state institutions.
  • Linking church tax to wage and income tax allows church tax to participate in the injustices and upheavals of this type of tax. Furthermore, the churches would be dependent on the respective economic, tax and labor market policies of the state and on the collective bargaining partners.
  • Only about a third of the church members contribute to the financing of the churches through church taxes.
  • The state collection of church taxes favor and consolidate certain church structures, the incapacitation of the communities and the establishment and proliferation of a church-wide bureaucracy.
  • The individual parishes are also not financed or maintained due to the willingness of parishioners to donate. The staff of the community does not have to worry about the financial and organizational equipment of the community.
  • The establishment of the church tax cap unjustifiably favor high earners.

However, the church tax was and is largely undisputed within the Protestant and Catholic church leadership, as the system enables reliable and extensive financing of church work.

The criticism from an internal church perspective was presented on the Roman Catholic side by individual theologians such as Horst Herrmann , more recently Paul Zulehner , and by various groups critical of the church, including the “ Bensberger Kreis ”, the “Association for the rededication of church taxes e. V. ”, the“ Initiative Church from Below ”(IKvu), the“ Halle Action Group ”and the“ Church People's Movement We Are Church ”.

Within the Roman Catholic Church, a system of church financing is being considered in the event that the church tax is no longer payable. In 2019 , the Bishop of Eichstätt Gregor Maria Hanke initiated a discussion about how the church would finance itself if the church tax collapsed.

On the evangelical side, for example, it was the “Bund gegen Kirchensteuer Abuse e. V. Bremen "or the Priener pastor Karl-Friedrich Wackerbarth from the" Gemeindebund Bayern ", who criticized the system. In recent years, the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Association has drawn up a reform proposal (“ cultural tax and social tax instead of state church tax collection”). Karl Martin presented this proposal in his publication “Farewell to the Church Tax”.

Church tax in other states


Web links

historical development

facts and figures

Criticism of the church tax

Individual evidence

  1. Income of the churches in 2015 at a record level In: "Der Tagesspiegel", last seen on June 26, 2016.
  2. Christoph Schäfer: Cologne Cathedral is worth 1 euro . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. October 24, 2013.
  3. Church tax: Large majority against state collection , report from this side - Das humanistische Magazin, accessed on August 11, 2015
  4. Germans want church reforms , report of the online portal of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany , accessed on August 11, 2015
  5. An exception are the Jewish communities entitled to church tax in Frankfurt and Berlin, which know a church tax as a surcharge on property tax, cf. Evangelical Church in Germany: The Church Tax - A Brief Overview. (pdf, 124 kB) July 31, 2002, p. 2 , accessed October 9, 2018 .
  6. Most of the money goes into pastoral care. (No longer available online.) Archdiocese of Cologne, archived from the original on January 15, 2013 ; Retrieved July 17, 2012 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. Erwin Gatz : History of Church Life. Volume VI: Church Finances. Herder, Freiburg 2000, ISBN 3-451-23668-0 .
  8. Simon Kempny: The church tax in the Frankfurt Imperial Constitution. In: Kirche & Recht 2014, p. 188 (194 f.).
  9. Law on asset management in Catholic parishes in the Westphalian history internet portal
  10. ^ "Historical Lexicon of Bavaria"
  11. ^ "Historisches Lexikon Bayerns" Reichsgesetzblatt 1934 Part I p. 925ff, esp. P. 933
  12. a b c d e Church / Tax: Secular poor . In: Der Spiegel . No. 13 , 1969, p. 42-50 ( Online - Mar. 24, 1969 ).
  13. Helga Schultz, Hans-Jürgen Wagener (ed.): The GDR in retrospect: politics, economy, society, culture. Ch. Links Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-86153-440-2 , p. 61.
  14. a b Severin Weiland: Church tax: Liberal initiative outraged Christians in the coalition., March 25, 2005; Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  15. Church tax: Holy Revier . In: Der Spiegel . No. 10 , 1992, pp. 25 ( Online - Mar. 2, 1992 ).
  16. a b Church tax: like a knife stab . In: Der Spiegel . No. 2 , 1994, p. 25-26 ( Online - Jan. 10, 1994 ).
  17. See e.g. B. Church tax: a heap of money . In: Der Spiegel . No. 5 , 1979, pp. 63-67 ( online - 29 January 1979 ). A heart for churches . In: Der Spiegel . No.
     21 , 1980, pp. 14 ( online - May 19, 1980 ). Church tax: forget principles . In: Der Spiegel . No.
     8 , 1985, pp. 21-22 ( Online - Feb. 18, 1985 ).
  18. Church tax: Always friendly . In: Der Spiegel . No. 15 , 1985, pp. 34 ( Online - Apr. 8, 1985 ).
  19. See e.g. B. Church Tax: Free from coercion . In: Der Spiegel . No. 38 , 1990, pp. 170 ( online - 17 September 1990 ).
  20. ^ Peter Wensierski: Church: Discreet like Swiss banks . In: Der Spiegel . No. 49 , 2001, p. 56-59 ( Online - Dec. 3, 2001 ).
  21. Abolition of church tax: Chief Protestant shocks his fellow believers., May 21, 2005; Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  22. Basic judgment: Church tax rebel fails in court. Spiegel-Online, September 26, 2012; Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  23. ↑ Stepping stone for believers . In: Der Spiegel . No. 14 , 1974, p. 62-65 ( Online - Apr. 1, 1974 ).
  24. ^ General decree of the German Bishops' Conference on leaving the Church . Press release of the German Bishops' Conference, September 20, 2012; accessed on March 3, 2015 (pdf; 18 kB).
  25. See Article 4 No. 1 Bavarian Church Tax Act; Section 2 Paragraph 1 No. 1. a) nds. KirchenStG; Section 4 (1) no.1a) nw. KirchenStG; Section 3 Paragraph 1 No. 1 KirchenStG-LSA.
  26. ^ Bavarian Church Tax Act. Retrieved April 25, 2017 .
  27. ^ Regulations on the collection of church taxes in the Bavarian (arch) dioceses (DKirchStO) ; Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  28. Example: Our church administration. In: Website of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. St. John Evangelist Lochham, Retrieved April 25, 2017 .
  29. Law on the revision of the Church Tax Ordinance in the area of ​​Lower Saxony in the version of October 18, 2005; Nds MBl 2005, p. 969, published in the Kirchlichen Anzeiger 2005. Section C Local church tax §§ 3 and 4
  30. Law on the collection of church taxes in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia ( Memento of the original dated December 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , § 5 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  31. from § 5 Abs. 2 KiStG-NRW
  32. ( Memento of the original from January 26, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  33. 26th Subsidy Report. Federal Ministry of Finance , 23 August 2017, accessed on 10 March 2020 .
  34. New record for church tax income in 2018 , Catholic online magazine from August 8, 2019, accessed March 10, 2020
  35. German Bishops' Conference ( Memento of the original from January 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  36. Evangelical Church Germany ( Memento of the original from August 25, 2014 in the web archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  37. ^ Matthias Ring : Balance of the Church Tax. In: Christians Today. 03/09, p. 58.
  38. rounded to millions, information from the respective church leaders for the Statistical Yearbook of the Federal Republic of Germany,
  39. 21st Subsidy Report of the Federal Government from August 2007, Annex 3, p. 94.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  40. Cf. for example Is the church tax still appropriate? Federal symposium against church tax abuse on November 22nd in Bremen town hall. idea documentation, 1997, vol. 22; and Manfred Bald: Departure after the fall of the Wall. Military pastoral care, cultural tax and the state-church relationship. Nomos, 1997.
  41. Hanke: The church tax will collapse in ten years at the latest. Retrieved April 17, 2019 .
  42. Reinhard Bingener: Money for communities: where is the church tax? In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . March 27, 2017. Retrieved April 20, 2019 .