Do I really have to pay Kirchensteuer?

339 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, kiplette said:

 

 

I do in general agree with you. This exception where the Kirchensteuerstelle in Berlin is hounding people who come from countries with a lot of Catholics is horrible. This is how it is happening - if you look further up thread, the original guy who had this happen posted. I don't think it has happened outside of Berlin yet.

 

I know Im in a minority, but I completely disagree.  When someone joins a club they have to pay membership.  If anyone doesnt like it they can leave the church.  If they dont want to do that then they lose their right to complain.

 

I do understand that some people didnt realise that when they promised their eternal soul to god that this was binding, but thems the breaks.  Its not like church tax is much money anyway.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, zwiebelfisch said:

If they dont want to do that then they lose their right to complain.

 

Oh, absolutely. This I completely agree with. Want to play golf? Pay the fees. No problem.

 

The issue is they don't know a formal 'leaving' process exists, let alone is required. Otherwise of course they would 'austritt' on arrival.

 

The thing Panda has put up is kind of worse. 

 

But basically I think you are right, belong to the club, play by the rules. If they would change the form I think it would be OK. Everyone would know. This DDR thing, though, that's more bizarre still.

 

Thousands of euros is quite a lot for most people, I think - trouble is it grows over the years you didn't know about.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not so easy. If you spouse is kirchensteuerpflichtig, you pay the tax as well, regardless of your membership in church.

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

It's not so easy. If you spouse is kirchensteuerpflichtig, you pay the tax as well, regardless of your membership in church.

 

That is true - happened to me until the wife suddenly saw the light & decided to leave the "club" (not the Catholic one).

Interestingly her decision came about whilst attending the Konfirmation of the daughter of good friends of ours...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/31/2017, 11:03:19, zwiebelfisch said:

I know Im in a minority, but I completely disagree.  When someone joins a club they have to pay membership.  If anyone doesnt like it they can leave the church.  If they dont want to do that then they lose their right to complain.

 

I do understand that some people didnt realise that when they promised their eternal soul to god that this was binding, but thems the breaks.  Its not like church tax is much money anyway.

 

Ok, so in most cases, they didn't actually join the club, they were born into it.  They may lack interest in this membership and don't make any use of it but don't bother leaving the club officially because they aren't paying for it in the US and so there is no reason too.  

 

Then they come here and don't even spare another thought for it until years later, somebody tells them they owe back tax, thousands of €, because of it.  I don't know about you but for most people, thousands of € is not something they'd refer to as "not that much money anyway".

 

And not just that, their spouse is on the hook for it too.  May never have belonged to the club but it doesn't matter, they have to pay for the membership too.

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The majority of Germans themselves dislike the church tax system. A survey conducted in 2015 revealed that 84% of Germans oppose the German church tax model. 

 

Quote

 

Wikipedia has an article on the German church tax system and it's historical roots: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_tax#Germany

 

In my opinion foreigners coming to live in Germany should thoroughly inform themselves of German laws before arriving in Germany. It's only common sense. It's not the duty of German officials to do so. There is plenty of information in English via the Internet out there:

 

https://www.google.de/search?q=germany+tax+laws+for+foreigners&oq=german+tax+laws+for+foreigners+&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.33i22i29i30k1.18129.19042.0.23578.6.6.0.0.0.0.113.591.5j1.6.0...0...1.1.64.psy-ab..0.6.591.-qdwG6fq0ao

 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/2/2017, 7:39:18, LeonG said:

And not just that, their spouse is on the hook for it too.  May never have belonged to the club but it doesn't matter, they have to pay for the membership too.

 

 

If your wife signs up for family membership of a club without telling you then you either tell her to pay the whole sum herself or to cancel, or you act like a normal human and swallow the costs because you understand its important to her.

 

Honestly, people here acting like they are screwed over by their spouse because they have a different religion is surreal.  

 

If you cant bring yourself to carry the costs of your spouses religion then maybe you shouldnt marry them.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, zwiebelfisch said:

If your wife signs up for family membership of a club without telling you then you either tell her to pay the whole sum herself or to cancel, or you act like a normal human and swallow the costs because you understand its important to her.

 

Honestly, people here acting like they are screwed over by their spouse because they have a different religion is surreal.  

If you cant bring yourself to carry the costs of your spouses religion then maybe you shouldnt marry them.

 

Is it important to her?  You are forgetting that the wife didn't actually sign up for the club without telling you, she was born into it.  Maybe she never even cared much about it but never bothered leave it because it didn't cost anything in her home country.

 

When you married her, you may or may not have known that she was a member of the club but in your home country, there were no costs anyway so you wouldn't care.  Fast forward and you move to Germany and years later, the German branch of the club realizes that she's been a member all along and wants thousands of euro, not from her because she doesn't make any money but from you.  How is that fair?

 

Sure you should inform yourself about various things when you move to a different country and surely you can research health care, housing, job market, insurance, schools etc. but if you've lived in a country where there was no church tax, how would you know to look for that?

 

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, RedMidge said:

I went into a detailed chat about Anglican, and High versus Low, and threw in Henry V!!!   Bemused guy put down- NIL.

 

When I registered, a friend's wife had come there with me and when they asked my religion, she'd barked out "none" before I could even open my mouth.  I guess I should thank her every day that I'm not paying church tax.

 

I grew up I guess evangelical lutheran but actually left the church years ago not specifically due to lack of religion although that is also the case but more due to some church actions I did not agree with.  However, if put on the spot and asked my religion, I might have just said evangelical from a cultural standpoint or whatever so again, lucky that friends wife was not working at the time and came with me.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

I wanted to report my experience: in Germany since many years, baptised , registered as no-confession in NRW.

I moved to Berlin last august and declared my family and myself as Catholic. A month later started paying the kirchensteuer regularly.. so far all good (almost 8 months).

 

Do you believe I'm still running the risk of a retro-active investigation?

 

Thanks in advance

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know it is an old thread, but I just found some info, that I think may help quite a few people in the Toytown Community (it is in German - so please use a translator if you do not speak the language, sorry):

 

https://hpd.de/artikel/erfolgreicher-kampf-gegen-kirchensteuer-17788

 

A short summary:

1. A French guy arrives in Germany (Berlin) and registers as "no-religion"

2. Later he receives a survey from the church which he answers with "atheist but baptized as catholic"

3. The catholic church gets hold of his Baptism Certificate (using his birthplace and contacting the church there) and starts charging the Church Tax ("You're baptized, so you're due!")

4. The guy does not like the idea - he considers himself a non catholic and does not want to pay. He leaves the church - does the Kirchenaustritt, but he should still be charged for the time of living in Berlin before he left the church. 

5. This he also does not like - a court case is started

6. The case stays undecided for 5 years

7. Finally the church decides to drop the charges - the guy does not need to pay. HURRAY for him!

8. The court does not need to decide the case, which means that there is no precedence created (and many lawyers considered that the decision could be against the church). HURRAY for the catholic church.

 

Bottom line: it looks like it might be worth fighting with the church. However, it may of course be dependent on your individual case. It is unclear if the catholic church will stop this practice or will they continue, hoping that people will not protest (no court decision means that there is no precedence). 

Of course: IANAL - involve a lawyer for real advice on this.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is possible since 2019 to make a class action suite in Germany, exactly to stop this constant abuse.

BTW, if it were me, I would also go to court.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I know, you can step out of the church legally. After that you no longer have to pay church tax.

Bottom line, there are no innocent 'just for info' questions on a tax form.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Church tax is not the tax I dislike most.

How about the television fee? I don't own a tv, and have never watched tv since moving to Germany in 2013 (almost true, I tried twice in my first month, it was too crappy to bear it and that was that). Yet I must pay for it, unlike church tax.

 

Life and taxes are not meant to be fair.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cb6dba said:

As far as I know, you can step out of the church legally. After that you no longer have to pay church tax.
Bottom line, there are no innocent 'just for info' questions on a tax form.

correct. you have to go an amt and sign a form in order to get a certificate of your freedom. That's it. But don't think you save all the money you would have paid to the pope!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/21/2020, 12:49:46, cb6dba said:

As far as I know, you can step out of the church legally. After that you no longer have to pay church tax.

I think the point is that most people never actually "step into" the church, their parents have them baptised at an age where they cannot decide for themselves.

In my opinion it is scandalous that people have to actively "leave" the church, thereby confirming that they were a member before. There should be something like a confirmation (not in the church's sense but in the legal sense) when you turn 18 where you sign that you actually want to be a legal member of the church. Collecting church tax based on baptism should not be legal.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/21/2020, 2:29:04, Gambatte said:

How about the television fee? I don't own a tv, and have never watched tv since moving to Germany in 2013 (almost true, I tried twice in my first month, it was too crappy to bear it and that was that). Yet I must pay for it, unlike church tax.

I never had kids and my taxes still pay for Kindergartens and schools, and this is good, because this is exactly what taxes are for. The only reason that public television is not financed via the usual tax system is to make it explicit that they are not controlled by the state. But TV is just like opera - whether you use it or not, you pay for it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 21.10.2020, 12:18:47, MikeMelga said:

BTW, if it were me, I would also go to court.

Now, why doesn't this surprise me :).

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now