Do I really have to pay Kirchensteuer?

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I found this interesting thread and I would like to ask a few questions. I do not want to pay the church tax, as I will not "use the church services", I will never go to Catholic (eucharistic) cerimonies weekly and so on. The problem is my girlfriend relocated to Germany 18 months ago and did not know about this tax, now she is paying around 400 euro/year (she is catholic but never been in a church or to a priest in Germany). She is worried that our future babies we will have in the future may live without being baptized: do both the parents have to pay the church tax in Germany, in order to have the children baptized (in Germany)? What will they ask me to the Buergerbuero? Some certificates stating my religion (in this case I do not have any of this)? By the way, I will relocate in a couple of weeks to Germany.

The other option for the future would be to get the children baptized in the country where my and my girlfriend where born, as we will be only 600 km far from our native cities abroad: I guess in this case the applied rules will be the ones in the country where the baptism will be done.

 

Sorry for my English, I am not a native speaker...

Thanks

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@ cierufo: when I first registered in Germany I declared myself as being "konfessionslos", i.e. having no religion and I have never paid a single cent to the church.

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@ cierufo: when I first registered in Germany I declared myself as being "konfessionslos", i.e. having no religion and I have never paid a single cent to the church.

 

Thats true for all of us who are careful (& forewarned) on arriving here.

 

However he (or rather she) seems to want to have their cake & eat it:

 

 

She is worried that our future babies we will have in the future may live without being baptized

 

Let me tell you that both our children we neither babtized nor "confirmed" & they appear to be none the worse for it. In fact now that they both have jobs they are better off :)

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now she is paying around 400 euro/year. She is worried that our future babies we will have in the future may live without being baptized

 

 

Open a separate bank account for the future babies and deposit all the money you and her would have paid in Kirchensteuer to this account. That will alleviate her worries.

 

 

 

 

do both the parents have to pay the church tax in Germany, in order to have the children baptized (in Germany)?

 

For other services (weddings, funerals, etc.) the German Catholic Church may expect proof that you're paying your dues before delivering the services requested. But for baptismals it's not a problem. They're always happy to register new clients (who, 18 years later, will become paying clients).

 

It's probably better to do everything in your own country, and leave the German Catholic Church totally out of this. After all, whatever ... "divine protection" you will get through baptism is universal: it doesn't matter where you got baptized.

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By the way, I will relocate in a couple of weeks to Germany.

 

 

 

@ cierufo: when I first registered in Germany I declared myself as being "konfessionslos", i.e. having no religion and I have never paid a single cent to the church.

 

 

This could be risky, though, especially if you come from a Catholic country. Look at what happened to this French guy (link to press articles in English, French, German), who registered as "konfessionslos" only to later find himself being charged Church Tax because the German Catholic Church, with the assistance of their French associates, dug up his baptismal certificate in France and used it to successfully argue that the guy is actually Catholic and should thus be paying Church Tax.

 

The safest way to go about this is for someonene arriving in Germany is to first register as Catholic, and then request to formally leave the church. Yes, this official Kirchenaustritt will cost between €0 and €31 depending on the German state, but it buys eternal peace of mind: the Catholics won't be able to take a single penny from someone who's armed with a Kirchenaustrittsformular, no matter what they dig up.

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Mmmm....poor French guy...coming me too from a Catholic country it could be a problem. Are those controls between different coutries a rule? I may consider to register as Catholic and then ask to be pulled out. Any idea how many days/weeks after my arrival in Germany I will be able to submit my out-of-church request?

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Why would you register as a catholic in the first place if you want out? I was baptiszed in England by they never checked when I registered as konfessionslos in Germany.

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Well but if they check it in the future...then I have to pay. I prefer to be honest at the beginning and say yes, I have been pabtized and then say them bye bye, stop wasting my money.

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Another question, church related...what happens if I will get married in a church in another country after I asked to be pulled out in Germany from the church? Can I register the civil act of my marriage? At least I know how I can handle this issue with my fiance

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If you mean getting married back in your home diocese, you should know that your local priest will be informed in writing that you left the church, and will most probably no longer allow you to get married in church.

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But will I quit the Catholic church or the German Catholic church? How can a form filled in a governmental office act as official (ethic) proof that I want to leave the catholic church also outside of Germany? I think it will be just inside the German country and not also outside... This looks quite funny...you don't pay, then you do not get the title and/or the service.

Probably also here I am paying monthly taxes to the church but the italian law is not so transparent as the german one...and once I realized the amount of euro, I got angry!!

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I may consider to register as Catholic and then ask to be pulled out.

 

I thought Catholics weren't allowed to pull out...

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You will leave the Catholic church worldwide - it's a worldwide organisation after all.

 

If you don't believe it just wait and see, I know of letters sent to home dioceses as far away as the US and South America.

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You will leave the Catholic church worldwide - it's a worldwide organisation after all.

 

If you don't believe it just wait and see, I know of letters sent to home dioceses as far away as the US and South America.

 

I've also heard of this happening in Ireland where the local parish priest has gone to the family to ask why their son or daughter has left the church.

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Probably also here I am paying monthly taxes to the church but the italian law is not so transparent as the german one...and once I realized the amount of euro, I got angry!!

 

I don't know much about Italy, but I'd assume that over there Muslim or Jewish taxpayers are forced to subsidize the Catholic Church... the German system is a lot fairer since it gives people a choice of which Church to pay taxes to (there's the two mains Churches, but at least a dozen smaller ones as well). It also gives people a choice of paying taxes to no Church at all.

 

 

But will I quit the Catholic church or the German Catholic church?

 

You will not be considered as Catholic according to German state laws. Doctrinally speaking this changes nothing as far as your standing as a Catholic goes. There is nothing in Canon Law saying that you should be registered as a Catholic with the state, or that you should be paying Church Tax.

 

However, the German Catholic Church cares more about money than about doctrine. If they don't get their money from you, they may well contact their associates in your country to let them know that you've officially left the church.

 

 

If you don't believe it just wait and see, I know of letters sent to home dioceses as far away as the US and South America.

 

 

 

I've also heard of this happening in Ireland where the local parish priest has gone to the family to ask why their son or daughter has left the church.

 

 

This goes both ways. If you're French and you are not paying Church Tax, the German Catholics may ask their French associates for proof of your baptismal, which they can use in Germany to argue that you owe back taxes from the date you arrived. Likewise, if you leave the Catholic Church in Germany, they might contact the French Catholic Church to let them know so that they can send the village priest to "name and shame" you and your family.

 

But probably, nothing will happen if you declare yourself "konfessionslos" and nothing will happen if you leave the Church. In all likelihood, nobody will bother to check anything or do anything. It all depends, then, on which risk you want to be exposed to. If I were you, I'd definitely go for an official Kirchenaustritt because I wouldn't want to run the risk, however remote, of being required to pay church taxes (+ penalties) for all the years since my arrival in Germany if the Catholic church ever decided to look into my case like they did with that French guy. This is something that you need to do right away, though. If you register as "konfessionslos" now, and do the Kirchenaustritt thing 5 years from now, you'll effectively be admitting that you were liable to pay Church tax for the past 5 years!!!

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I don't know much about Italy, but I'd assume that over there Muslim or Jewish taxpayers are forced to subsidize the Catholic Church... the German system is a lot fairer since it gives people a choice of which Church to pay taxes to (there's the two mains Churches, but at least a dozen smaller ones as well). It also gives people a choice of paying taxes to no Church at all.

 

If only that were true. All German tax-payers are subsidising the church in Rome (as well as the protestants).

This transcript of a Spiegel video from 7 June 2010 tells the story.

The German system looks fairer on the surface but is in fact even worse. Those who belong to a church get taxed twice(and some of that tax goes to the wrong church) and those of us who don't believe still have to pay.

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I remember been asked by the Finanzamt in Berlin about Kirchensteuer at the end of the 90s. My reply was that (a) there is no Kirchensteuer in the UK (whence I had arrived back in 1992) and that the UK is not part of Germany - so if they had any questions on the subject they should contact the Home Office in London.

 

Never heard back, problem solved!

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Never heard back, problem solved!

 

You and most others have never heard back from the Finanzamt, but that doesn't mean it's "problem solved". It can come to haunt you at any time.

 

The Finanzamt doesn't really care who's paying Church Tax. The Churches do since they are the ones losing money.

 

When people from Italy, Poland or another Catholic country declare themselves "konfessionslos" in Germany and pay no Church Tax for years, the German Catholic Church knows that in 95% of such cases there's good money to be made if they simply were to bother to take a closer look. They have a global network of associates from which they can acquire all the necessary proofs (the baptismal certificates, like in this guy's case), as well as all the financial and legal means to go after these "konfessionslose" Catholics in Germany and force them to pay back taxes (plus penalties).

 

For the little guy that could potentially come face-to-face, at any time, with this multi-trillion dollar entity with global tentacles, there's only one cheap, sure-fire, silver bullet: the Kirchenaustrittsformular. Otherwise, if they go after him he'll have to resort to contacting the media, writing blogs, and setting up online petitions, like that hapless Frenchman.

 

It is, of course, much better to do this Kirchenaustritt when one first arrives in Germany since it could otherwise be construed as an admission that he was actually Catholic all these years, and thus, liable to Church Tax.

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