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Kirchensteuerstelle send questionnaire

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Hello, when me and my wife moved to Berlin last year we clearly declared "no religion" during anmeldung. Recently I received letter from KirchenSteuerStelle to fill out questionnaire they send. I'm not quite sure why should I do that, I already declared no religion once. I understand it's all for a purpose of Tax church.

I found some webpages warning from filling out this questionnaire, but my German skills doesn't allow me to fully understand rationale behind it.

 

Has someone been in such situation and can tell me how to deal with this? Am I legally obliged to fill out this form even if I already declared myself?

 

I would be really grateful for some clarification!

 

Below are screens of what I received:

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Throw the fucking thing in the bin and do not ever ever fill anything out from a church unless youre willing to donate 2.5% of your income to the worlds richest organisation.

 

Once youre in its extemely difficult to get out of it.

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It says that the Finanzamt (the tax authorities) contacted the Kirchensteuerstelle (the ones who sent you the letter), asking them to help the Finanzamt clarify whether you belong to the Protestant Church, the Catholic Church, or neither of the above.

 

The letter says that the Finanzamt already sent you a questionnaire (Fragebogen), to which you either did not reply at all, or provided incomplete answers that do not allow the Finanzamt to unambiguously determine whether you belong to a church.

 

If I were you, I'd ignore this letter. However, I'd dig out this Finanzamt Fragebogen that they are referring to, complete it correctly, and send it back to the Finanzamt directly.

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Once youre in its extemely difficult to get out of it.

 

Not true. All it takes is a form that you sign at the city hall, and about a €20 fee. Then you're free.

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Not true. All it takes is a form that you sign at the city hall, and about a €20 fee. Then you're free.

 

This is not how my partner said it went. Apparently she had to go to a couple of different places, including the Finanzamt, and she had to endure a couple of lectures on the perils of extricating yourself from the holy church's tender grasp (no marriage there, no baptism for kids, and other useless events). She was also told it would take effect after 3 months!

 

Stay the hell away from this.

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Its very federal state dependent. 'Oop 'ere in Schleswig-Holstein it was quite simple for my (German) wife to exit the club once she had seen the light so to speak. It was a few years ago - I don't think there was an exit-fee, it could be that it did not take effect immediately. Certainly no sermon.

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Thank you for your replies! But it still bothers me, if me and my wife were already, since beginning, declared as 'no religion', why do they ask us to fill this weird questionnaire? None of our friends had anything like that.

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I registered as "religionslos" when I came to Germany in 1986 and have never had to fill a qustionnaire about it since. Is the church trying to get extra tax?

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There's no need to fret or be annoyed about it. You don't need to fill out this questionnaire. Just write a short note to the Finanzamet telling them you don't belong to a church. I would write something like this:

 

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

hiermit teile ich Ihnen mit, dass ich kein Mitglied der evangelischen oder der römisch-katholischen Kirche bin.

Bitte sorgen Sie dafür, dass meine Daten diesbezüglich richtig und vollständig sind.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

yaggi

 

I would personally add some flourish about being a Jedi or Pastafarian, and it not being any of their bloody business who's been baptized in my family or not, but that's just because I like being a bit annoying when it comes to clergy issues. This bit is unnecessary.

 

Disclaimer: My German is not that great so the example above might not be a grammatical masterpiece. Again, that doesn't really matter.

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Thank you for your replies! But it still bothers me, if me and my wife were already, since beginning, declared as 'no religion', why do they ask us to fill this weird questionnaire? None of our friends had anything like that.

 

When you fill out a form that asks for your religion (at the Einwohnermeldeamt or the Finanzamt), there are different codes to use for each church (there are half a dozen of those, in addition ot Protestant and Catholic). There's also a code if you don't belong to any of those. I suggest that next time, you figure out what the right code is (look at the accompanying instructions) and use it.

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Thank you for your replies! But it still bothers me, if me and my wife were already, since beginning, declared as 'no religion', why do they ask us to fill this weird questionnaire? None of our friends had anything like that.

 

Because of your nationality I think. You come from Catholic country and if you are Catholic, declaring "no religion" can have consequences in your home country. You will be excluded from church membership there. If you don't care, just ignore this letter.

 

Edit: actually this is what this letter explains. If you are Catholic in one country abroad, you should either pay church tax or be excluded from Catholic church worldwide.

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With the possible exception of the Vatican, there's no such thing as "Catholic countries".

 

The letter also explains that church membership is independent of national origin or place of residence.

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If you are Catholic in one country abroad, you should either pay church tax or be excluded from Catholic church worldwide.

 

I don't think that applies to England, they don't have church tax there so you can come and go as you please. I stopped going to church when I was 18, I found it incredibly boring!

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The letter also explains that church membership is independent of national origin or place of residence.

 

According to Kirchenrecht (church law), not according to German law.

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I don't think that applies to England, they don't have church tax there so you can come and go as you please. I stopped going to church when I was 18, I found it incredibly boring!

 

Nobody except Germany (Austria, Switzerland) has church tax, but the logic of Catholic church is that you have to fulfill whatever duties exist in Catholic churches around the world. Membership in Catholic church is global.

 

 

According to Kirchenrecht (church law), not according to German law.

 

According to German law any church is "Körperschaft des öffentliches Recht" (public corporation) which gives it a right to set up laws and collect taxes (from its members). Anything inside the church is regulated by their own law which sometimes contradicts German law. For example, Caritas can fire homosexual employees. Their work in social service has nothing to do with religion, but they are regulated by church law.

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Anything inside the church is regulated by their own law which sometimes contradicts German law.

 

When it comes to church tax liability, German law prevails over Church law.

 

Example: someone who's baptized Catholic in Poland and then moves to Germany is automatically considered Catholic by the German Catholic Church. However, he's not automatically considered Catholic by the German Finanzamt. He has every right to state whatever he wants on the tax/registration forms under "Religion". If he puts down "none", then he won't have to pay Church tax even though the German Catholic Church considers him to be its member. Even if the Church were to present proof to the Finanzamt that the person is Catholic according to Church law (e.g., by presenting a copy of his Polish baptismal certificate), this would have no effect.

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Example: someone who's baptized Catholic in Poland and then moves to Germany is automatically considered Catholic by the German Catholic Church. However, he's not automatically considered Catholic by the German Finanzamt. He has every right to state whatever he wants on the tax/registration forms under "Religion". If he puts down "none", then he won't have to pay Church tax even though the German Catholic Church considers him to be its member. Even if the Church were to present proof to the Finanzamt that the person is Catholic according to Church law (e.g., by presenting a copy of his Polish baptismal certificate), this would have no effect.

 

My message is that such action will result in Kirchenaustritt. Then this guy comes back to Poland and want to organize church wedding. He discovers that he is no longer a member of Polish Catholic church. Of course, he can re-enter but this can take time. This is what one should know.

 

Also you know that once you started paying tax it's difficult to stop. Why? Because you'll then be regulated by church law and you should deal with de-registration with church.

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Also you know that once you started paying tax it's difficult to stop. Why? Because you'll then be regulated by church law and you should deal with de-registration with church.

 

That's not true. If you started paying church tax, and then want to stop, all you need to do is fill out the Kirchenaustrittsformular at the city hall, and send a copy to the Finanzamt (varies by Bundesland, in some places you don't even need to do that since it's taken care of automatically, e.g. in Nürnberg.) You do not need to deal with the church or its laws.

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Nobody except Germany (Austria, Switzerland) has church tax, but the logic of Catholic church is that you have to fulfill whatever duties exist in Catholic churches around the world. Membership in Catholic church is global.

 

Wiki begs to differ: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_tax

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