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Old 01.10.2016, 13:30
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Church tax

Hi, all, M new here. I am a protestant Christian. I would like to have do my offerings every month. However, my tax consultant told me no need to declare and just say I have no religion. And i can do offering wherever I like.

So what's your opinion?
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Old 01.10.2016, 13:43
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Re: Church tax

Popular topic here on EF from time to time:

https://www.englishforum.ch/search2.php?q=church+tax

In short, yes you can declare you have no religion and then you don't pay the tax. I think around here it's a few hundred per year. Donate as you wish.

If you want a "special" service such as a baptism, wedding or funeral, you might have to pay out-of-pocket as a non-member. Source: MIL died and even though OH's family had paid church tax for decades they still had to pay out-of-pocket for the funeral since she wasn't currently a paying member. I think they charged 700 Francs or something.
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Old 01.10.2016, 14:08
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Re: Church tax

I understand the word Konfession better translated as "confession", which usually indicates either Catholic or some other mainstream/state Christian denomination. If you don't feel you are affiliated to any particular denomination, then I think it is accurate to say you are Konfessionslos.
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Old 01.10.2016, 14:24
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Re: Church tax

Your Church Tax is tax deductible btw.

Let's put it this way- if you wanted to play golf in a golf club- would you expect to play for free, whilst the other player pay for their club membership? If you want to be part of a Church,why not support it and all the activities they organise for their brehren and society at large?

(btw I am not religious, in any way, shape or form, and never want to use the Church for services,, including my funeral, so I don't pay).

NotAllThere- totally disagree with your interpretation btw. OP says he is Protestant, so that is his Confession.
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Old 01.10.2016, 14:26
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Re: Church tax

I am not saying I am not paying for that. Just wonder why my tax consultant can say so and wonder if swiss doing in this way.
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Old 01.10.2016, 14:35
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Re: Church tax

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I am not saying I am not paying for that. Just wonder why my tax consultant can say so and wonder if swiss doing in this way.
Your tax consultant can say so, because it's perfectly legal. If you feel guilty doing it, then to ease your conscience go ahead and pay the tax. It's not a massive amount.
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Old 01.10.2016, 14:38
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Re: Church tax

If one is a registered church member, the church tax you pay goes (mostly) to the church in your Gemeinde. This is important to understand because the local church may or may not be one you are willing to support, or the one you end up attending.

This can be an issue for foreigners who consider themselves religious - you may find that the local church is not welcoming, or that the local church espouses practices that do not fit in with your ideas or beliefs. If you register as protestant, your tax dollars will go to the local church - not to the protestant church of your choice.

Be aware that Swiss reformed, that is protestant, churches may or may not be similar to what you are used to at home. There is a wide swathe of belief and practice under the heading of 'Protestant'. Perhaps you might want to visit a few different churches, both traditional Swiss reformed as well as 'free' protestant churches, to see where you feel comfortable before choosing your church home. Towards that end, many register as not religious and then make donations as their conscience dictates.

My village church promotes an form of Catholicsm that I find wholly untenable - and as a practicing Catholic I cannot in good conscience support their practices. (The very strident non-religious, at least those here on EF, often do not realize that the Catholic church is anything but monolithic...)

So I am registered as not religious, as I will not allow my taxes to be used to support a mission I find unacceptable. Instead, I attend Mass at another church in another village, one that better encompasses my faith. I support that Church voluntarily, making a donation when I visit. This is a pilgrimage church so there is an offertory.

(I have no idea how it works in protestant churches, but for Catholics who are new to Switzerland: Be aware that some Gemeinde churches have eliminated the offertory portion of the Mass, because the church tax takes it's place. Unofficial churches, such as the English Mission in Zürich and the traditional pilgrimage churches, generally do include the offertory portion of the Mass. Donation optional, according to your conscience.)


tl;dr - Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and let your conscience be your guide as you render unto God.
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Old 01.10.2016, 14:40
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Re: Church tax

Tax consultants are not per se religious, they want to lower the taxload.

I'm paying my dues because I go to church on the high holidays and because I believe that my money might also help other people who need more counseling or need help. I love that churches - of almost all christian denominations are open during the day - sometimes I just need a place for contemplation. And those churches also need to be kept in shape and cleaned and so on. Artwork needs a lot of money to be preserved.

I think about it as a donation.

Last edited by marischi; 01.10.2016 at 14:58.
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Old 01.10.2016, 14:47
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Re: Church tax

@meloncollie , thanks so much. Your elaboration is very details and really let me know the whole picture. Yes not the term just protestant explains the type of church you go to. Thanks so much.


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If one is a registered church member, the church tax you pay goes (mostly) to the church in your Gemeinde. This is important to understand because the local church may or may not be one you are willing to support, or the one you end up attending.

This can be an issue for foreigners who consider themselves religious - you may find that the local church is not welcoming, or that the local church espouses practices that do not fit in with your ideas or beliefs. If you register as protestant, your tax dollars will go to the local church - not to the protestant church of your choice.

Be aware that Swiss reformed, that is protestant, churches may or may not be similar to what you are used to at home. There is a wide swathe of belief and practice under the heading of 'Protestant'. Perhaps you might want to visit a few different churches, both traditional Swiss reformed as well as 'free' protestant churches, to see where you feel comfortable before choosing your church home. Towards that end, many register as not religious and then make donations as their conscience dictates.

My village church promotes an form of Catholicsm that I find wholly untenable - and as a practicing Catholic I cannot in good conscience support their practices. (The very strident non-religious, at least those here on EF, often do not realize that the Catholic church is anything but monolithic...)

So I am registered as not religious, as I will not allow my taxes to be used to support a mission I find unacceptable. Instead, I attend Mass at another church in another village, one that better encompasses my faith. I support that Church voluntarily, making a donation when I visit. This is a pilgrimage church so there is an offertory.

(I have no idea how it works in protestant churches, but for Catholics who are new to Switzerland: Be aware that some Gemeinde churches have eliminated the offertory portion of the Mass, because the church tax takes it's place. Unofficial churches, such as the English Mission in Zürich and the traditional pilgrimage churches, generally do include the offertory portion of the Mass. Donation optional, according to your conscience.)


tl;dr - Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and let your conscience be your guide as you render unto God.
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Old 01.10.2016, 14:47
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Re: Church tax

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Your Church Tax is tax deductible btw.

Let's put it this way- if you wanted to play golf in a golf club- would you expect to play for free, whilst the other player pay for their club membership? If you want to be part of a Church,why not support it and all the activities they organise for their brehren and society at large?

(btw I am not religious, in any way, shape or form, and never want to use the Church for services,, including my funeral, so I don't pay).

NotAllThere- totally disagree with your interpretation btw. OP says he is Protestant, so that is his Confession.
If the OP attends a church on a regular basis and puts his donation into the collection of that particular church when he goes surely he's supporting it even though he's not paying the church tax. By doing that he knows that his money is going to be used directly by the church that he is a part of.
That's what I would do in the OP's position anyway.
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Old 01.10.2016, 14:50
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Re: Church tax

I am still a member of my church in the Netherlands and prefer to pay them regularly. So in Switzerland I do not have any religion and do not pay.

Apart from that, as Meloncollie also said, reformed church here is not the reformed church as I know it
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Old 01.10.2016, 15:16
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Re: Church tax

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If one is a registered church member, the church tax you pay goes (mostly) to the church in your Gemeinde. This is important to understand because the local church may or may not be one you are willing to support, or the one you end up attending.

Again, it seems very different to what happens here with the Protestant Church (and I agree about some of the dictates and attitudes of the Catholic Church in CH btw). In Neuchâtel 'EREN' Eglise Réformée Neuchâteloise- receives the tax money and distributes accordingly to all Parishes. In my area only, with 11 villages- the Protestant Church has no longer got a Vicar and staff per village Parish, and 2 Vicars and supporting staff cover the whole area and are funded by the central Neuchâtel Eren. Services on Sunday take place in one or two of the local Churches - in turn.

They also run many activities for the locals, be they religious or not- for the handicapped, alcoholics, families and mums, and visit the sick, the elderly, etc. The work they do for the local community is immense- and for all, irrespective of religion. I support them with some of those activities instead of paying Church tax.

Roeger, how different is the Dutch Reformed Church to the Swiss Reformed Church, I'd be interested to know. Thanks.
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Old 01.10.2016, 15:33
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Re: Church tax

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Your Church Tax is tax deductible btw.
Thats not correct, it's an additional tax that is paid if you are a member of certain religions.
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Old 01.10.2016, 15:47
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Re: Church tax

Yes, an extra (very small amount) tax, which, like all Charity Donations - is indeed tax deductible!

BM- the donation given at the end of a service don't go to that particular 'Church' but part to the local parish (in our case made up of 11 villages) and part to the Diocese, eg Eren Neuchâtel. On average, it is only a very small number of people who attend week in, week out- give donations on the day PLUS pay Church Tax- and as such do carry a really unfair financial burden. Those who attend for baptism, weddings, funerals and Christmas service contribute very little indeed.

Totally unfair on the Protestant Church who have for a very very long time taken care of the needs of all locals with special needs, be it handicap, depression, alcohol and drug problems, the elderly, OAP homes, etc, etc.

It would take decades and more to provide alternatives for the above on a non religious basis, and more social services- and cost all tax payers a lot of extra tax too.

(I have no axe to grind- I am non religious, and do not pay the Church tax. I expect nothing from them and would not call them to help me in my hour of need - just saying that not contributing to a service you expect for yourself and family when in need - and expect others to increasingly cough up for you and your family and society- is just unfair).
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Old 01.10.2016, 15:56
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Re: Church tax

if you are religious, it is critical that you pay church tax.
there are several known cases where people were refused entry to heaven by St Peter because they refused to pay tax.
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Old 01.10.2016, 15:58
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Re: Church tax

Lol

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if you are religious, it is critical that you pay church tax.
There are several known cases where people were refused entry to heaven by st peter because they refused to pay tax.
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Old 01.10.2016, 16:06
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Re: Church tax

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Yes, an extra (very small amount) tax, which, like all Charity Donations - is indeed tax deductible!
Again your mistaken, your taxable income does not drop as a result of paying church tax. It's not a charity donation which is tax deductible. Church tax is a TAX not a deduction. The clue is in the name.

Perhaps you would like to make another bet with me, but this time if you loose please provide proof that you paid.
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Old 01.10.2016, 16:15
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Re: Church tax

It's worth pointing out that "Protestant" is a broad church (if you'll pardon the pun).

If the OP intends to attend a German-language Evangelical Reformed church in her local area, then it makes sense for her to state that she is a protestant on her forms and to pay her share of the tax.

If, however, she intends to attend a non-state supported church, such as the International Protestant Church or St Andrew's, then "konfessionslos" is the correct box to tick.

This has caught out many a "protestant" when they first arrive in Switzerland. I'm just glad I was still an atheist when I first filled all my forms in. As far as the state is concerned, I still am. As far as my church is concerned, I'm not.
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Old 01.10.2016, 17:26
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Re: Church tax

Fair enough DB.

Again re tac deductible, it perhaps depends on C/Kanton. In NE and GE, Church Tax is entirely optional, and therefore seen as a pure and simple donation to charity- and is therefore tax deductible- according to our very trustworthy accountant.

As for your stupid slanderous comment FM- you can take a very high jump can't wait for the film about Latifa to come out, une grand dame indeed and was very glad to support. Will have to check with accountant if donation to a charity outside SWitzerland is tax deductible. Thanks for reminding me, dear.

From getax.ch:

Un don avantageux fiscalement
Donner aux Eglises vous procure également un avantage
fiscal. Vous pouvez déduire vos dons pour l’impôt cantonal
et communal jusqu’à hauteur de
20%
du revenu net
imposable avant la déduction du don lui-même

A gift which is financially advantageous
Giving to your Church affrods you a fiancial advantage. You can deduct your gifts up to 20% of your net imposabe income (before gift).

Would you like the link to Latifa's charity for your bet donation?

Last edited by Odile; 01.10.2016 at 17:38.
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Old 01.10.2016, 17:35
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Re: Church tax

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Fair enough DB.

Again re tac deductible, it perhaps depends on C/Kanton. In NE and GE, Church Tax is entirely optional, and therefore seen as a pure and simple donation to charity- and is therefore tax deductible- according to our very trustworthy accountant.

As for your stupid slanderous comment FM- you can take a very high jump can't wait for the film about Latifa to come out, une grand dame indeed and was very glad to support. Will have to check with accountant if donation to a charity outside SWitzerland is tax deductible. Thanks for reminding me, dear.
What has something written ever been slanderous? If what I wrote was untrue it could be libel, however you have always refused to show a receipt, you originally had claimed you had paid then back tracked to say you would pay the next Thursday. If you feel you look bad, then it's your own fault, post a receipt & the matter will be closed.
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