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Old 21.12.2008, 23:16
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Church visits without paying church tax

Hi,

We're not religious at all and do not pay church tax. Now we have visitors coming for Christmas who think it would be nice with a visit to the Christmas church. For some reason I have in my head that the Swiss churches would occasionally check whether you've paid the taxes (if you go to church) - could be though that I've just heard it from someone who made a joke.

Could anyone tell whether we can just drop into any church on Christmas without concerns.
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Old 21.12.2008, 23:31
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

Did you want to go to church in English ? Protestant (ie. not Roman Catholic?)...traditional, more modern ?

If so, the two English-speaking churches that I've visited are IPC (International Protestant Church) and St Andrews (Anglican/Episcopal) - they are both 'independent' of the church tax thing, so no issues, you can put your donation in the plate during the service

Both are next to each other in the same street -
www.standrewszurich.ch
www.ipc-zurich.org

We were comfortable in both, they are both 'mainstream' in their teaching/attitude, pretty well-organised, and we've found friendly people at both...
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Old 21.12.2008, 23:32
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

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Hi,

We're not religious at all and do not pay church tax. Now we have visitors coming for Christmas who think it would be nice with a visit to the Christmas church. For some reason I have in my head that the Swiss churches would occasionally check whether you've paid the taxes (if you go to church) - could be though that I've just heard it from someone who made a joke.

Could anyone tell whether we can just drop into any church on Christmas without concerns.
How do you think the Swiss churches would check to see if those attending the occasional Christmas service had paid their church tax??

They can't - but there is a Higher Authority who can....
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Old 22.12.2008, 01:12
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

Relax! Tax evasion's not a criminal offence in Switzerland.
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Old 22.12.2008, 10:03
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

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Relax! Tax evasion's not a criminal offence in Switzerland.
True, but I've heard stories of altar boys being sent to bust some kneecaps for church-tax evaders. Consider yourself warned.
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Old 22.12.2008, 10:06
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

Many thanks for your responses - no worries then..
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Old 22.12.2008, 10:16
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

You can walk into any church and/or take part in a service whether you pay church taxes or not. If you have a guilty conscience, just donate something when they pass the collection.
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Old 22.12.2008, 10:54
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

why should people pay taxes for just having a church service?This is cocky.i think an offering is enough for the church.
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Old 22.12.2008, 11:25
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

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why should people pay taxes for just having a church service?
They don't.
There is a great deal done by the church, the ministers, priests and other lay workers which the general public (even regular churchgoers) have no idea of. (like the Mods and Admin on the Forum if you like!)

JOW - With regards to the guilty conscience, forget it. I've heard of cases where the minister of a church has performed weddings and funerals for people who have left the church and have no longer paid taxes.
I hope you and your guests enjoy the church service if you go to one.
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Old 22.12.2008, 11:32
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

My MIL died in 1999, and although she'd left the church years before my FIL wanted to have a church service at the funeral. The pastor(ess) - lady pastor at the protestant church in Zollikon - had absolutely no problems with that. She didn't go "all religious" and gooey but held a really moving and personal service.
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Old 22.12.2008, 12:14
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

Just beware of head spinning, clothes starting to smoulder and projectile vomit if you haven't paid your tithe, sorry, tax.

As mentioned, big "G" is keeping the books.
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Old 23.12.2008, 00:42
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

From Spiegel Online, Christmas is for Church Members, Say German Politicians:
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People attending midnight mass at German churches may have to bring their tax returns with them in the future, if two politicians have their way: They've called for Christmas services to be confined to regular visitors who pay church tithes.
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Old 23.12.2008, 11:17
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

Yeah, that should work like gangbusters for their public image.
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Old 23.12.2008, 11:24
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

Of course some people just recognise/remember the church and God when they need them.
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Old 23.12.2008, 11:40
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

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Of course some people just recognise/remember the church and God when they need them.
Undoubtedly, there is that. But there's also the fact that a lot of people believe in seperation of state from religion. I really disagree vehemently with the notion of the state a) being concerned with what religion I am b) taxing me differently according to my religious inclinations.

I agree if I belong to a group, I have responsibility to help fund that group. Whether the group in question is a church, or a knitting circle is irrelevant. What I really disagree with is the state taxing me for belonging (regardless of whether that tax is passed on or not). It should be up to me to decide whether I want to put 5chfs or 50 down that week, not up to the state.

I'm not christian, but that just rubs me the wrong way.
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Old 23.12.2008, 11:58
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

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Of course some people just recognise/remember the church and God when they need them.
A bit judgemental don't you think?

JOW's trying to accomodate and be nice to some friends on Christmas. And probably finds the tradition beautiful despite her beliefs. Not being privy to how/if church tax is enforced doesn't deserve the groans and such. JOW's assumption may be silly, but, well, so is the church tax.
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Old 23.12.2008, 12:14
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

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You can walk into any church and/or take part in a service whether you pay church taxes or not. If you have a guilty conscience, just donate something when they pass the collection.
for the record i pay church tax & the first service i went to was asked to fill out my name and address on a form.

I hope this information helps your conscience.
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Old 23.12.2008, 12:16
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

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What I really disagree with is the state taxing me for belonging (regardless of whether that tax is passed on or not). It should be up to me to decide whether I want to put 5chfs or 50 down that week, not up to the state.
I think it's the church congresses' competence to set the tax. The state merely collects it.

If you "believe" in socialism, your party membership at the Social Democrats also depends on your income and wealth so the concept isn't entirely exotic.
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Old 23.12.2008, 13:11
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

I am not a church member, but every once in a while I get the urge to revisit my roots and occasionally attend Mass at the monastery in Einsiedeln. There has never been any problem, I've always felt welcome. That the monastery is a pilgrimage spot with lots of visitors every week probably sets the tone.

(FYI, they do a particularly beautiful orchestral Mass on Christmas Eve (Midnight Mass) and on Christmas day. Both will be very crowded, so if so inclined, go early.)

The English-speaking Catholic Mission in Zürich welcomes all and sundry.

My local parish church is another matter. Bringing visitors to the occasional Mass is grudgingly accepted, but if one attends more than a few times it will be made clear that this is indeed a members-only club. I suspect, though, that this has more to do with being a small close-knit village than any sort of official policy.
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Old 23.12.2008, 13:17
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Re: Church visits without paying church tax

Is church tax another word for renaissance indulgence which was propagated by catholic before renaissance and reformation period of Europe?
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