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  #41  
Old 09.03.2020, 16:15
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Re: Beware of church tax

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I don't understand the Neuchatel church tax.

I read on the NE.ch website that it was a voluntary tax and you choose how much to pay.

When I play around on the tax software and put a Christian religion, it adds a Church tax automatically, with no ability to change the value.

I'm not religious, I was just curious
The amount suggested is 11% of the amount of cantonal tax paid by the person but that is not obligatory. The tax authorities send out two payment slips with the amount left blank and the person is free to choose how much they decide to pay based on their personal situation. They can pay it in one or two goes.
The tax office will forward the money paid to the church chosen by you when you declared your faith. It is kept separate from the general tax.

We don’t pay it but we have friends who do.
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  #42  
Old 09.03.2020, 16:37
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Re: Beware of church tax

Vaud is an odd case. You pay church tax whether you want to or not and the canton dishes out to the "recognized" churches, which I believe are currently protestants, catholics and jews. Of course there now more muslims than jews in the canton, but when the question of dishing out some of the cash to muslims came up, it was extremely quickly brushed under the carpet.
The canton justifies collecting the tax from everyone on the grounds that it outsources certain services to the churches concerned. I don't know what services that might be and I suspect if anyone asks they won't get a very clear answer.
When the revised cantonal constitution came up for approval a few years ago, I turned it down on the grounds that it started off "au nom de dieu". Constitutions are written by humans and I frankly have no idea what any kind of god have to do with them.
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  #43  
Old 09.03.2020, 17:32
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Re: Beware of church tax

Melon ''If the community is not funding needed social services available to all from general taxation but rather is relying on the church (or any private group) to provide those necessary services, then is that not a red flag? That necessary services provided to all are paid for only by one segment of taxpayers says there is something wrong with the system.''

agreed- but it has to be put in a historical concept and I felt it was important to do so. Only one generation or two ago, 99% of the population here would be either Protestant, Roman Catholic, or in some parts of Canton, Jewish or Christian Catholic (closest to Anglican)- and they were the ones taking care of the 'fragile' members of society. In response to Bowlie's :''If the Churches need money, perhaps they could sell off their gilted ceilings and palaces. God doesn’t need those, does s/he? ''.
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  #44  
Old 09.03.2020, 17:35
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Re: Beware of church tax

I remember when I was filling in the forms for a residency permit in Baselstadt, first thing my husband said was not to put down my religion as I'd have to pay church tax.
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  #45  
Old 09.03.2020, 17:56
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Re: Beware of church tax

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No expert, but my understanding is that it is optional- but the same % for all.

In NE, only 1/3 rd of those who declare their Protestant faith on their registration documents, choose to pay Church Tax- but still expect the Church to look after them if they get into trouble, become sick or infirm, or just 'old', go into hospital or a care home, etc, etc- and of course for weddings and funerals.
I see - so it does seem to be optional... I just didn't see any way to eliminate it from the tax return using the software.... if you were to declare yourself religious but didn't want to pay the tax.
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  #46  
Old 09.03.2020, 18:23
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Re: Beware of church tax

It is currently only optional in 2 Cantons, Vaud and Geneva- eg you can declare your religion, and opt not to pay. We use a friend to do our accounts, so no idea about the software.
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  #47  
Old 09.03.2020, 18:25
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Re: Beware of church tax

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So if I were to turn up at a local catholic church and line up for the bread and wine would they ask to see proof that I'd paid a membership fee? I'm pretty sure they would not.

I assume you just mean the church tax, but how does the church know who does or does not pay it, or even who you are in the first place?
You made me laugh Ace- in Zurich or Geneva, probably not...

but in small places like yours or even more so, mine- they know- they surely do
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  #48  
Old 09.03.2020, 18:30
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Re: Beware of church tax

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You made me laugh Ace- in Zurich or Geneva, probably not...

but in small places like yours or even more so, mine- they know- they surely do
Of course they'd know the individual as a churchgoer or not, I just don't see that they'd have access to the register of voters to see who had put what as their confession and therefore who'd paid the church tax.

And even if they did, would they, as meloncollie suggested, actually refuse you the sacraments if they know you don't pay?
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  #49  
Old 09.03.2020, 18:56
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Re: Beware of church tax

Not here- but the Valais is another story altogether. A great friend of mine converted to Catholicism as she wants to be buried with her husband in the village cemetary- and she wouldn't be able to unless she is Catholic.

They certainly would refuse to marry you in Church (and fair enough, I say).
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  #50  
Old 10.03.2020, 13:41
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Re: Beware of church tax

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It is currently only optional in 2 Cantons, Vaud and Geneva- eg you can declare your religion, and opt not to pay. We use a friend to do our accounts, so no idea about the software.
Sorry, but in canton Vaud you don't have any choice. You can declare anything you want as your religion, presumably including Jedi, but the tax gets taken off. Indeed on the tax declaration it doesn't even get a mention, it just goes into the general melting pot and is redistributed to the recognized religious communities.
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  #51  
Old 10.03.2020, 13:44
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Re: Beware of church tax

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Not here- but the Valais is another story altogether. A great friend of mine converted to Catholicism as she wants to be buried with her husband in the village cemetary- and she wouldn't be able to unless she is Catholic.

They certainly would refuse to marry you in Church (and fair enough, I say).
This is not related to whether they're paying the church tax, though, just normal practice for catholic, and many other, churches worldwide.
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  #52  
Old 10.03.2020, 14:37
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Re: Beware of church tax

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Sorry, but in canton Vaud you don't have any choice. You can declare anything you want as your religion, presumably including Jedi, but the tax gets taken off. Indeed on the tax declaration it doesn't even get a mention, it just goes into the general melting pot and is redistributed to the recognized religious communities.
So sorry, meant Neuchâtel and Geneva- not Vaud.
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  #53  
Old 10.03.2020, 15:54
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Re: Beware of church tax

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For me, a practicing Catholic who will not join the Swiss Catholic church, it's a matter that goes to the heart of my faith.
[...]
It's not the idea of supporting one's church financially, as most believers support their churches freely. Rather it is the idea of financial support of the church as a tax, facilitated by the secular state, that I find problematic.
[...]
As said, that the state enforces collection of church taxes is problematic for me. Church/state divide aside, as I see it, a state-mandated church tax guarantees revenue, effectively insulating the church hierarchy from the concerns of the laity.

Let's face it - unaccountability is what enabled so many Church scandals. In fact, the reason that the US bishops finally were forced to deal with the abuse scandals is that angry parishioners simply stopped donating. Voluntary donation - and withholding donations - is a very powerful tool for the laity to promote good things going on and demand change when needed.
@Meloncollie: In your canton, there is a difference between the "Church" (which reports to Rome) and the "Cantonal Church" (which collects and spends the tax revenue)
https://sz.kath.ch/#/Dokumente/Rechtssammlung
https://sz.kath.ch/documents/Rechtsammlung/100.pdf §1 and §3.

The (Church) tax revenue which is collected does not go directly to the "Church" but instead goes (in your case) to your Kirchgemeinde. As a member of the Kirchgemeinde you get to vote on (i) how high the tax rate is, and (ii) how the tax revenue shall be used.
https://sz.kath.ch/documents/Rechtsammlung/310.pdf §6

In other words, you already have the full "political" accountability in that the laity can vote against the tax or vote in how the raised taxes are used.
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Last edited by Mica; 10.03.2020 at 15:54. Reason: specific to meloncollie's canton
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  #54  
Old 10.03.2020, 23:40
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Re: Beware of church tax

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The (Church) tax revenue which is collected does not go directly to the "Church" but instead goes (in your case) to your Kirchgemeinde.
Unfortunately, it's the attitudes and practices of the local Kirchgemeide that I cannot in good conscience support.

Hence my opting out of Swiss Catholicism.
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  #55  
Old 11.03.2020, 01:27
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Re: Beware of church tax

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The amount suggested is 11% of the amount of cantonal tax paid by the person ...
I am not religious. My wife is Catholic. When we moved to Basel, we were told that we'd have to pay a tax if we registered as Catholics. So, to me as the bread winner, it was a no-brainer, and my wife agreed.

In the meantime, my wife attends service frequently with one, two, or three children in tow. Also, we've baptized two children in the local Catholic church and given a very modest donation as a gift for the sacraments.

Now that my kids are getting older and we are more settled here, I wonder if we should actually get registered as Catholics. This is mainly to allow my wife and children to get more involved with the church community, e.g. Sunday school.

Can anyone say how about how much tax one pays in BS to be Catholic? Also, is it capped, or as mentioned for several Cantons, is there a voluntary nature to some of the obligation?

Thanks in advance.
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  #56  
Old 11.03.2020, 07:10
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Re: Beware of church tax

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The amount suggested is 11% of the amount of cantonal tax paid by the person but that is not obligatory. The tax authorities send out two payment slips with the amount left blank and the person is free to choose how much they decide to pay based on their personal situation. They can pay it in one or two goes.
The tax office will forward the money paid to the church chosen by you when you declared your faith. It is kept separate from the general tax.

We don’t pay it but we have friends who do.
The title of this thread really should be changed to Re: Beware of church
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  #57  
Old 15.03.2020, 18:44
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Re: Beware of church tax

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When I went to the registration office in Zurich I was assigned a church tax without being asked and without my permission. Afterwards I went back to the registration office to ask for this tax to be removed (since I do not use any church services) and I was even mocked by the person at the counter and it took some time to convince them to remove it. When you register, be sure to specify whether you want to pay the church tax or not, and make sure they do accordingly.
No wonder the clerk at the Office des Étrangers in my Valais commune looked at me funny when I told her “Je suis Juif”. The more so since my Aarhus ancestry goes back 200 years. She didn’t speak German either: I had to translate into French my certificat d’état civil.
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  #58  
Old 15.03.2020, 21:30
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Re: Beware of church tax

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Vaud is an odd case. You pay church tax whether you want to or not and the canton dishes out to the "recognized" churches, which I believe are currently protestants, catholics and jews. Of course there now more muslims than jews in the canton, but when the question of dishing out some of the cash to muslims came up, it was extremely quickly brushed under the carpet.
The canton justifies collecting the tax from everyone on the grounds that it outsources certain services to the churches concerned. I don't know what services that might be and I suspect if anyone asks they won't get a very clear answer.
When the revised cantonal constitution came up for approval a few years ago, I turned it down on the grounds that it started off "au nom de dieu". Constitutions are written by humans and I frankly have no idea what any kind of god have to do with them.
I’d love to see that survive some kind of human rights challenge.
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