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Old 07.03.2020, 12:12
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Beware of church tax

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.

Last edited by Iskander; 07.03.2020 at 12:46.
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Old 07.03.2020, 12:15
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Re: Beware of church tax

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Some years ago when I registered in Zurich I was assigned a church tax without being asked and without my permission. When I went back to the registration office to ask for this tax to be removed (since I do not use any church services) 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.
In short you should have paid attention to the documents you sign...
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Old 07.03.2020, 12:17
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Re: Beware of church tax

You were not deceived. You filled in your confession (catholic, protestant, muslim, hindu, jedi...), and so were considered to be liable to church tax. You have to put in that you have no confession (Konfessionslos) in order to avoid it.
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Old 07.03.2020, 12:22
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Re: Beware of church tax

Yes of course, I did not pay attention, I just thought I can trust them. I still think they should not have tried to insert a tax I did not request or agree on. I did not fill in any confession, they filled it in for me.
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Old 07.03.2020, 12:26
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Re: Beware of church tax

I have a similar experience with general tax. I never asked for it but they sent me a bill
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Old 07.03.2020, 12:31
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Re: Beware of church tax

I know the form in Wallis that you fill in for your permit, asks your religion, but there is no mention of a tax..... so if you don't know, you just tick the box none the wiser!
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Old 07.03.2020, 12:37
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Re: Beware of church tax

You can always put „other“. Tax only applies to Protestants and Catholics.

Just think of it as the premiums for afterlife insurance...
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Old 07.03.2020, 12:43
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Re: Beware of church tax

LOL, very Zuro centric. As so many things, it changes from K/Canton to K/C. Neuchâtel and Geneva have voted for Church tax to be optional (how we ended up with this house) ... and here, other dominations are Christian Catholic Church (sort of Anglican, women priests, etc). Judaism in La Chaux-de-Fonds has a long Jewish tradition and history, and benefits from tax exoneration and other fiscal advantages, but not Church tax- they get contributions directly from members.
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Old 07.03.2020, 13:08
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Re: Beware of church tax

While I know all too well that 'selber schuld' is a fundamental principle here...

In defence of the OP, if one is coming from a country where there is no such thing as a church tax - indeed a culture where a church tax would be unthinkable - one likely would not know what checking the religion box could mean.

And I have heard plenty of stories where a bureaucrat assigned the dominant cantonal religion when the question is left blank.

It's easy for a newbie coming from a non-European country to get blindsided by the whole church tax concept.

As many of us have experienced in one way or another, with varying consequences, when moving to a new country and culture we often don't know what we don't know and so don't know to ask.

So to the OP: Sorry you went through the hassle; this is one of likely many 'newbie mistakes' you may run into as you settle in. Glad it's been corrected. For your files, did you get a copy of the corrected registration?

For those interested:

In Kt ZH, here's how to de-register from the Catholic church:
https://www.zhkath.ch/ueber-uns/mitg...irchenaustritt

And here from the Reformed church:
https://www.zhref.ch/intern/recht/fo...mitgliedschaft
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Old 07.03.2020, 13:09
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Re: Beware of church tax

You declare your tax when you register with the commune.

Then no matter what you put in the tax declaration, they will take the religion as described when you registered.

Which is a little misleading as Zurich tax has the drop-down field that looks like a "choice".
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Old 07.03.2020, 16:37
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Re: Beware of church tax

Yes. They tried to hit me with an atheist tax
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Old 07.03.2020, 17:59
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Re: Beware of church tax

Fortunately I was warned when I arrived here. I put down agnostic and that was accepted. When I moved to Vaud thé Genevois obviously passed along that tid-bit.

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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Old 07.03.2020, 18:01
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Re: Beware of church tax

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Fortunately I was warned when I arrived here. I put down agnostic and that was accepted. When I moved to Vaud thé Genevois obviously passed along that tid-bit.

If the Churches need money, perhaps they could sell off their gilted ceilings and palaces. God doesn’t need those, does s/he?
Well thank god you did not put down Shia Islam!
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Old 07.03.2020, 18:36
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Re: Beware of church tax

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Yes of course, I did not pay attention, I just thought I can trust them. I still think they should not have tried to insert a tax I did not request or agree on. I did not fill in any confession, they filled it in for me.

So on top of everything else you allowed someone you don't know to fill out a form on your behalf and then signed it would out reviewing the contents....
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Old 07.03.2020, 19:12
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Re: Beware of church tax

bowlie ''If the Churches need money, perhaps they could sell off their gilted ceilings and palaces. God doesn’t need those, does s/he? ''

we have had this discussion in the past on EF- and as I explained then, it is not so simple.

I am not a believer and have chosen NOT to pay Church tax accordingly. But you need to look at the history of The Reformed Church in CH to understand that, unlike the Church of England, or the Catholic Church - it has no land and no inherited funds or treasures. And because the Church always traditionally provided care and support for the elderly, the sick, the poor, the alcoolics and drug addicts, etc, etc - that is what the Church tax was mainly used for, and still is. Currently, since Neuchâtel people voted to make said tax voluntary- the Reformed Church is truly struggling to continue the above without- as the Canton has not picked up the bill (which would mean raising taxes). And at the same time, the Church is still expected by those who do not pay the tax, to officiate for baptisms, weddings and funerals - and provide support and care when people are down.

Last edited by Odile; 08.03.2020 at 10:14.
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Old 07.03.2020, 19:28
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Re: Beware of church tax

Well Odile, I think they need to have a hard look at their business model. They, perhaps, need to look at charging more for baptisms, weddings and funerals.

Their popularity is falling dramatically in this country, and in many others. Perhaps the first thing they need do is to look at that fact, and ask themselves why.
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Old 07.03.2020, 19:45
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Re: Beware of church tax

Charging more for the above would not cover it at all.

But I agree- just trying to explain that historically they have taken the rôle of social services- and when and if the model changes- taxes will have to be raised to pay for it.
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Old 07.03.2020, 19:48
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Re: Beware of church tax

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Well Odile, I think they need to have a hard look at their business model. They, perhaps, need to look at charging more for baptisms, weddings and funerals.

Their popularity is falling dramatically in this country, and in many others. Perhaps the first thing they need do is to look at that fact, and ask themselves why.

And perhaps what you need to do is learn about religion, respect people's right to their beliefs and stop making silly remarks. Religion is not about numbers, it's not a popularity competition, it is as simple as that.
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Old 07.03.2020, 19:53
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Re: Beware of church tax

Whatever, this is not the place and time to debate religion. But I object to the state funding it, either directly or indirectly. They should respect my beliefs as well.
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Old 07.03.2020, 20:05
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Re: Beware of church tax

I agree, and in Neuchâtel, they do. All I am doing is explaining that it is not as simple as selling 'gold ceilings and treasures'.

The Neuchâtel Reformed Church has had to sell many of their Vicarages (hurrah, we said) - and trim down staff drastically. Vicars and staff are shared and services spread out to Parishes on some sort of rosta. But they sill provide social services to many groups of vulnerable people - a lot on a volunteer basis. We help in our own non religious way. I do think it is hypocritical of people who refuse to pay, to expect to benefit from Church services when it suits them.

Some of the local Vicars are regularly asked to officiate for weddings and funerals, and baptisms- and specifically asked to 'tone the God bit down' - knowing they are just video opportunities. I can see how they feel misused. And how those who do continue to pay Church Tax, also feel they bear a truly unfair 'burden', both in financial and volunteering time and energy.

Last edited by Odile; 08.03.2020 at 10:14.
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