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Generic Tax Name Church tax
Tax name in the national language Kirchensteuer
Tax name in English Church tax
Member State DE-Germany
Tax in force since 1850/01/01
If abolished, date on which the tax ceases to apply
Business version date 2015/01/01
Version date 2015/02/17
This file was last updated on

Type of tax
Direct taxes Personal income tax
Corporate income tax
Other

Indirect taxes VAT
Excise duty (EU harmonised)
Alcoholic beverages
Energy products and electricity
Manufactured tobacco
Other

Social security contribution Employers
Employees
Other
 
Legal base

Church tax is levied on the basis of church tax acts enacted by the legislative bodies of the federal states (Länder). The Länder authorities are also responsible for supervising the relevant Church regulations.

 
Who sets
The tax rate is set by




The tax base is set by




The reliefs are set by




Comments
 
Beneficiary





Comments

As a rule church tax is collected by the Länder, but the revenue accrues to the Churches. The various Churches that are entitled to levy church tax use the proceeds to help them fulfil their ecclesiastical duties.

 
Geographical Scope

Federal Republic of Germany

 
Taxpayers

Tax is payable by all those affiliated with a religious community which is a public corporation charging church tax in the parochial district (of their faith) in which they live. The criterion of "affiliation'' may be replaced by "membership'' or "membership of a Church community'', etc. When persons withdraw their membership to the Church, their obligation to pay church tax ends.

 
Tax object and basis of assessment

The tax base for church tax is as a rule the annual assessed income tax (or in cases of non assessed wage earners: wage tax) computed in accordance with Section 51 a (2) of the Income Tax Act, whether or not church tax is administered by the regular tax offices or by those of the Church itself.

Since 2009 capital yields are underlying new rules: As the capital yields tax is now a withholding tax in full discharge of tax liability, tax payers can choose between church tax withholding executed by the bank and a tax assessment executed by the tax office.

Besides income tax (wage tax), most church tax laws also provide for assessment on the basis of the basic amount of real property tax, although this tax base is now seldom used.

If married couples practise different faiths and if they file a joint tax return, the church tax for each faith is either computed on half of the joint income tax or first computed as if both persons were members of the same faith, and then divided between the two Churches. The second method of computation can only be applied, however, when both church tax rates are the same. If only the husband or the wife is a member of a Church entitled to levy church tax, the tax is always computed on an individual basis. Tax payable by the person who is a Church member will in this case be based on his or her share of the joint income tax or wages tax.

 
Deductions, Allowances, Credits, Exemptions

 
Rate(s) Structure

The tax rate may vary between 8 % and 9 % of income tax (or wages tax), depending on the federal state (Land). Some church tax acts stipulate a minimum tax.

 
Tax due date

The payments of the church tax must be made simultaneously with the advanced payments assessed for the income tax respectively the wage tax and in the above mentioned cases the capital yields tax.

 
Tax collector

As a rule, church tax is assessed and collected by tax offices in the course of income tax assessment. If the taxpayer is subject to wages tax, his or her employer computes the church tax at the rate valid for the employee's place of residence and remits it together with the wages tax to the tax office.

 
Special features

Revenue information:

Year

Annual tax revenue (millions in Euro)

 as % of GDP

2013 

 10,303.00

0.37 

2012

 9,822.00

 0.36

2011

9,304.00

 0.34

2010

9,058.00

0.35

2009

9,270.00

0.38

2008

9,657.00

0.38

2007

8,858.00

0.35

2006

8,271.00

0,35

2005

7,757.00

0.34

2004

7,848.00

0.35

2003

8,512.00

0.38

2002

8,513.00

0.39

2001

8,581.00

0.39

2000

8,936.00

0.42

 
Economic function







Comments
 
Environmental taxes



Comments
 
Tax revenue
ESA95 code 000000

Comments

As church tax accrues to the Churches, church tax isn't part of the national tax revenue (no ESA95 code). Therefore, the ratio church tax as % of total tax revenue should not be computed. Nevertheless, revenue and ratio as % of GDP (dated January 2015) may be found in the special feature above.