I am a student at a private Catholic high school in New York. I am currently doing a project on the Middle Ages and had this question: does the Catholic church today require for you to pay taxes?

  • It's possible there are some, but in general no. And 'tithing' was strictly only some for the Israelite nation, not Christians. See What does the Bible say about tithing? – curiousdannii Nov 24 '14 at 23:46
  • Thank you! I am sorry for my ignorance because I am not Christian. :) – Jane Kjellberg Nov 24 '14 at 23:52
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    No need to apologize. You don't have to be a Christian to ask questions here. – DJClayworth Nov 25 '14 at 0:02
  • This question is too broad. "Churches" means all Christian churches, which is a lot of opinions. Since you attend a Catholic school, you should probably ask for specifically the Catholic opinion, but that has kind of been asked: Do Catholics tithe? The tax part doesn't seem to have been asked previously. – fгedsbend Nov 25 '14 at 1:48

What a great question. The answer depends very much on what church we are talking about, where you are in the world, and what we mean by 'require'.

Let's consider the slightly different question: "Can churches legally enforce the collection of taxes for themselves". The answer is strictly no. There is nowhere in the world where churches can collect taxes. However, in some parts of the world the government will collect taxes on behalf of the church. The rate is set by the government and not the church, and is usually quite low. Germany, Italy and Sweden are among the countries that do that. Wikipedia has a page on the subject if you want more details.

As well as that there are some churches that require their members to pay some fixed contribution towards the church. The Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) is an example. They cannot legally enforce this, but they can, and do, remove some membership privileges from anyone who does not pay 10% of their income.

Those examples aside, most churches get their income from voluntary donations, mostly from their members. Some strongly encourage their members to give a fixed percentage of income (usually 10%) but most allow people to give whatever they feel is right. There is good biblical justification for this approach.

  • "There is nowhere in the world where churches can collect taxes." Even the Vatican? – curiousdannii Nov 25 '14 at 0:03
  • @curiousdannii OK, I admit I didn't think of that. Let me know if you find out. It would be an interesting answer. – DJClayworth Nov 25 '14 at 0:04
  • I just took a look and it doesn't look like they currently do anything that would be classified as a tax, but they probably could if they wanted to! The only thing might be postage stamps. – curiousdannii Nov 25 '14 at 0:04
  • I guess if everyone in the country is paid by the church, there isn't a lot of point in collecting taxes. – DJClayworth Nov 25 '14 at 0:07
  • Are you positive the Mormon church removes from membership if the tithing records are not a full 10%? I thought they just disallowed certain privileges like entering temples. For all I know that's basically the same thing. – Bubbles Nov 25 '14 at 0:46

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