Monday, October 29, 2007

Render Unto Bureaucrats

They're not having any of the wall of separation stuff in the European Union:

Brussels has demanded the Spanish Roman Catholic Church opens its books to reveal any fiscal advantages it enjoys which may break EU laws. The European Commission has asked the Spanish Government discloses the ‘fiscal benefits’ of the Church.

....The EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “I would only like to say that there is an investigation into the fiscal benefits of the Spanish Church. We want to see if they are justified or excessive or constitute an illegal subsidy.”

....Last year, the Church received €5.05million in tax benefits and every year is paid around €30m directly from the State. The Church still enjoys many financial advantages granted under the regime of the late dictator General Francisco Franco. It is exempt from council tax, income tax and inheritance tax. It is also not taxed on donations.

In Spain, all taxpayers have a portion of their income tax paid to the Church if they give permission. If they refuse to let their taxes go to the Church, the state makes up the difference.

Every year fewer people give their income tax contributions to the Church. In 1993, 42 percent of Spaniards allowed their income tax to be paid to Rome, while in 2004, it had fallen to 33 percent.

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