Freedom of Religion and Church Taxes in Europe

Although freedom of religion seems, prima facie, to have little relevance to taxation, church taxes raise many interesting legal questions in relation to this human right. In this contribution, the authors identify potential issues linked to the levying of church taxes when taxpayers are individuals. They also raise the question as to whether taxpayers' freedom of religion is violated when they pay general taxes whose revenue is used, directly or indirectly, to finance the activity of a religious organization they do not belong to. In addition, they pay attention to the question of entitlement to the freedom of religion of spiritual communities, other non-profit aiming legal persons as well as profit aiming legal persons, and examine whether a compulsory church tax for legal persons violates their freedom of religion.