An outdated tax anomaly – charitable status of relgion

By Ken Perrott 13/04/2014 2


Here is a New Zealand Kickstarter project well worth supporting – a film which sets out to answer the questions:

  • Why do religions pay few taxes?
  • Why do companies owned by religions also avoid tax?
  • With more non-believers than ever – is this fair?

Pennies from Heaven – A Documentary about religion and tax. by Toby Ricketts — Kickstarter.

The tax-free and rates-free  charitable status of religions in this day and age is an anomaly which will eventually need resolving.  As the proposal says:

Despite this huge rise in the number of non-believers and increased focus on the importance of separation of church and state, most ‘secular’ governments continue to subsidise religious organisations; providing them with broad tax immunity (including any companies or corporations that they own), local rates exemptions and other entitlements. While the public expectation is that all religions are behaving as charities in the traditional sense (working to relieve poverty and advance the public good, etc.), the reality is that some churches are behaving more like corporations; stockpiling cash and buying external investments (putting aside for the moment the mansions, sports cars and diamond rings sported by bishops and ministers). The result of this tax break for the religious is that there is less money for education, healthcare, conservation and other core state functions that would benefit a nation as a whole.”

The problem is highlighted in this report – Religious financial privileges in New Zealand.

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2 Responses to “An outdated tax anomaly – charitable status of relgion”

  • Personally, I don’t think the number of non-believers (or number of believers) is relevant.

    For me it’s simply that they ought to treated as just another interest group and that all interest groups be treated the same without any special claims for one type of group.

  • Now look. There is nothing wrong with religious institutions and their associated businesses having tax free status. After all, they desperately need the funds to ensure their kids are indoctrinated into their religion so that they have sufficient directors in the future to ensure the rest homes are available for those poor old “owners”. Oh…and they also get to collect the govt super!!! What a deal.