published: 13.03.2013, 13:35 | updated: 13.03.2013 13:35:57
Prague - Churches in the Czech Republic will not be exempted from income tax in the sale of returned property, under a bill the Senate passed smoothly today and that is yet to be signed by President Milos Zeman.
This may be the first legislation he will get for signature since he was sworn as head of state on March 8.
Churches should pay taxes in the sale of movable as well as immovable items that will be returned to them within the property settlement with the state.
They will only continue to be exempted from income tax in acquiring the property.
The proceeds from the taxation are estimated at half a billon to two billion crowns.
The state is to return to churches property worth some 75 billion crowns that was confiscated from them by the communist regime.
The amendment is based on an agreement that MP Michal Doktor (Jihocesi 2012) struck with the government coalition in exchange for helping it push through the bill on property return in the Chamber of Deputies last November.
Under the passed bill churches were to be exempted from tax because the transfer of property and its sale were exempted from tax under the general restitution law of 1992.
Besides the return of property, the state is also to pay churches over the next 30 years a financial compensation of 59 billon crowns, increased by inflation, for the property that cannot be returned to them because it is now owned by municipalities and regions.
At the same time the state will gradually stop covering clergymen´s salaries totalling to 1.5 billion crowns annually.
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