Pope Calls on Churches to Lose Tax Exemptions

September 17, 2015 Taxation in Italy

VATICAN – The Pope is calling on churches in Italy to take house refugees or lose their lucrative tax-exempt status.

In a new interview aired by the Portuguese Catholic media outlet Ranascenca, Pope Francis has called for religious groups to lose their tax benefits if they do not use their resources to aid the poor.

The Pope noted that churches in Italy often use their facilities to run hotel and similar accommodation for a profit, however, these facilities could also be converted to house poor families or refuges.

He went on to say that if the churches run their facilities for a profit, then they should be required to pay income taxes like a normal business.

Currently, churches in Italy are exempt from income earned on accommodation, if the accommodation question has an attached church.

The Pope’s words came after he expressed frustration at the fact that only four churches in the country have taken in refugees after he made a call for them to do so almost two years ago.

It is estimated that the Catholic church in Italy currently holds over EUR 10 billion in property across the country.

Photo By: Raffaele Esposito