Instead of the state Church Fund with millions of zlotys, there will be a voluntary tax deduction for priests, announces Deputy Prime Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz. Prime Minister Donald Tusk gave him six months to do so. The amount of the deduction may be crucial for the agreement.
This is the beginning of the end of the Church Fund. – We will work mainly on a solution related to the deduction of a specific tax percentage for churches and religious associations – announced Deputy Prime Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz.
Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz became the chairman of the inter-ministerial team for the Church Fund. A week ago, a team was appointed by Donald Tusk, who is to find a way to liquidate the fund within six months.
– The Church Fund is a relic of the past. It was a fund that was supposed to return funds for property that was taken over in the 1950s – notes Agnieszka Buczyńska, Minister for Civil Society, member of the team for the Church Fund.
Replacing the Church Fund with a tax deduction was the idea of the previous government of Donald Tusk. In 2013, a working draft of the agreement was created, in which a voluntary half-percent tax deduction was agreed. After all, the fund was not liquidated, but now it will be different. – This is a topic that we need to discuss together with our coalition partners – says Andrzej Domański, Minister of Finance, member of the team for the Church Fund.
Among other things, the amount of the deduction will be determined. – You need to make calculations here, the tax system has changed, we have a large tax-free amount, many people who would like to pay for religious associations and churches may not pay taxes – says Dr. Sławomir Dudek, economist at the Warsaw School of Economics, president of the Institute of Public Finance.
Financing the Church in other countries
In Spain, a tax deduction of seven tenths of percent can only be allocated to the Catholic Church. In Hungary, the deduction for any religious association is one percent. In Italy – eight tenths, but the division of the money from the deduction is also decided by those who do not pay income tax
– The taxpayer’s vote has the character of casting a vote in a kind of plebiscite or referendum on proportions – explains Fr. prof. Piotr Stanisz, head of the Department of Religious Law at the Catholic University of Lublin
The issue of smaller religious associations that have fewer believers than the Catholic Church will also be considered. – For us, this amount, which would cover the insurance of clergy, is significant and here I would like the discussion to continue and for us to reach some consensus – says Bishop Andrzej Malicki from the Evangelical Methodist Church, president of the Polish Ecumenical Council.
The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy is to take care of the write-off regarding smaller religious associations. – We expect that this dialogue may also be difficult, but it will be firm on our part. Because we believe that it is high time to liquidate the Church Fund – comments Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk, Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy, member of the team for the Church Fund.
This year, the Church Fund amounts to PLN 257 million.
Main photo source: Fakty TVN