Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has finally officially announced that the Vatican would be taxed on non-religious, commercial property, the BBC reports. It has been exempt from property taxes since 2005.The taxes could earn the government anywhere from $650 million to $2.6 billion a year, municipal government bodies told The New York Times.
Italy’s Catholic Church owns 110,000 properties — including residential property and shopping complexes — worth about 9 billion euros (about $12 billion), all of which were untaxed.
The European Commission had instituted an inquiry in 2010 into whether tax exemption for the church equaled illegal state aid and stifled competition.
The pressure mounted on Monti when following their government’s latest austerity measure package, more than 130,000 people signed an online petition calling for the Church’s tax exempt status to be revoked.
Tax authorities will calculate how much of a property is used purely for religious purposes and tax it proportionately, according to Corriere della Sera.
In a statement on Thursday, the Italian Bishops Conference said, “We are waiting to find out the exact formulation of the text to be able to offer a more precise opinion.”
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