We are often told on this site that Christians and by default their respective churches help the unfortunate of the world. However churches could do so much more if they paid taxes and those taxes were used correctly. Just to make sure everybody is clear, employees of the church pay taxes on their salaries i.e. pastors, ministers etc but the church as an entity does not pay tax on its income. For a clearer example it is like the CEO of Anglo paying tax on his salary but Anglo as the company not paying any taxes on its income. Could you imagine the outcry were that to happen.
So what does this untaxed money amount to anyway? To make it easier to understand I have decided to use the USA as an example (the figures are easier to find) but these results can be extrapolated across the various world economies.
The various religious organisations in the USA have a combined tax exemption of $71 billion per year! Now what could the American government do with an extra $71 billion? After all this is a government with trillions of dollars of debt. Well let’s break it down:
To feed the hungry in USA - $10 Billion per year
Education (No Child left behind) - $60 Billion per year
So with church tax money the USA could eradicate hunger and ensure every child gets a basic education and they would still have $1 billion left.
There are no figures on what the global church tax exemption amount is, but a conservative figure would be at least five times the USA amount or $355 billion. Now if one takes into consideration that the UN put the figure of eradicating World hunger at $195 billion per year, it doesn’t take a genius to realise that if the churches really cared about the unfortunate they could do something about it.
Fortunately there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel as more and more European countries are looking to repeal their tax exemption laws, with Italy ending theirs in 2013. Unfortunately however, this money will probably still not reach the poor in countries outside of the church being taxed but hopefully it will be put to good use in said country.