Church tax liability
Members of religious communities with the status of a corporation under public law are generally subject to church tax liability in accordance with the Hesse Church Tax Act, if they have their domicile in Hesse. Each religious community decides for itself as to whether or not they exercise their right to collect church tax. The religious communities may transfer the administration of their church taxes to the state of Hesse. The state tax authority of Hesse currently undertakes administration of church taxes for the following religious communities:
- the Evangelic state church
- the Catholic dioceses
- the Old-Catholic church in Hesse
- the Jewish congregation, Frankfurt
- the Landesverband Hessen Jewish congregations entitled to cultural tax
- the Offenbach fee-religious congregation
- the Mainz free-religious congregation
Collection of church tax
Church tax may be collected as
- an additional charge to income tax including the income tax collected through the deduction of tax (tax on wages and capital gains tax)
- contribution in accordance with the basis amount of property tax
- “Kirchgeld” church fees
- special church fees from those subject to church tax, if the spouse or life partner is not a member of a church which collects church tax (church fees in a marriage/civil partnership of differing faiths)
Church tax as an additional charge to the capital gains tax is retained by the investment institution together with the capital gains tax from the capital gains. The investment institution establishes your religious affiliation to this end through the regular access to a database, unless you object to this access to data.
if you have objected to this accessing of data or the deduction of church tax is not undertaken for other reasons, you are obliged to declare the retained capital gains tax for the purposes of church tax collection within the context of your tax declaration.
Leaving the church
Your obligation to pay church tax ends with the expiry of the month in which you officially cease to be a member of the church. If you want to leave the church, since 1 March 2017 you are required declare this to the municipality in whose area you are currently registered as having your main domicile. The fees are €30. The municipality will communicate the change in religious affiliation to a database of the tax authorities. Employers use the electronic income tax attributes (ELStAM) recorded there as a basis for the church tax deductions; where applicable, church tax that has been wrongly collected will be reimbursed. The information regarding the end of the obligation to pay church tax will also be recorded in the database for the retention of church tax as an additional payment to capital gains tax.
- Information sheet by the Oberfinanzdirektion regional tax authorities, Frankfurt am Main, on leaving the church
Who do I have to contact?
You can declare that you are leaving the church to the city or municipality in which you are currently registered as having your main domicile.