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Determined to ensure that even the Catholic Church contributes to the costs of overcoming the ongoing and deteriorating financial crisis in Spain, Spain’s main opposition Socialist Party (PSOE) has recently launched a nationwide initiative calling for property tax to be imposed on church property and real estate.
Until now, the Catholic Church has been exempt from property tax, in accordance with a concordat concluded between Spain and the Vatican in 1979, and subsequently modified in 1998.
The PSOE party now plans to submit applications to all town and municipal councils calling for the tax to be levied on residences and other real estate owned by the church, with the exception of places of worship.
Defending the initiative and the party’s plans to end the church’s tax privilege, PSOE board member Oscar Lopez underlined the need for all citizens to take part in efforts to combat the crisis, including the church.
Although conservative-led states such as Leon, Zamora and Valladolid are currently examining the idea of levying such a tax on the Catholic Church, the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is opposed to the idea of modifying the Vatican treaties.
It is estimated that the church currently owns around 100,000 properties in Spain, although around a half of these are religious buildings.