Here is a New Zealand Kickstarter project well worth supporting – a film which sets out to answer the questions:
- Why do religions pay few taxes?
- Why do companies owned by religions also avoid tax?
- With more non-believers than ever – is this fair?
The tax-free and rates-free charitable status of religions in this day and age is an anomaly which will eventually need resolving. As the proposal says:
“Despite this huge rise in the number of non-believers and increased focus on the importance of separation of church and state, most ‘secular’ governments continue to subsidise religious organisations; providing them with broad tax immunity (including any companies or corporations that they own), local rates exemptions and other entitlements. While the public expectation is that all religions are behaving as charities in the traditional sense (working to relieve poverty and advance the public good, etc.), the reality is that some churches are behaving more like corporations; stockpiling cash and buying external investments (putting aside for the moment the mansions, sports cars and diamond rings sported by bishops and ministers). The result of this tax break for the religious is that there is less money for education, healthcare, conservation and other core state functions that would benefit a nation as a whole.”
The problem is highlighted in this report - Religious financial privileges in New Zealand.