German Church Tax is almost as controversial as the much-hated Rundfunkbeitrag public TV tax.
From the outside, most people would consider Germany to be a broadly non-religious, modern, secular state. However, the reality is that even though the number of active members of the church, especially amongst the younger generation, continues to decline, the church and state are very much intertwined.
How do I avoid paying German church tax and what are the consequences?
In Germany, both the Protestant and Catholic churches, as well as Jewish denominations, are legally empowered to collect taxes from their members. This is administered by the Finanzamt, which in turn takes a small administration fee from the moneys collected.
How is it collected?
If you are a regular, salaried employee, German Church Tax, or Kirchensteuer, is collected through the standard pay-as-you-earn income tax mo