South Korean Protestants not happy with church tax plan

South Korean Protestants not happy with church tax plan

When it was announced in June 2017 that South Korea planned to start taxing churches and religious organisations conservative Protestant congregations such as the Christian Council of Korea suggested that it should be up to churches to decide whether or not they should pay taxes.

However, it was reported yesterday (Tuesday) that Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon, above, said that the government will press ahead with plans to impose religious taxes beginning next year.

The government will implement a revision to the tax code that will enable the National Tax Service to levy income taxes of between six and 38 percent on churches, temples and other religious bodies beginning next year.

Kim said he will meet with leaders of religious groups to minimise confusion and ensure fair taxation, but some religious groups are against the government’s move, saying that it would only cause confusion and conflict.

The Communion of Churches in Korea (CCIK) said in a press statement:

We express concern as there is a lack of preparation from the tax authority, and this could cause side effects and confusion.

Last week, the CCIK welcomed the move by some lawmakers led by Representative Kim Jin-pyo of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) to postpone the implementation of the controversial taxation scheme for another two years because he said the National Tax Service is not ready for it.

The issue of taxation first came up in 1968 when then NTS chief Lee Nak-sun officially said the country needed to start collecting income taxes from priests and monks, and South Koreans don’t want the taxation plan to be delayed any longer. Ninety percent of those surveyed saying that the country should levy taxes on priests and monks mainly because Korea is a rapidly aging society facing a shortage of capital resources to finance its growing social costs.

However, some in religious communities support the scheme.  The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) said that clergy have to not only serve God, but must also must carry out their social duties by paying taxes.

18 responses to “South Korean Protestants not happy with church tax plan”

  1. L.Long says:

    Minimize confusion?!?!?! There aint the crap out of them!! If your country has a 501/503 charity exemption then make the crook churches fill the forms like everyone else..nothing confusing there!

  2. Angela_K says:

    Sounds like a good idea to me. Now if only we could tax the religions in the UK, especially the Cof E and Catholic church who have amassed obscene wealth by scamming the gullible. Strip them of their VAT exempt status, their charity status and make them pay business rate on their properties.

  3. barriejohn says:

    “Only the little people pay taxes.” (Leona Hemsley, who went to prison, but not for long enough.)

    I think that EVERYONE should be able to “decide whether or not they should pay taxes”. That seems like a really good idea to me. Can you see any downside to it?

  4. Broga says:

    No change in the UK with a government, and religious PM, who are supporters of faith schools. Merely an indication of their shameless intention to extract our cash to finance their favourite superstition.

  5. Ray says:

    Cheats and hucksters the world over act as conduits to god for the sole purpose of making heaps of easy money. Invent a cult such as The Holy Congregation of Gods Golden Elysium, set yourself up as the pastor, drape yourself in finery and bling, overact to the point of parody when delivering sermons laced with outrageous threats and promises and watch the credulous toss their dish into you coffers. Oh … and it’s tax free too.

    Tax the fuckers to with in a penny of bankruptcy. And is high time the Cancel Tax was abolished too.

    At every chance I get I go into CoE churches and sign the visitors book with my red pen. “As an atheist visiting this CoE church I want the remind everyone that not so long ago it was a Capital offence in England to be a non believer and the that CoE extorted, and still thrive on the public dole, huge amounts of money from every citizen with lies and threats damnation to hell”.

  6. Broga says:

    Ray: A capital offence for being an atheist is a relatively mild punishment. Even today, never mind the past, there are Christians who salivate at the prospect of an atheist being punished by burning in hell for eternity because of not believing.

    The dire warnings, given with such enthusiasm at the prospect of hell for the atheist, sometimes surface on this site. So much for gentle Jesus, all loving God and turn the other cheek.

  7. Ray says:

    No bj what they really enjoyed was the real life barbaric physical torture and execution. And they had some truly awful means of prolonging the spectacle of someone taking hours to die from terrible injuries.

  8. StephenJP says:

    @Ray and Broga: in addition to your excellent points, it is worth noting that the CofE remains all too keen to mount a takeover of community schools (by incorporating them into church-run Multi-Academy Trusts and then removing their governors and changing their status) without putting a penny piece of their own money into the process.

    The CofE likes to pretend that it puts resources into church schools. It doesn’t. Even in the case of “Voluntary Aided” schools, where the church appoints the majority of the governors (and can insist that teachers be practising Christians), what mostly happens is that the Diocese takes reception of the Government grant for capital expenditure and doles it out to its VA schools as it sees fit.

    In the UK there is now at least a plurality, if not an absolute majority, of people who have no religion. It is an outrage that taxpayers should still be subsidising religious privilege and indoctrination in our schools.

  9. 1859 says:

    Peddling faith and getting the faithful to pay for it is a business – pure and simple. Therefore they should pay taxes like every other business – contribute to the general good not with meaningless platitudes, but with hard cash.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Ray: I think you may be confusing Broga with me, but I was thinking along the same lines as you. One of the excuses given for the barbaric and sadistic torture was that if a person’s sufferings were drawn out and exacerbated, then that would lessen the amount of suffering that he or she would have to endure in the “hereafter”, were they to repent and be put on the road to eventual eternal bliss (which, of course, was the whole object of the exercise, as we all know!). I think, however, that those may have been Catholic ideas, and given that they still believe in heaven, hell, sin, punishment and redemption, who is to say that such practices could not return at any time in the future were they to attain the political power?

  11. Stephen Mynett says:

    The Albanian Poison Dwarf was a great fan of suffering, for reasons similar to those described by BJ above she refused analgesia and many other treatments for the victims of her Kolkata Gulag.

    She even joked about it, unknowingly, to Christopher Hitchens when she told the story of how she told a dying man that the agony he was feeling was “Jesus kissing him”and then laughed at the man’s reply when he said to ask Jesus to stop. Hitchens, like the majority of us, just found that sick but to the APD it was amusing.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Stephen Mynett: My grandfather was Irish, and a (lapsed) Catholic, and I sometimes read through his old hymn book in utter disbelief. All Souls brings breathtaking gibberish:

    O turn to Jesus, Mother! Turn,
    And call Him by His tenderest names;
    Pray for the Holy Souls that burn
    This hour amid the cleansing flames.
    (Fr. Faber)

    Help, Lord, the souls that thou hast made,
    The souls to thee so dear,
    In prison for the debt unpaid
    Of sin committed here.
    (Cardinal Newman)

    What sort of twisted mind could come up with nonsense like that? My only conclusion is that it was pure invention to keep ignorant people in a state of perpetual fear, and under the thumb of the clergy.

  13. Ray says:

    And to exert power over and to extort every last penny from the pockets of everyone.

    A protection racket run by a cabal of evil people who don’t use a bunch of thugs to threaten the victims. No … they use the ultimate threat … a vindictive god that knows exactly what you are doing and will punish you with eternal hell fire if you don’t do what the clerics insist you must do.

    I have often wondered why, if god is omnipotent, omnipresent, all knowing, all seeing and all hearing, why catholic priests need to extract shameful information, for the sole purpose of blackmail, through confessionals. Do they not have a godly hotline?

  14. Peter Sykes says:

    “Tax the FUCK out of the churches!” – Frank Zappa

  15. John the Drunkard says:

    ‘North Koreans don’t want the taxation plan to be delayed any longer. Ninety percent of those surveyed saying that the country should levy taxes on priests and monks …’
    NORTH Koreans? Who the hell asked them, and how did they get a response of less than 100%?

  16. barriejohn says:

    John the Drunkard: Someone’s going to get a rocket!

  17. Barry Duke says:

    Whoops John, my bad. Corrected now.