Ireland’s bishops won’t have to pay the controversial household charge that has hit every homeowner in the pocket.
The Irish Mail on Sunday has revealed that the Catholic Church will not pay a penny in household charges.
The Church, widely acknowledged as the biggest property owner in the Irish State, will escape the $130 charge according to the report.
With up to 10,000 properties on its books, the Church will save a small fortune on charges.
The report states that the Catholic Church has an exemption from all property taxes because it is a charity.
All parochial houses and even Bishop’s palaces are exempt under the ruling.
The government could lose over $1.5 million in revenue with the charge expected to hit $500 next year.
A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Ireland told the paper that all properties held by it in Ireland are "effectively exempt."
The spokesman said: “The Local Government Household Charge Act 2011 provides for exemptions from payment of the household charge to certain charities.
“To date, charities who have obtained a charity number (CHY) are exempt from payment of taxes. Church property in the majority of Irish dioceses is held in a diocesan trust, has a CHY number and is regarded as a charity.
“Where it is held under another structure the title holders clearly hold the property in trust for the diocese and the property has the same status.
“All Church property - which includes churches, schools and priests’ houses - are the property of parishes and dioceses. As such, they are exempt from tax.”
The Church has sought clarification on the issue after the Italian government reversed a similar ruling.
The spokesman added: “The Irish Bishops’ Conference established a Diocesan Advisory Committee some years ago to help prepare for the introduction of the Charities Act 2009.
“In the context of the household charge, the bishops’ committee has sought clarification on this matter. There has been no official reply to date.”
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