Church tax

In 1870, a new church law took effect in Finland and separated church from state. In spite of this separation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and its parishes not only retained their status under public law, but also a partial tax exemption and the right to levy taxation.

Two elderly women take care of the grave site on a summer day.

Only members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Finnish Orthodox Church pay church tax. Under the current tax system, parish councils set tax rates in the same way as municipalities. Each month, the tax administration distributes revenue to the parishes, who pay a contribution for the cost of tax collection as defined by law.

Parishes also receive a state compensation of around 114 million euros for taking care of important social tasks. The compensation is mainly used to cover burial costs, but it also helps fund the keeping of records and church maintenance. The current system dates to 2016; before then, parishes received a share of corporation tax revenue.

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