The European Court of Human Rights has given a judgment in the case Klein and others v Germany.

Under German law, some churches and religious societies are entitled to levy a church tax and/or fee on their members. The five applicants complained that, when such taxes or fees were calculated and levied on the basis of the joint income of both the applicant and their spouse, it violated their right to freedom of religion. In the case of Klein and Others v Germany the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that most of the complaints under Article 9 (freedom of religion) of the European Convention of Human Rights were inadmissible. In particular, this was because in these cases the taxes/fees had been levied not by the State, but by the applicants' churches – which the applicants were free to leave under German law. As such, in most of the cases the levying and calculation of the taxes/fees had been an autonomous church activity, which could not be attributed to the German State. 

no. 10138/11

Informatiesoort: Nieuws

Rubriek: Europees belastingrecht

H&I: Previews


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