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Caesar as God's Banker: Using Germany's Church Tax as an Example of Non-Geographically Bounded Taxing Jurisdiction

Washington University Global Studies Law Review, Forthcoming

Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 132

39 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2010 Last revised: 26 Dec 2012

Stephanie R. Hoffer

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: September 16, 2010

Abstract

This Article compares the modern-day German church tax to church taxes levied by the American colonies and early states and concludes that, unlike its American counterparts, the German church tax is not wholly a “church” tax. Rather, it is primarily a form of decentralized local taxation, the jurisdiction of which is determined by voluntary group affinity rather than geography. As such, it is a crucial part of the German taxing landscape that should not be abandoned but should instead be retained and extended to qualifying secular organizations. In that context - secular rather than sectarian - the tax may also serve as the starting point for developing a model of non-geographically bounded jurisdictions to be used for funding local government or non-profit provision of public goods within the United States.

Keywords: Tax, Church, Kirchensteuer, Establishment

Suggested Citation

Hoffer, Stephanie R., Caesar as God's Banker: Using Germany's Church Tax as an Example of Non-Geographically Bounded Taxing Jurisdiction (September 16, 2010). Washington University Global Studies Law Review, Forthcoming; Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 132. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1677964 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1677964

Stephanie R. Hoffer (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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