SEJONG (Yonhap News) ― The Finance Ministry said Thursday that it has decided not to impose taxes on priests, monks and other religious leaders anytime soon, apparently leaving the controversial issue to the incoming government.
The decision, which is part of the ministry’s tax code revision proposal unveiled earlier in the day, comes amid expectations that the government might push ahead with its earlier confirmed plan to tax the clergy under the principle that “there is a tax where there is an income.”
“We confirmed the principle of imposing taxes on religious people,” Baek Un-chan, head of the ministry’s tax policy division, told reporters.
“But we decided not to include the decision in our tax revision proposal this time as we need more time to establish infrastructure for enforcing taxation on small-sized religious facilities, while discussing and building consensus on how and when to start imposing taxes,” he added.
Imposing taxes on clergy has been a hot issue especially since Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan said last year that all people have to pay taxes without exception. Religious leaders are customarily exempted from taxes here.