17 Feb 2012

Italy to start taxing Catholic Church

1:15 pm on 17 February 2012

In a move aimed at boosting Italy's troubled economy, the Italian government is to start taxing the property of the Catholic cChurch.

To do so, the administration of Prime Minister Mario Monti would have to overturn an existing law which exempts the church's commercial property, because some of it is used for religious purposes.

The Catholic Church is one of the largest holders in private real estate in italy.

Estimates on how much a tax would bring to government coffers range from 700 million euros ($US908 million) to more than 1 billion euros.

Mr Monti has asked all Italians to make unprecedented sacrifices as part of an austerity plan to thwart a crisis similiar to that in Greece.