Despite months of discussions, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has surprised the Vatican by announcing an end to tax breaks previously enjoyed by the Roman Catholic Church.
This move could bring in up to an estimated one billion euros to help with Italy’s budget deficit.
After telling the European Commission but not the Church, the decision appeared in an announcement on the government’s website.
It was welcome news for some political parties who have been campaigning for the Vatican’s tax exemptions to end.
PSI party leader Riccardo Nencini said:
“Italy is a catholic country. Christians pay taxes, but until now the Church didn’t pay. It’s fair that the Church pays a contribution for its commercial activities.”
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