The Vatican could lose its tax-exempt status for commercial properties and those that have a partly commercial purpose—and be subject to a massive tax bill approaching a billion dollars a year.
According to a BBC report, Prime Minister Mario Monti has announced that the Vatican must pay taxes on nonreligious property. Previously such properties had been granted an exemption, but in the wake of the latest package of austerity measures being imposed in Italy, more than 130,000 people used their social networking skills via an online petition to demand that the Catholic Church’s tax exemption be revoked.
The Church in Italy owns 110,000 properties, valued at a total of nearly $11.9 billion. The tax on those properties could amount to as much as $945 million annually—on everything from shopping centers to hostels attached to chapels to numerous residential properties.