Religious donations could be tax exempt
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Financial donations to mosques like this one in this photo would be tax exempt. DHA photoDonations granted to mosques, churches and synagogues built with official authorization would be exempt from taxation if a draft law approved by Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission late May 23 amid opposition objections becomes law.
Under the provision, which is part of the draft amendments to a law on the collection of public receivables, donations for Quran courses and other religious education facilities attached to the Religious Affairs Directorate would also be exempt from taxation. The existing law envisages tax exemption for grants to schools and hospitals.
The planned amendment sparked criticism from commission members from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who argued that the state is not supposed to support religiously-motivated philanthropy. “It is like going to the Hajj with state money,” CHP’s Bülent Kuşoğlu said, calling on the Religious Affairs Directorate’s representative to explain whether such tax exemptions would be religiously appropriate.
Representative, Kemal Uludağ supported the amendment, arguing that Turkey is faced with a shortage of mosques. The average congregation per mosque is 900 people and the figure reaches 1,000 in big cities, he said. “Some mosques are old. There is a need to renovate them or construct new mosques.”