New Tax Code Assessed from Viewpoint of Ukrainian Religious Organizations
Today, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych vetoed the new tax code, against which entrepreneurs in all regions of Ukraine have been protesting for two weeks. Maksym Vasin, an expert of the Institute of Religious Freedom, analyzed the direct relation of the document to the interests of believing citizens and religious organizations.
According to Vasin, the tax code may have a negative effect on the development of the organizations, as the norm can deprave the religious organizations of possibilities to accumulate funds for long-term purposes, realization of which costs much money, for instance, construction of religious buildings or acquisition of immovable property for social activities.
A positive thing is that religious organizations are released from the value added tax: operations connected with provision by religious organizations of religious services and objects are released from VAT. This release also applies to operations of importation to the customs territory of Ukraine, that is to import. Therefore, the tax code envisages release from taxation of operations of importation to Ukraine of liturgical literature. The leadership of the state has been approached repeatedly by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, individual churches and the Ukrainian Bible Society with requests in this regard.
The tax code also envisages that religious organizations belong to legal persons which are granted a land tax benefit. A religious organization may use this benefit only on the basis of the right of ownership or permanent use of a land plot. Rent relations envisage rental payments, however, the Institute of Religious Freedom provided substantial clarifications in this regard.
There is a minor reform regarding charitable activities: expenses of charitable activities of companies and their expenses borne in favor of nonprofit organizations reduce the basis of assessment of taxation of their income. However, one must note that the tax code has reduced the marginal rate of donations and charitable contributions of citizens which are subject to the tax credit from 5% down to 4%.