Legge 1997, n.CXXIV
Ungheria: Act on the Financial Conditions of Religious and Public Activities of Churches
Act CXXIV/1997 on the Financial Conditions of Religious and Public Activities of Churches.
Recognising the millennial work of Hungarian churches in the life and interest of the nation,
Being aware of the importance of the religious conviction in the Hungarian society,
Continuing the secular tradition embodied in Act XX/1848, Act XLIII/1895 and Act XXXIII/1947 as well as Act IV/1990 serving the freedom of religion,
Taking into consideration, that the Hungarian churches were inflicted by measures of deprivation of rights after 1945,
In harmony with Section 60 of the Constitution, bearing in mind requirement of the separation of state and church,
Meeting its obligation undertaken in Section 23 of Act XXXII/1991 on the Settlement of Ownership of Former Real Properties of’ Churches
Parliament creates the following Act:
This Act shall apply to the church, religious denomination and religious community (hereinafter: church) registered by the court in accordance with Act IV/ 1990 on the Freedom of Conscience and Religion and the Churches.
1. In accordance with the provisions of Section 18 of Act IV/1990 on the Freedom of Conscience and Religion and the Churches, a church may obtain own revenues and may pursue economic entrepreneurial activities. Concerning the contribution serving the maintenance of churches, the gift collected in accordance with the internal laws and rules of the church, no data may be requested and no record may be kept by the organs of the state, local governments and public administration.
2. In accordance with the provisions of the government decree issued on the basis of authorisation comprised in the Act on Accounting, the church shall register separately the revenues, costs and expenses of its economic entrepreneurial activities and furthermore if the church issues a certificate on the public donation in harmony with the provisions of the Act on Personal Income Tax and on the donation in harmony with the provisions of the Act on Corporate Tax and Dividend Tax, entitling the donor to benefits, the received donation (public purpose donation) together with the use of it.
3. The issue of a certificate entitling the donor to benefits after donation specified in Act LXXXL/I 996 on Corporate Tax and Dividend Tax, as well as after public donation specified in Act CXVII/1995 on the Personal Income Tax taking into consideration those included in subsection (5) shall be rendered possible for that church, and other church legal entity defined in Section 13 subsections (2) and (3) of Act IV/1990 on the Freedom of Conscience and Religion and the Churches, that fulfil at least one of the following requirements:
a) more than 1% of the taxpayers offered 1% of their tax to be paid after their income earned in the second year prior to the subject year, in harmony with Section 4/A. of Act CXXVI/1996 on the Use of a Specified Amount of Personal Income Tax in Accordance with the Taxpayer’s Instruction;
b) it has been present in Hungary for at least 100 years;
c) it has been institutionally operating in Hungary for at least 30 years (as a recognised denomination, or church). At the calculation of this length of time, the period between 1 January, 1948 and 2 May, 1990 shall not be considered.
4. The list of churches meeting the requirements defined in subsection (3) shall be announced in information of the Hungarian Gazette by the minister of finance and the minister of cultural heritage by 15 Decem¬ber of the year prior to the subject year. The information related to year 2001 shall be announced until 31 January, 2001.
5. In the interest of supporting its activities which do not qualify as an economic entrepreneurial activity, the church and other church legal entity shall be entitled to issue a certificate, which is in accordance with subsection (3), after aid and support received without any obligation of repayment, assets transferred without consideration or services provided without consideration.
6. Data regarding the amount and use of the donation (public donation) defined in subsection (2) shall be available to all persons based on the regulations ensuring the protection of personal data as well as the regulations regarding the publicity of public data. Any person may make copy of these data at their own expense.
7. The following do not qualify as an economic entrepreneurial activity in relation to churches:
a) the operation of religious, educational teaching, cultural, higher education, social and health care, sport, child and youth protection institutions as well as the pursuance of said activities,
b) the utilisation of holiday resort by providing service to church personalities,
c) the production and sale of publications and ecclesiastical objects necessary for religious life,
d) partial utilisation of real estate (including its accessories), used ecclesiastical purposes,
e) the maintenance of cemetery,
f) the sale of intangible assets, material assets and supply serving exclusively religious, educational teaching, cultural, higher education, social and health care, sport, child and youth protection activities (including the reimbursement of work clothes),
g) the non profit oriented use of assets serving religious, educational teaching, cultural, higher education, social and health care, child and youth protection activities.
8. In the case of an organisational unit of the church, qualified as a legal entity and with an independent representative organ (hereinafter: church organisation), the activities listed under subsection (7), or – based on its choice the following activities do not qualify as an economic-entrepreneurial activity:
a) the pursuance of religious, educational teaching, cultural, higher-education, social and health care, sport, child and youth protection activities and the complementary service related to these activities,
b) the production and sale of such product, lecture note, textbook, publication or study that was produced during the execution of a public duty which was originally the duty of the state or the local government,
c) the letting of buildings that provide the daytime meals for the staff of church institutions pursuing religious, educational teaching, cultural, higher education, social and health care, sport, child and youth protection activities to a catering enterprise for operation,
d) the sale of intangible assets, material assets and supply serving exclusively religious, educational teaching, cultural, higher education, social and health care, sport, child and youth protection activ¬ities (including the reimbursement of work clothes),
e) the non profit oriented use of assets serving religious, educational-teaching, cultural, higher education, social and health care, sport, child and youth protection activities.
9. the revenues coming from the activities defined in subsections (7) (8), with special respect to remuneration, cost and expense of servic¬es, compensation, indemnification, forfeit, deposit, retention money and tax refund related to the said activities, as well as financially settled support and allowance received for the said activities and without the obligation of repayment do not qualify as revenue of economic entrepreneurial activity.
10. That portion of the interest due from the issuer of the security as well as that portion of the yield of securities issued by the state, which is represented by the revenue of non economic entrepreneurial activity in the total revenue, do not qualify as revenue of economic entrepreneurial activity and revenues shall be accounted for without interest or yield in either case.
1. In case of reciprocal agreement, the monetary claim relating to ecclesiastical real estates covered by Act XXXII/1991 on the Settlement of Ownership of Former Real Properties of the Churches (Churches’ Ownership Act, hereinafter: COA), requested by the church not in kind, not delivered to it or not regulated in accordance with Section 2, subsection (4) may be transformed into a source of annuity, which may be used for financing the religious and public purpose activity of the church. The disbursement of the annuity shall last until the termination without legal successor of the claiming church.
2. The amount of annuity and complementing annuity shall be valorised annually, in the measure corresponding to the pace of a devaluation of the Forint in relation to the foreign exchange rate calculated in the central budget. Following the passing of the Act on. Execution of the Central Budget, the pace of valorisation shall be modified in accordance with the actual devaluation rate announced by Hungarian National Bank [hereinafter: HNB], provided that if the a devaluation rate is lower than the inflation announced by the Central Statistical Office, the latter has to be taken into consideration.
3. Calculated on the basis of the monetary claim in accordance subsection (1), the rate of the annuity shall be from 1998 to 2001 4.5%, from the year 2001 5%.
4. The church may request the transformation into annuity of the monetary claim relating to real estates reclaimed not in kind, in writing, within 180 days following the coming into force of this Act, attaching the list of real estates containing also the indication of value, which shall form the basis for calculation. The initial amount of the annuity shall be defined in an agreement concluded by and between the Government and the authorised representative of the church concerned, on the basis of a mutually accepted evaluation. The annuity shall be disbursed as/I January, 1998. The Government and the authorised representative of the church concerned may agree on the amount of the complementing annuity as well within the agreement specified in subsection, provided it is necessary for the religious and public purpose activities of the church.
1. In accordance with the contents of a separate Act, the individual churches are entitled to one percent of the personal income tax paid by private persons who make a declaration of disposal, which may be used in the manner defined in the internal rules of the church.
2. If, on the basis of subsection (1), the amount due to the churches does not reach jointly 0.8 per cent of the personal income tax of the year of declaration, the amount to be actually remitted to the churches shall be complemented from the central budget at least up to the measure there¬of. Churches shall receive a share in the supplement according to the proportions calculated on the data regarding religious affiliation at the latest census. Upon establishing the proportions of distribution, those people have to be taken into consideration who provided an answer to the question on religious affiliation. In case one religion is practised by more churches, the individual churches shall partake in the amount of this complementation in proportion of the number of private persons making a disposal to their benefit as defined in subsection (1).
3. lf, in any year, the revenue from the proportion of the personal income compared to the aggregated tax revenue does not reach the same proportion for the year 2001, then, the rate of supplement defined in subsection (2) shall be increased in a way that the churches receive at least the valorised amount of the year 2001.
4. The herein defined system of church subsidies shall be revised in every four years by involving the churches, the first revision taking place before the adoption of the 2006 central budget.
1. The financing from the central budget of educational teaching, higher education, cultural, social and health care, sport, as well as child and youth protection activities carried out by entities maintaining church institutions shall be identical with the financing of the institutions of the state and local governments, based on the general provisions applying to these institutions.
2. The legal titles and funds as well as proportions of the normative and other state contribution granted to the church entities maintaining institutions defined in subsection (1), which are identical with those granted to state and local government institutions carrying out similar duties, shall be contained in the Act on the Annual Budget.
1. The churches shall be entitled to further subsidy (hereinafter: complementing subsidy), the basis of which shall be the decision of the citizens relating to the use of the public services of the institutions maintained by the given church.
2. The calculation of the complementing subsidy in accordance with subsection (1) shall be made in each year on the basis of the data known on the planning of the budget, in the Act on the Annual Budget, taking into consideration the use of public education or social services.
3. For the calculation of the amount of complementing subsidy, amount of the sectoral expenses of operation and costs of refurbishment of the local government shall be reduced by the own revenues of the institution, as well as by the separate subsidy granted from the forecast centralised for public education, which may be obtained through competition by the maintaining entities of the local government and church well as the institutions thereof alike. The proportion of normative subsidy and the calculated amount of complementing subsidy shall be defined from the amount established in this way.
4. In the public education sector, the subsidy as per subsection (1) shall be calculated according to the number of children and pupils of ecclesiastical educational institutions included in the Plans of Development of Public Education of the counties or the capital.
5. In the knowledge of the planned and actual data of the local governments relating to complementing subsidy, the difference shall be settled in accordance with the discussions involving the church concerned and with the provisions of the Act on the Execution of the Annual Budget.
1. The church shall partake in a subsidy of an amount defined in the Act on the Annual Budget and identical with the proportion granted to state institutions for the preservation, refurbishment, enrichment of the public purpose and other real estates, the values of religious, cultural heritage, monuments of art and artistic works owned by it, furthermore for the operation of its archives, library, museum.
2. The Act on the Annual Budget shall regulate the apportionment of the amounts forecast in accordance with subsection (1) among churches and purposes.
3. The central budget shall provide cover for the support of church religious education, taking into consideration the average wage per hour of teachers at any given time.
4. Further central budget support may be allocated for the promotion of basic and other public purpose activities carried out by the church, the amount of which shall be defined by Parliament in the Act on the Annual Budget for the purposes set forth by the church.
5. The request concerning the nature and use of support defined in subsection (4) shall be submitted to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage by the supreme organ of the church concerned authorised to represent the church in accordance with the court registry.
1. The state contribution due to the churches for their public purpose activity shall be planned in the budget of the Ministry of Interior and dis¬bursed in accordance with the provisions of the Act on the Annual Budget, via the regional state budgetary institutions. Other subsidies shall be planned in the budget of the chapter on the Ministry of Cultural Heritage.
2. The annuity defined in Section 3, subsection (1) shall be made available quarterly, by the 10th day of the first month of the given quarter and the necessary correction shall be settled in one amount until the last day of the month following the adoption of the Act on the Execution of the Budget.
3. The share of personal income tax in accordance with Section 4 together with the supplement thereof shall be planned in the chapter Ministry of Cultural Heritage, and remitted to the church by 10 January of the year following the offer.
Before the prescribed deadline entailing the forfeiture of rights, the written declaration made in accordance with Section 3, subsection (3) shall be forwarded to the minister of cultural heritage.
The Government shall be entitled to assist a church in the acquisition of the real estate required for the pursuance of its public purpose activity.
The utilisation of the amount of the budgetary subsidy shall be controlled on the basis of Section 121, subsection (1) of Act XXXVIII/1992 on the State Budget, as amended several times.
This Act shall come into force on 1 January 1998, with the proviso that Section 4, subsection (1) shall first be applied in the course of the tax return for the year 1997.