The Constitutional Court on Friday established Hungary’s rules under which taxpayers are offered an opportunity to donate one percent of their personal income tax to churches or other organisations are restrictive because the law failed to ensure that donors can choose any religious organisation whether officially registered as a church or not.
The court took up the complaint of an individual who said that the tax authority had refused to forward his donation in 2013 because the recipient organisation was not officially recognised as a church. Successive appeal courts then left the tax authority’s decision in place.
The top court said on its website that while the tax authority and the appeal courts had acted in line of the law, the law in itself is discriminative and excludes certain religious communities. It said that no distinction should be made between members of different religious communities and religious freedom must apply to all.
Officially recognised churches and “organisations with religious activities”, therefore, should be governed by the same rules and parliament must pass legislation under which taxpayers can chose any of them when donating one percent of their personal income tax, the Constitutional Court said. The court has given parliament until December 31 to pass such legislation.