Taxes, wedding, funeral: What you need to know before leaving the church in Saarland
Service Hundreds of thousands of people leave both the Protestant and the Catholic churches every year. However, leaving the church should be carefully considered, because there are a few things to keep in mind. We explain what you need to consider and how a resignation from the church works.
By Saskia Leidinger
- How does leaving the church work in Saarland?
- What do you need to leave the church in Saarland??
- What does it cost to leave the church in Saarland??
- What are the tax consequences of leaving the church??
- Attention: Special conditions apply to spouses!
- What are the disadvantages of leaving the church in Saarland??
- Can I re-enter the church?
The Saarland is considered a conservative state, but even here people leave the church every year. In 2019, for example, for the diocese of Trier in Saarland, there were more than 5,000 people. More than 1300 people have left the Protestant church. Many people expect to save on taxes by leaving the church.
We explain the pitfalls of leaving the church, the costs and how you can leave the church in Saarland.
How does leaving the church work in Saarland??
To leave the church, you must make an appointment at the registry office in the municipality where you are registered as residing. You cannot apply for a church resignation in Saarbrucken if you live in uberherrn, for example. This applies to members of the Catholic Church as well as to members of the Protestant Church. You must appear in person at the appointment.
Alternatively, it is also possible to leave the church in writing via a notary public. This must certify your declaration. Then you have to submit the declaration to the registry office of your municipality.
What you need to leave the church in Saarland?
You need almost no documents to leave a church congregation. A valid identity card or passport is usually sufficient for the appointment at the registry office.
In addition, it is best to know on what date you were baptized and where. If you are married and wish to change your religious affiliation, you must also bring this document with you.
What does it cost to leave the church in Saarland??
In some federal states, such as Bremen, leaving the church is free of charge. In most federal states, however, there are fees. In Saarland this is 32 euros. This means that the Saarland charges some of the highest fees. Only Bavaria (35 euros) and Baden-Wurttemberg (up to 60 euros) are more expensive.
If you declare your departure from the church through a notary, the notary’s fees will be added to the 32 euros. This can amount to 80 euros or more.
Can I also leave the church online?
No. In Saarland, you must declare your departure from the church in person. Either through the registry office directly or through a notary public.
Can children also leave the church?
Children and young people over the age of 14 can decide for themselves whether they want to leave the church. You do not need the consent of your parents. The rules explained above apply. The parents decide about a church withdrawal of younger children. However, children between the ages of twelve and 14 must give their express consent.
From when is the withdrawal from the church valid?
If you have declared your resignation from the Protestant or Catholic Church, this is valid from 1 January 2009. of the following month. The tax office is automatically notified by the authorities.
What are the tax consequences of leaving the church??
Members of a Catholic or Protestant church pay almost 300 euros per year on average. Singles can save this money with a withdrawal.
Attention: With spouses special conditions apply!
One man’s joy is another man’s sorrow, one could say in the case of married couples. If married couples file a joint tax return, but only one partner has left the church, the so-called special church money becomes due. In practice, this means that the tax office calculates the amount of church money on the basis of joint income. Thus, it can happen that you end up paying significantly more money to the church than before via the regular church tax. Especially if both couples earn different amounts and the person with the higher income has left the church.
The amount of the special church money is staggered. If the joint taxable income is between 30,000 euros and 37,499, 96 euros will be due. At 75 000 to 87 499 euros, 540 euros of church money is calculated. In the highest level it is even 3600 euros.
So before leaving the church, you should calculate if this will actually save you money as a married couple.
Good to know: Church tax can be deducted in full on your tax return. It belongs to the special expenses and is treated like donations.
What are the disadvantages of leaving the church in Saarland??
You do not have to fear excommunication from the church after a resignation. They are still considered baptized. Nevertheless, your leaving the church has consequences for future baptisms, weddings and funerals.
If you want to have your child baptized, one parent should belong to the church. If this is not the case, this should at least apply to the godparents of the baptism. However, those who have left the church may no longer be godparents themselves. In individual cases, however, the local church congregations decide.
For a church wedding at least one partner must belong to the church. According to the Catholic diocese of Trier, "religion-diverse marriages" are possible. Objections to this can only be lodged by the local ordinarius. Protestant marriages are also possible if one partner continues to be a member.
The following applies in both cases: "According to the church constitution, non-denominational or non-Christians must respect their partner’s Christian understanding of marriage and declare their willingness to do so in the marriage conversation. But they are not required to make religious declarations that contradict their convictions."
If you have left the church, you can not get a church funeral. Unless they have "shown signs of repentance and conversion" before their death. This applies to both the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church Exceptions are possible in individual cases, however.
Can I re-enter the church?
A re-entry is possible at any time and in contrast to the resignation also free of charge. A new baptism is not necessary. Only a conversation with a chaplain or a pastor. In addition, you will need your baptismal certificate and the certificate of withdrawal from the church.