What is the church tax (Kirchensteuer)?

In Germany, churches can collect taxes from their members. This is called the church tax (Kirchensteuer).

The church tax is 8% of your income tax in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, and 9% in the rest of Germany1. If you earn 50 000€ a year in Berlin, you would pay around 800€ in church tax1. You can use this calculator to know how much church tax you should pay.

These religious communities collect a church tax12:

  • The Evangelical Church (Evangelische Kirche)
  • The Roman Catholic Church (Römisch-katholische Kirche)
  • The Jewish Community (Jüdische Gemeinde)
  • The Old Catholic Church (Altkatholische Kirche)
  • Various Free Religious communities (Freireligiöse Gemeinden)

If you are not a member of a church that collects church tax, you do not have to pay the church tax1. If you are, the only way to stop paying the church tax is to leave the church. You declare your religion during your Anmeldung. If you were baptized in your home country, the church can tax you even if you registered as an atheist.