The review of the system of economic contributions made by the Spanish State to the Catholic Church is of special importance when substituting the Concordat of 1953 with new Agreements.
On the one hand, the State cannot indefinitely ignore or prolong legal obligations undertaken in the past. On the other hand, given the spirit shaping the relations between Church and State, in Spain it is necessary to give new meaning to both the sections concerning economic contributions as well as to the common system according to which said contributions shall be made.
Consequently, the Holy See and the Spanish government conclude the following:
I. The Catholic Church may freely obtain payment from the faithful, organize public collections and receive alms and offerings.
II. 1. The State promises to collaborate with the Catholic Church in the obtention of adequate economic support, absolutely respecting the principle of religious freedom.
2.Three complete fiscal years after this Agreement is signed, the State may assign to the Catholic Church a percentage of the yield from income taxes or net patrimony or other taxes of a personal nature following the most suitable technical method. To do this, each taxpayer must, on the respective tax form, expressly declare his decision concerning the use he wishes to make of the money concerned. In the absence of such a declaration, the corresponding amount shall be assigned to other purposes.
3. This system shall substitute the bequest referred to in the next section, in such a way that the Catholic Church shall receive funds of a similar amount.
4. As long as the new system is not applied, the State, in the General Budget, shall consign a suitable bequest to the Catholic Church, in the form of one lump sum, that shall be updated yearly.
During the substitution process, which shall take place over a period of three years, the budgetary bequest shall be decreased in proportion to the tax assignation received by the Catholic Church.
5. The Catholic Church declares its intention of obtaining sufficient resources for its needs of its own accord. Once this has been achieved, both parties shall agree to substitute the systems of financial collaboration described in the preceding paragraphs of this article, in other areas and by other means of economic collaboration between the Catholic Church and the State.
III. The following shall not be subject to income tax or value-added tax, as appropriate:
a) Apart from the concepts mentioned in Article I of this Agreement, the publication of instructions, statutes, pastoral letters, diocesan bulletins and any other document written by the competent church authorities, nor their placement in the usual places.
b) Teaching activities in diocesan and religious Seminaries, as well as ecclesiastical disciplines at Church Universities.
c) The purchase of objects intended for worship.
IV. 1. The Holy See, the Episcopal Conference, the Diocese, Parishes and other territorial Districts, religious Orders and Congregations and religious Institutions and their Provincials and their convents and monasteries are entitled to the following exemption:
A) Total and permanent exemption from property taxes on the following real estate:
1. Churches and Chapels designated as places of worship, and their branches and annexed local buildings designated for pastoral purposes.
2. Bishops´ residences, canons´ residences and residences of parish priests.
3. Premises designated as offices for the diocesan Curia and parish offices.
4. Seminaries designated for training diocesan and religious clergy, and church Universities, as long as they impart teaching related to church disciplines.
5. Those buildings designated fundamentally as Houses or Convents of the Orders, religious Congregations and religious Institutions.
B) Total and permanent exemption from excise duties, income tax and capital gains taxes.
This exemption does not include those products obtained through financial operations, nor those derived from its patrimony, when it has been transferred, nor to capital gains, nor to earnings subject to withholding at the source on income tax.
C) Total exemption from taxes on succession, donations and transfer taxes, as long as the acquired goods or rights are intended for worship, maintenance of the Clergy, the sacred apostolate and charitable purposes.
D) Exemption from special contributions and rates, when these taxes fall on the goods listed in A) of this article.
2. The amounts donated to the church organisms listed in this article and assigned for the purposes stated in section C), have the right to the same deductions on income tax as those amounts given to organizations classified or declared as charitable or of public utility.
V. The religious Associations and Organisms not included among those listed in article IV of this Agreement and that are dedicated to religious, charitable, teaching, medical or hospitable or social care, shall have the right to the fiscal benefits that the Spanish State´s legal and tax regulations provide for non-profit organizations, and in any case, those granted to private charitable organizations.
VI. The Holy See and the Spanish Government shall proceed by common consent in the resolution of any doubts or difficulties that may arise in the interpretation or application of any clause of this Agreement, guided by the principles that inform it.
VII. Articles XVIII, XIX, XX and XXI of the current Concordat and the Agreement between the Holy See and the Spanish State concerning Seminaries and Universities of Church Studies of 8 December 1946 are hereby repealed.
1. The global bequest in the General State Budget shall be fixed yearly, both during the exclusive period of said aid, and during the period of simultaneous application of the system described in Article II, section 2, of this Agreement, by means of the application of the criteria of assessment guiding the corresponding General State Budgets, congruent with the purposes to which the Church assigns those resources received from the State in the Report referred to in the following paragraph.
The application of funds, designed and carried out by the Church, to meet its needs, of the amounts to be included in the Budget or received by the State during the previous year, shall be described in the Report which, for the purposes of the above-mentioned contribution, shall be presented yearly.
2. Both Parties, by common consent, shall indicate the tax concepts in force in which they specify the exemptions and cases not subject to taxation listed in Articles III to V of this Agreement.
Whenever Spanish legal tax regulations are modified, both Parties shall specify the tax benefits and cases not subject to taxation that shall be applicable in accordance with the principles of this Agreement.
3. In the case of tax debts not paid within the legal limits by any religious organization included in Number 1 of Article IV, or in Article V of this Agreement, the State, without prejudice to its corresponding right of execution, may address the Spanish Episcopal Conference that the latter should urge the organization to pay its debt.
The present Agreement, the texts of which in Spanish and Italian are equally valid, shall take effect at the moment of the exchange of the instruments of ratification.