CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ADMITTED THE CLAIM OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS ON PROPERTY TAX
On May 13, 2020 the Constitutional Court of Georgia published its decision and admitted for the consideration on merits the claim of nine religious organizations. Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) and Tbilisi Free University Law Clinic are representing interests of the claimants.
Georgian Orthodox Church is exempt from paying property tax on land used for non-economical purposes, while other religious organizations do not benefit from such exemption. Claimants consider that this approach is in breach of Article 11 of the Constitution of Georgia that guarantees equality before law.
The claimant religious organizations request to declare Article 201.1, subsection “a” of the Tax Code of Georgia unconstitutional. The Constitutional Agreement between the State and the Georgian Orthodox Church grants property tax exemption rights to the Church, while the Tax Code does not envisage property tax exemption for other religious organizations.
As a reminder, in 2018 Constitutional Court of Georgia satisfied two claims of religious organizations. The Court found those regulations of the Tax Code of Georgia and Law of Georgia on State Property unconstitutional that set discriminatory conditions for religious organizations.
TDI provides legal aid and strategic litigation in the frame of the project “combating discrimination on religious, ethnic and racial grounds through strategic litigation” with the support of East-West Management Institute’s (EWMI) project Promoting Rule of Law in Georgia (PROLoG) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)