8 Religious Organizations applied to the Constitutional Court of Georgia
8 religious organizations applied to the Constitutional Court of Georgia with a claim requesting to find those norms unconstitutional that create unequal and discriminatory environment in the field of taxation. The applicants are represented at the Constitutional Court by Tbilisi Free University Law Clinic and Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI).
Tax Code of Georgia and the Constitutional Agreement between the Georgian State and the Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Georgia grants a number of tax exemptions to the Orthodox Church, while other religious organizations are limited to enjoy the same tax benefits. The above mentioned contradicts to the 14th Article of the Constitution of Georgia (principle of equality before the law).
Despite the fact that religious minorities have been requesting elimination of the above-mentioned discriminatory approach and equal tax regime, and the problem has been systematically underlined in the reports of the Public Defender and international and non-governmental organizations, the issue still remains unsolved.
The applicants request to recognize unconstitutional those legislative norms that impose Value Added Tax, Profit Tax and Property Tax on all religious organizations except the Georgian Orthodox Church.
The recognition of disputable norms unconstitutional will enable other religious organizations to enjoy those tax benefits, that, according to the existing legislation, are available only for the Orthodox Church. Such approach will contribute to the establishment of equal environment for all religious organizations.
The following religious organizations applied to the Constitutional Court of Georgia:
- Caucasus Apostolic Administration of Latin Rite Catholics
- Evangelical-Baptist Church of Georgia
- Georgian Muslims Union
- Pentecostal Church of Georgia
- Trans-Caucasian Union of Seventh-Day Adventist Church
- Word of Life Church of Georgia
- Holy Trinity Church
- Church of Christ