The Decision of the Kyiv City Council providing tax exemption to all the churches except the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) entered into force

January 31, 2015. According to the information on the official website of the Kyiv City Council and internet portal LIGA:Zakon its resonance Decision dated 28 January 2015 No. 58/923 entered into force on 31 January 2015, as reported by the Institute of the Religious Freedom.

In spite of Vitaliy Klychko’s (mayor of Kyiv) previous statements, the Decision of the Kyiv CIty Council on the real estate tax rate, depriving the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) of tax benefits, entered in force.

According to the Decision, the tax rate for the real estate is set in the percentage of the minimum wage for 1 sq. meter of the property.

Tax rate for the real estate property which belong to the buildings used for worship or religious activity is set at 0,01%, i.e. UAH 0,1218, for 1 sq. meter per year.

This privileged tax rate is not applied to “the buildings, structures and premises which belong to the parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”. For them the tax rate is set at 1%, i.e.UAH 12,18, for 1 sq. meter per year.

“There can be no privileges on the basis of religious confession. The Decision of the Kyiv CIty Council to deprive one of the churches from the benefits for the real estate tax contradicts the Constitution and will be revised”, – the mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klychko said as the Kyiv CIty Council voted to adopt this Decision.

The executive director of the Institute of the Religious Freedom Maxym Vasin explained the new rule: “As “parish” we usually consider a religious community, because the law does not use this term. Therefore it is more likely that the real estate property that belongs to the Kyiv Metropolia or other legal entities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), with the exception of the communities, will also benefit from the tax exemption set by the Kyiv CIty Council”.

Earlier the expert noted that the city mayor had no power to quash the Decisions of the City Council which is a representative body. However, according to the Reglament of the Kyiv City Council, the mayor can only suspend an adopted decision within the 5 days after adoption and can propose it for the repeated hearing by the CIty Council.

Thus, most likely, the mayor Klychko did not use his right to suspend the abovementioned Decision of the Kyiv City Council, but instead will seek the modification of the Decision by the Kyiv City Council.

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