What would our society be like when the religious groups will be mandated by the government to pay taxes just like the common civilians? This is a question that most individuals start to wonder when this thing actually happen today. You will start to see that some members of the church in government centers who will be settling their annual income taxes. Some are thinking about the benefits when the church will actually start to pay taxes as a mandatory responsibility to keep the society productive. Many may seem that this will be an unusual scenario, but in the future, this possible scenario might really happen in some other areas across the world.

If the religious groups will be taxed by the government in the future, expect that they will be filing a protest against the government including its non-law making body. They start to oppose the approval of new laws that require a  mandatory process for the religious leaders and their staff to pay taxes to the government. If this happens, the priests, imams, bhikkhus, monks, and shamans are expected to file their tax returns to the Bureau of Internal Revenue agencies that will be on a yearly basis. If this scenario will happen in the near future, expect that there will be other priests and nuns who will be at risk for facing tax evasion, just like other individuals who fails to file their income tax returns. When this happens, some of them will be arrested and then will be spending nights at the jail until the problem is settled.
Philippine religious groups are composed of Christians, Muslims, Buddhist, and indigent religions
A tax is a levy or a financial charge imposed upon a resident who is a tax payer. If the religious leaders and groups will be taxed, then they will be included in the list of taxpayers. Any resistance to a mandatory taxation is automatically punishable by the law. A tax can be either paid as its labor equivalent or in monetary form.

But there is one thing that one must have to consider when taxing the church. The 1987 constitution of the Philippines under the Article II, Section 6 describes that the separation of the state and the church should be inviolable. no at in any law shall be made neither to prohibit any free exercise of a religious belief nor respect to an establishment of religion. This means that the government must have to amend this particular part of the constitution if they need to impose new law on taxing the church. The religious groups, as well as lawmakers, who oppose the idea of taxing the religious groups that will surely use this tool as one of the reasons why the church and the state should be separated.

When we say church, this is not only applicable to the Roman Catholic Church, which is the predominant religion in the Philippines, which account at least 92% of the total population. The second most predominant religion is Islam, which is comprised to at least 5.6% of the total population. There is a total of an approximate of 1.4% of the total population who practices Buddhism. The remaining 1% are practiced by the traditional religions in the remote parts of the Philippines. If you are talking about religion and the church, you will consider all the religions in general who will be taxed if the government decides to do so.

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5 Possible impacts or effects if the church will start paying taxes to the government

1. Helps to increase annual tax quota: There will be a significant increase in its annual revenue quota due to an additional large group who will be contributing their taxes to the government as per mandatory. This is because there are numerous churches, temples, mosques, and other religious outlets across the Philippine archipelago who will be contributing taxes. These groups might either duplicate or triplicate the annual income tax collections by the Bureau of internal revenue, which is the main operating agency for implementing tax-related rules and regulations.

2. Generates livelihood programs: Religious groups such as the Catholic Church, Mosque, Temples, and indigent religions will generate visible livelihood programs to the community. This is a separate livelihood program established by both private and public institutions across the country. There will be new charitable institutions, livelihood systems, and shelters built by the Christian groups, Muslim brothers, Buddhist monks, and indigent groups across the country. More people in need will benefit from this effect because there is a large percentage of the population across the country who are suffering below the poverty line.

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3.  Services by religious groups increase: It is understandable that services made by the church, mosques, temples, and other religious groups require a fee to build materials and facilities to make the event successful. These are weddings, burial ceremonies, baptism, house blessing, and other religious-related services to whoever will seek any of these church services across the country. People affiliated with any of these churches will be reminded that they must have to prepare for more amount to compensate higher expenses due to the new law, which is a mandatory tax regulation to all religious groups across the country.

4. There will be a decrease in the number of individuals who will not seek for church-related services: With the rising cost of commodities and services in our community, the number of individuals who will seek for wedding, blessing, burial, and other church services will decline. With the concept of practicality, most of the society prefer to save their money than to spend with to a service that requires a large amount of money. Being practical is one of the most important things for a person to sustain their socio-economic lifestyle. The Philippines is still in its third-world status, having a large chunk of the population suffering from poverty.

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5. Abandonment of church and decline of church-related services: One common effect is that you expect yourself to pay for every visit to the church, mosque, temple, or indigent facilities.  Religious churches, mosques, temple, and indigent religious centers experience a decrease in the demand in their services. This is because the public will now start to perceive that all church related services are now part of commerce and trade, which are a burden for those who are living beyond the poverty line. If there will be a decline with all of these services, small-scale operating churches, mosques, temples, and indigent facilities are expected to shut down. The reason behind is that these religious groups can no longer sustain their finances to pay for annual taxes.

6. The risk for religious extinction: This is a potential possibility because if people will start to perceive the church as an industry, they prefer to change their religion. Some may no longer affiliate themselves in any religious groups and belief due to the burden of paying taxes. So it will be more of a practicality, preventing them from attending from any religious-related affairs in order to save. The most affected religious groups are the indigent religions due to the small number of members. There will be several small indigent religions who will abandon their own church, prompting the number members from that particular faith to decline until it will vanish forever.

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