South Korea’s Ministry of Strategy and Finance has instituted a new tax on religious organizations.
No article in the current tax law specifically states that religious leaders and churches should not be taxed. However, they have been exempted by custom. Yet Park Jaewhan, the incoming Strategy and Finance Minister, was quoted in March 2012 as saying,“ For the sake of abiding by principles, religious peoples should be taxed as well. Procrastinating this matter any further is hardly fair.”
Now, the income of religious institutions will be classified as ’earned incomes’ and included in Article 38 of Income Tax Act enforcement ordinance.
There are 90,000 religious facilities and 365,000 clerics in Korea, which has many Protestants and Buddhists. Put together, the financial scale of these institutions’ official offertories is estimated to be ₩6 trillion ($5.5 billion).