Italy’s church acknowledges looming tax bill after ruling

ROME (AP) — Italy’s Catholic Church says it will open talks with the government to respond to a European Court of Justice ruling that says Italy has the right to recover millions of euros in property taxes.

The Luxembourg-based court on Nov. 6 overturned a 2012 decision by the European Commission that said it would be impossible to recover tax revenue that non-profits including the Italian church were exempted from paying for certain properties.

A Montessori school and the owner of a bed and breakfast had argued that the tax breaks the church received for money-making properties offering similar educational and hostel-like services were unfair.

The head of the Italian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, said Thursday that no talks with the government have begun but “certainly some contacts will be necessary.”

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