SPAIN: Spain grants historic tax exemption to Jehovah’s Witnesses

HRWF salutes Spain’s political will to treat this religious organization and their members in the same way as other faith communities in the realm of taxation

JW with HRWF (25.05.2023) – The Spanish government approved a significant adjustment to its country’s tax law on April 26, 2023. This decision affects Jehovah’s Witnesses in Spain in several positive ways.

The government’s decision exempts their organization from paying property taxes on theocratic facilities throughout the country. It also allows individuals in Spain who contribute financially to the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses to obtain a tax deduction on their contributions.

This adjustment confirms that Spain fully recognizes the status of Jehovah’s Witnesses as a religion in line with the numerous decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in the last thirty years.

While Jehovah’s Witnesses in Spain were granted legal recognition as a well-established religion in June 2006, they were not given the same tax exemptions as other religions in the country. Jehovah’s Witnesses continued filing requests to have these exemptions granted.

Unexpectedly, on April 24, 2023, officials from the Ministry of the Presidency invited representatives of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Spain to a meeting. At this meeting, they were informed that the tax law concerning nonprofit organizations would be adjusted, making it applicable to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Two days later, on April 26, 2023, the Congress of Deputies approved this adjustment to the law. This change in the law is expected to be officially enacted in June 2023.

Photo: Joan Comas (left), a representative of the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Spain, with Mr. Félix Bolaños (right), from the Ministry of the Presidency

Further reading about FORB in Spain on HRWF website