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France Returns Funds Collected Illegally From Jehovah’s Witnesses

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France Returns Funds Collected Illegally From Jehovah’s Witnesses

After a 15-year legal battle, on December 11, 2012, the government of France repaid to Jehovah’s Witnesses funds totaling 6,373,987.31 euros ($8,294,320).

In 1998, the government asserted that religious donations made by Jehovah’s Witnesses were subject to a crushing retroactive 60 percent tax and, in 2003, demanded partial payment. The European Court of Human Rights found that France was guilty of violating the religious freedom of Jehovah’s Witnesses through the illegal tax, which, if enforced, could have resulted in the liquidation of the Witnesses’ national offices and obstructed their Bible education work. Since the Court ruled that the tax was illegal, the French government is now starting to implement the Court’s decision by returning the funds collected, with interest, and paying the Witnesses’ legal expenses.


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I heard that because of this issue in France - the local congregation donations are sent to a bank outside the country. Anyone in France confirm?

It was all quite complicated (well for me) but basically when the issue started the brothers froze the account related to tax. We could still contribute - no, local contributions didn't have to leave the country that I know - but from then on we only had the local association - you know the money for your kingdom hall to pay the bills - and I think the world wide work, two contribution boxes instead of three. Anyway, someone else will have to explain it a bit better but basically I understood that the fund the government was looking into was all that was frozen.

Bethel printing was moved to London but I think that was going to happen anyway.

And now ooo-la la they have to give us all our money back. With interest.


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