DECEMBER 12, 2012 | FRANCE
After a 14-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.
J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5000
France: Guy Canonici, tel. +33 2 32 25 55 55