Ecclesiastical (or parish) tax in French-speaking Switzerland
Leaving the Church

Ecclesiastical tax is a remnant of clericalism. The State does not have to interfere in the religious life of citizens by organising the financing of the Church.

In Switzerland, 31,772 people left the Catholic Church in 2019. This is a quarter more than in 2018, while in 2018, also a quarter more departures were observed compared to 2017.

The trend is similar in the Protestant Churches in Switzerland. The number of departures increased by 18 % in 2019.

Source: Swiss Institute for Pastoral Sociology (SPI)

In the cantons of Valais and Vaud, one can, after leaving the Church, ask for the reimbursement of the ecclesiastical part of the tax.

In the cantons of Geneva and Neuchâtel, Church and state are separate. There is no Church tax.

The cantons of NE and GE have achieved a clear separation between state and Church. All religious communities are subject to private law, although three of them (the Evangelical Reformed Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Christian Catholic Church) are considered "institutions of public interest" in NE, and are "recognised as public" in GE.

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