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Le statut juridique des associations religieuses

The principles of freedom of religion or belief are stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia from 1992. Article 40 of the Constitution declares that there is no state church in Estonia. The framework for religious associations as legal entities is set by the Churches and Congregations Act (1993, 2002).
The religious associations obtain their legal capacity after the registration at the registrar departments of the courts on the basis of the Churches and Congregations Act. The requirements for a religious association to become a legal entity are same to all, and there is no distinction between religious association on the ground of membership numbers or the time of historical presence in the country. The minimum membership of an association for the registration is 12 members with full legal capacity.
Estonian legislation does not require the registration of religious communities for the realization of the freedom of religion or belief. So there are also religious communities who have obtained their legal capacity under the Non-Profit Associations Act and communities who have chosen to operate without legal entity status. However, for those religious communities the tax exemptions as well as other privileges of the registered religious associations are not applied.
The religious association registered on the basis of Churches and Congregations Act has certain benefits. So for example according to the Income Tax Act such associations are exempted from income tax. The Land Tax Act exempts the land under places of worship from taxation. The clergy of the registered religious associations may also obtain the right to conduct marriages with civil validity, work as chaplains in prisons, defense forces as well as in police.

D 18 septembre 2012    ARingo Ringvee

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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