Verkhovna Rada cancels compulsory re-registration of churches' statutes

In the evening of December 7, the Ukrainian parliament adopted amendments to the Tax Code of Ukraine, which cancel the re-registration of religious organisations and guarantees their automatic entry into the Register of Non-Profit Institutions and Organisations.

Now, to enter religious organisations in the new Register of NPOs, it is enough for them to be registered in accordance with the Law of Ukraine "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organisations".

Optioanally, a religious organisation can file a copy of its statute with the tax authority.

Thus, bill No. 6776-d adopted by the Parliament cancelled the requirement to add any additional provisions to the statutes of religious organisations, as a condition for preserving their non-profitable status.

A religious organisations must comply with clause 133.4.2 of Article 133 of the Tax Code of Ukraine – that is, carry out only non-profit activities provided for in their statutes and the Law on Freedom of Conscience.

According to this paragraph, "The income (profit) of a non-profit organisation is used exclusively to finance the costs of maintaining such a non-profit organisation, the implementation of the goal (goals, objectives) and directions of activities defined by its constituent documents."

The article of the Code states that "income of non-profit organisations is also used to carry out non-profit (charitable) activities envisaged by by law for religious organisations, including providing humanitarian aid, doing charitable work, mercy."

All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations advocated the cancellation of re-registration, since this is an inappropriate time and cost consuming process.

Earlier, the head of the Legal Department of the UOC, Protopriest Alexander Bakhov noted that in relation to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Ministry of Culture created "artificial obstacles to the re-registration of statutes."

According to Oleg Denisov, a representative of the NGO "Public Advocacy", obtaining a non-profit status was only a formal occasion to narrow down religious organisations that would not be able to perform the re-registration procedure.

"What organisations cannot do this? Only one answer is only the communities, monasteries and parishes of the UOC. Because they are put before a deliberately unacceptable choice – either to destroy their own historically established canonical management structure or to lose a non-profit status," Denisov said.
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