Churches In Jamaica Ready to Pay Taxes to Help Broke Government

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The Jamaican church said yesterday it would have no problem paying property taxes, if the Government asked it to pay up, as part of measures preparatory to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) pact.

"Whatever tax the Government feels that is reasonable for us to pay, we'll pay it," said Rev Rennard White, chairman of the powerful Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Churches (JUGC), which represents the large majority of Jamaican Christians.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, White said: "We should pay our fair share like everybody else, and if the Government decides to ask us to pay taxes on property that church buildings are on then so be it."

Currently, respective churches pay tax on all other properties. Yesterday, White was unable to give specific figures, but said that the church's real estate holding is "substantial" -- especially those of the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, and Seventh-day Adventist denominations.

The JUGC members are the Church of God in Jamaica, Jamaica Association of Full Gospel Churches (JAFGC), Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC), Jamaica Pentecostal Union (Apostolic) -- JPU(A), Jamaica Association of Evangelicals (JAE), and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

White said he was "strongly inclined to believe" that member-churches are up to date with their property taxes.

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SOURCE: Jamaica Observer
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