Citizens of Iceland Are Trying To Get Around Paying Religious Tax



In Iceland, citizens register their religion with the government and pay a special tax — about $80 a year —that's then doled out proportionately to churches based on their total membership count. At issue is that about 1% of Icelanders have registered as Zuists, an ancient Sumerian religion that has been co-opted to circumvent Iceland's religious tax. The Zuists have promised to directly pay fees back to members of their church (thereby negating the tax) and have pledged to disband once the religious tax and registration system is abolished. Although some politicians in Iceland argue that the Zuists are at odds with the official policies of the state and are trying to dodge taxes, over half of Icelanders polled say they want the current state-supported tax system of churches to end. The country of Iceland is currently debating whether the worship of tax breaks counts as a religion.