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Czech top court dismisses taxation of church restitution

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By the Associated Press

The Czech Republic’s top court has dismissed legislation that would have taxed the compensation churches receive from the state for property seized during the country’s communist era.

In this Oct. 13, 2009 file photo, the sun sets behind the St. Vitus cathedral in Prague, Czech Republic. The Czech Republic’s top court on Tuesday Oct. 15, 2019, dismissed legislation to tax the compensation that the country's churches receive from the state for property seized by the former Communist regime. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File/MANILA BULLETIN)

In this Oct. 13, 2009 file photo, the sun sets behind the St. Vitus cathedral in Prague, Czech Republic. The Czech Republic’s top court on Tuesday Oct. 15, 2019, dismissed legislation to tax the compensation that the country’s churches receive from the state for property seized by the former Communist regime. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File/MANILA BULLETIN)

The Constitutional Court overturned the tax measure on Tuesday, saying it violated the rule of law.

Religious institutions in the Czech Republic have had some property returned by the state. They also are expected to receive around $3 billion in compensation over 30 years.

The Communist Party drafted the legislation, which amended a 2012 restitution law. Land lawmakers approved it in April, a sign of the far-left party’s re-emerging influence.

The Communists aren’t part of the center-left ruling coalition led by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, but supported his government in a confidence vote.

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