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Cypriot Government Approves Church Taxation Deal, Minister Says

The Cypriot cabinet approved a deal with the Church of Cyprus regulating the way it is taxed and putting an end to a yearlong dispute, finance minister Kikis Kazamias said.

The tax dispute “separating the two most influential institutions in Cyprus” was achieved after the ministry and the east Mediterranean island’s Greek Orthodox Church agreed to amend four points of a 2005 agreement which was never implemented, Kazamias told reporters in Nicosia today.

The new deal, which is subject to approval by the Church’s Holy Synod, regulates taxation on the institution’s real property in the future and scraps churchmen’s right to duty free cars, a privilege enjoyed by lawmakers, the minister said.

Cypriot auditor general Chrystalla Georghadji said in December 2010 that the Church of Cyprus’s unpaid tax liabilities amounted to 179 million euros ($233 million), a figure that the Church disputed.

-- Editor: Digby Lidstone

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