An Italian soccer player who starred on the world-renowned German Bayern Munich team for three seasons owes $1.85 million in back taxes, German authorities allege — because he was baptized a Catholic.
Hellas Verona star Luca Toni could be forced to pay €1.7m [$1.85 million] to the German Catholic Church for failing to pay a religious tax.
According to Sport Mediaset, Toni will go to trial in Munich for the outstanding sum accrued while he was playing for Bayern from 2007 to 2010.
The Kirchensteuer [church tax] rule finances religions via taxes in Germany, which in Bavaria is eight per cent of [people’s] income.
It’s reported Toni’s accountant initially registered him as ‘atheist,’ but then changed it to Catholic in later years.
I don’t think that’s quite accurate. German media say that a Bayern Munich secretary, tasked with filling out Toni’s tax papers, asked him if he intended to get married anytime soon, presumably to gauge whether he would do so in a Catholic ceremony. When he replied no, she responded with “Then this isn’t relevant,” and put a strike on the tax form where it inquired about the soccer player’s religious affiliation.
German tax authorities, upon learning belatedly that Toni is either a practicing Catholic or was at least baptized as one, now seek to recoup the €500,000 a year that they allege he owes. Interest on that sum amounts to €200,000, bringing the total to €1.7 million.
Toni’s defense is that he received bad advice both from Bayern Munich and from his accountants.
The matter is scheduled to go to trial in July.