File - The “bishop of bling” spent 31 million euros on a luxurious new residence and office.
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A change in Germany's capital gains tax has prompted an exodus from its Catholic and Protestant churches this year as thousands of registered members quit their parishes rather than pay the money.Dioceses in both churches have reported in recent weeks that the number of members deserting them has jumped compared to last year, often by 50 percent or more, as banks prepare to withdraw church tax at source for capital gains from Jan. 1 .Under a simplified procedure starting next year, banks will withhold that premium from church members earning more than 801 euros ($1,055) in capital gains annually and pass it on to tax authorities for distribution to the churches.Churches have scrambled to explain the changes.Being slightly more numerous, the Catholics got 5.5 billion euros compared to 4.8 billion euros for the Protestants in 2013 .
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