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Clarifying note on the Church-State agreement in Peru and the participation of the Sodalitium

Sodalitium Christianae Vitae - English / FAQ / Clarifying note on the Church-State agreement in Peru and the participation of the Sodalitium

The Peruvian State and the Holy See signed the International Agreement (also called “Concordat”) on July 19th, 1980, which was approved by Decree Law No. 23211 dated July 24th, 1980 and is currently in force.

According to Article I of the aforementioned International Agreement, “The Catholic Church in Peru enjoys full independence and autonomy….” Therefore, the Catholic Church is not subordinate to the Peruvian State; on the contrary, it is an independent and autonomous institution in its own sphere.

Article X of this International Agreement regulates the tax regime applicable to the Catholic Church and provides that: “The Catholic Church and the jurisdictions and religious communities that comprise it will continue to enjoy the tax exemptions and benefits and franchises granted to them by current laws and legal regulations.”

On the basis of the Agreement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Apostolic Nunciature exchanged a series of Diplomatic Notes, which in turn led the National Superintendency of Customs and Tax Administration – SUNAT to issue Report 076-2011-Sunat, with binding effect. These documents recognize that the Catholic Church, its jurisdictions —such as Archbishoprics, Bishoprics, Prelatures and Vicariates— and its religious communities —such as religious orders and congregations of Pontifical Right, religious institutes and consecrated life, societies of apostolic life, institutes of Catholic education and pontifical faculties— enjoy a tax immunity regime that extends to all activities of the Church, which are established in the Code of Canon Law.

For the reasons stated above, the Tax Court has noted the tax immunity of the Catholic Church in various binding jurisprudence, such as Resolution No. 08780-5-2016 published in the Official Gazette “El Peruano” on October 5, 2016; or Resolution No. 03162-7-2022 dated May 14th, also published in the Official Gazette “El Peruano” and referred to in the letter from the Peruvian Conference of Bishops (05/20/2022) addressed to religious and diocesan priests.

It should be noted that the following are among the activities of the Catholic Church: Sacraments (parish life), Educational activities (through schools, universities or other educational institutions), Sacred Activities (those related to temples and cemeteries or graveyards), Religious and Cultural Activities (sale of books and religious articles), among others. These activities have been expressly indicated in the Diplomatic Notes and in Report 076-2011-Sunat, mentioned above.

Some of the initiatives that the Sodalitium or its partner institutions have developed, perceived the benefits of the international Agreement between the Holy See and the Peruvian State, because they are activities of the Church, similar to the initiatives promoted by other Catholic organizations in Peru.