What are the “church” and “social causes” checkboxes for on your tax declaration?
5 min read
Whether you’ve submitted a tax declaration before or not, you might have heard people talking about the “social projects” checkboxes—also known as boxes 105 and 106. These are the “church” and “social causes” checkboxes.
But what are these boxes for, exactly? Should you be choosing one or both of the options? Can you leave them blank? Where does that money actually go? Check out our guide for all the information you need to fill in your forms with confidence this year.
What are the church and social causes checkboxes for?
The church and social causes checkboxes are part of what’s called the “tax assignment allowance.” This is a voluntary option for taxpayers as they file their tax declaration. It lets them designate a percentage of the total tax they have to pay to be spent on social projects.
Your total income tax liability comes from adding your national income tax liability and your regional income tax liability together. The tax assignment allowance option was originally laid out in Royal Decree-Law 7/2013 and specifies that the Spanish state will allocate 0.7% of the tax liability of each individual taxpayer who chooses to fund projects of a social nature.
The main thing to remember about the social checkboxes is that whether you decide to check one, both, or neither, your final tax declaration won’t be affected at all. Whether you owe money to the government or are owed a return yourself, checking the church or social causes checkboxes won’t change this outcome.
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Do I have to check the church or social causes checkboxes?
No, you don’t have to. Both of these options are voluntary, and you’re under no obligation to check either of them. You may check one, both, or neither of the boxes.
Here’s what happens, depending on what option you choose:
- Church checkbox only: With this option, your 0.7% tax assignment allowance will go to the Catholic Church of Spain.
- Social causes checkbox only: Checking this box will send your social allowance toward different social causes such as environmental protection, development aid, support for people with learning difficulties, helping people to find employment, and others.
- Mark both boxes: If you can’t decide on one or the other, don’t worry—you can mark both. In this case, each cause will receive 0.7% of your tax liability.
- Don’t mark either of the boxes: Since this allocation is optional, you can also choose not to mark either box if that’s what you prefer, and your tax allowance will go to the general purpose state budget (PGE).
Where is the church checkbox?
The church checkbox is field 105 of the tax declaration draft labelled “Tax assignment allowance for the Catholic Church.”
Where is the social causes checkbox?
You’ll find the social causes box—known formally as “Amounts assigned to projects in the general interest considered to be of a social nature”—in field 106 of your declaration.
Where does my money go if I mark one of these boxes?
What happens if I mark the church checkbox?
If you choose this option, the 0.7% will go towards funding the Catholic Church.
To give you some context, this box exists because of an agreement made on January 3, 1979 between the governing body of the Catholic Church and the Spanish government. This established a partnership geared toward funding the Catholic Church through general taxes.
Later, the additional provisions of Law 42/2006, which was part of the 2007 State Budget (PGE), established a new system, which is the one that is currently in place. Rather than receiving funds through the general tax budget, taxpayers can now choose whether or not to send money to the Catholic Church.
It’s estimated that one in three taxpayers opted to donate their allowance to the Church in 2019. Another 34% opted out of the social projects checkboxes entirely, checking neither box.
If you want more detail about how the Catholic Church manages these funds, as well as the exact amount of money it receives from taxpayers each year, you can find this information on the Spanish Episcopal Conference website.
Where does the money for social causes go?
If you put an X in the social causes box, the money will be given to the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Social Action and Development Aid, as well as toward establishing other social programs.
The money will go to projects in the following areas:
- Assisting people who need comprehensive health and social care
- Helping people to find employment
- Supporting people with learning difficulties
- Encouraging citizen safety and preventing juvenile delinquency
- Protecting the environment
- Development aid
What happens if I don’t check either box?
If you don’t mark either of the options, the 0.7% will end up in the general-purpose state budget (PGE). Keep in mind that whichever option you chose last year will be selected by default, but you can always change it.
If the system recognizes that you haven’t chosen either of the options, whether it’s because you didn’t file a declaration last year or because it’s your first time filing one, you’ll receive a notification informing you that you can either choose one of the checkboxes or confirm that you do really want to leave them both blank.
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