A new resource focused on educating local churches on matters of taxation and justice was released in early December.
Produced jointly by the Council for World Mission, The Lutheran World Federation, World Council of Churches, World Council of Reformed Churches, World Methodist Council, the toolkit is part of the New International Financial and Economic Architecture Initiative (NIFEAI) that launched in 2013.
Called the “ZacTax Toolkit,” it draws its name from Jesus’ encounter with a tax collector named Zacchaeus recorded in Luke 19:1-10.
The seven chapters in the toolkit provide a brief overview of why taxes are necessary, reveal the problems created by current systems of taxation, explore the connections between taxation and social justice, consider how the Zacchaeus story can help create a more just system of taxation, and provide resources to churches for educating themselves on these matters.
In addition to information about taxation as it relates to matters of justice and equity, the toolkit advocates for what it calls “a Zacchaeus system” of taxation – one that would address poverty, inequality and the negative impacts of climate change through various mechanisms, including debt cancellation, reparations and “a just redistribution of wealth through taxation.”
“Taxation is an important tool for sharing wealth equitably within and across countries as well as for holding corporations and citizens accountable for their responsibility towards upholding the common good, including care for the global ecological commons,” the toolkit asserts.
“Churches can and ought to play an important role in encouraging national and international systems of taxation that: reward work and redistribute gains, promote gender justice and ecological sustainability, and penalize ‘public bads’ such as speculative, polluting and resource-depleting activities.”
The toolkit is available here.