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Bones of ContentionAnimals and Religion in Contemporary Japan$
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Barbara R. Ambros

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836269

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836269.001.0001

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Pets, Death, and Taxes

Pets, Death, and Taxes

The Legal Boundaries of Religion

(p.90) Three Pets, Death, and Taxes
Bones of Contention

Barbara R. Ambros

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines legal controversies surrounding the taxation of pet memorial rites in Japan. Between 2005 and 2008, two different regional courts in Nagoya and Tokyo grappled with the issue of whether pet memorial rites were religious activities and thus tax-exempt, and each came with opposite conclusions. The cases challenged the legal boundaries of religion and demonstrate the deeply rooted public discontent with the perceived tax privileges of religious corporations under the current tax law. They also highlight the perceived differences between pet memorial rites on the one hand and memorial rites for other animals and for inanimate objects on the other. This chapter first provides a brief overview of the tax exemptions enjoyed by religious corporations before discussing the Jimyōin corporate income tax case and the Ekōin property tax case.

Keywords:   taxation, pet memorial rites, religion, tax privileges, religious corporations, animals, inanimate objects, tax exemptions, corporate income tax, property tax

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