Japan taxes Buddhist pet funerals

UIP, March 25, 2005

NAGOYA, Japan -- A court in Japan has rejected a Buddhist temple's claim that pet funerals should not be taxed because the services are religious in nature.

In the nation's first ruling of its kind, Nagoya District Court said that pet funerals at a temple should be taxed.The court ordered Jimyoin temple to pay $47,000 in back taxes, the Asahi Shimbun reported Friday.

"Memorial services for pets are similar to funerals conducted by private companies, and therefore earnings from such services for pets should be taxable," said Judge Yukio Kato.The Jimyoin temple, located in the city of Kasugai, Aichi prefecture, said it would appeal to a higher court.

At Jimyoin's pet funerals, Buddhist priests read sutras, cremate remains and preserve the ashes.The costs range from about $75 to $470.

In 2003, tax authorities decided that pet funerals were not religious but were for-profit services, the same as those provided by private pet funeral companies that pay taxes on the services.