Church Rate, a tax imposed on the parishioners and occupiers of land in a parish of England for church repairs. The tax is proposed by the church wardens, and must be voted by a majority of the parishioners in vestry assembled. It is distinct from tithes, from which in early times the repairs were made. Before the reformation the levy of church rates might be compelled by spiritual censures and punishments, but since then it has been generally understood to rest entirely in the discretion of the parishioners. Recently, however, in the Braintree case, and the case of St. George's. Colgate, Norwich, efforts were made to compel the payment of a levy made by the wardens where the parish had refused to vote it, and to punish parishioners who had voted against the tax; but in each instance without success. The decisions in these cases strengthened the opposition of dissenters and others, which previously had been troublesome, and at length, by statutes 31 and 32 Victoria, c. 109, the payment of church rates was made no longer compulsory.

The rate was abolished in Ireland in 1823. In Scotland the burden of church repairs is by custom on the heritors or owners of land in the parish subject to ecclesiastical charges.