Same tax rights for German gay couples
BERLIN: The German parliament is set to approve a law providing same- sex couples with the same tax rights as heterosexual couples.
The vote in the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, follows a ruling last month by the country’s top court, the Constitutional Court, which called for reform of the tax laws.
The lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, has already overwhelmingly approved the move, despite opposition from the conservative wing of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian-based allies, the Christian Social Union.
In particular, the Christian Social Union had attempted to delay granting same-sex couples equal rights because of fears that it might alienate conservative sections of the Bavarian electorate ahead of elections in the state in September.
Merkel’s Christian Social Union has insisted that despite the government being forced to introduce the legislation, it has no plans to follow other European states such as Britain and France in recognising same- sex marriage.
The tax reform is set to secure the support of the Bundesrat, because the opposition Social Democrats, the Greens and the hard-left Linke party are in control of the chamber, which represents Germany’s 16 states.
The opposition parties have helped to spearhead moves for changes on tax rights and have attempted to turn the question into a campaign issue ahead of national elections, which are to be held a week after the poll in Bavaria.
Married couples in Germany are now able to jointly declare their taxable incomes, which can help to cut their total tax burden, especially when one partner is on a higher pay scale.
The new tax reform amends laws dating back to August 2001, the year in which civil partnerships were introduced in Germany.
Back-dating the legislation is likely to cost the government an estimated € 150 million. – Sapa-dpa