Same tax rights for Ger­man gay cou­ples

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.