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Gay couples gain equal inheritance tax standing

AFP/DDP/The Local · 17 Aug 2010, 16:31

Published: 17 Aug 2010 11:45 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Aug 2010 16:31 GMT+02:00

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The unequal treatment of straight and gay partners when it comes to taxes and exemptions is unconstitutional, the court ruled.

"While married couples were put in the most advantageous tax group I and regardless of the amount inherited had to pay between seven and 30 percent tax, life partners, as 'other beneficiaries' in tax group III, had to pay between 17 and 50 percent tax," the court said in a statement.

The decision rendered relevant tax laws from between February 2001 and December 2008 invalid, and lawmakers have until the end of 2010 to create a legal framework to address the discrepancy retroactively.

“This is a good day for all homosexuals in Germany,” the Green party’s parliamentary group leader Volker Beck said after the ruling.

A 2008 inheritance tax reform recognised same-sex marriage, giving homosexuals equal rights to personal exemptions for inheriting the assets of their late partner. But registered life partners were still taxed at the highest level as distant relatives or strangers.

But the high court in Karlsruhe said the government’s 2010 annual tax law proposal should now reflect “total equality” for both same-sex and heterosexual life partners and spouses.

Story continues below…

The case was brought to the court by two gay plaintiffs whose partners had died in August 2001 and February 2002.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Scharrenberger welcomed the decision, saying that Germany's centre-right coalition was working toward ironing out remaining disadvantages in tax policy for same-sex registered couples.

AFP/DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:20 August 17, 2010 by BooRadley
So good to hear. I've always found it particularly nice that my neighbors enjoyed a priviledged tax status as being hetero with kids, while my partner and I have to endure crushing taxes levied on us because we're "just" in a partnership. It's unfair and unreasonable to segregate people based on sexual orientation. Today is indeed a good day for the LGBT community here.
18:06 August 17, 2010 by vitor
I am all in favor of giving tax benefits (among other benefits) to couples with kids. But I don't understand why a heterossexual couple without kids should have more benefits than a gay couple without kids. How is their union more beneficial to society? Also a gay couple who adopts or conceives in some artificial way should get the benefits. I think the generation of offspring has to be indeed encouraged, but this can be achieved in many ways. What matters is that the parents want to have a child and care for him/her properly. Gay couples are capable of doing this as well. Don't say that a straight couple has the "potential" to have a kid, because what really matters is whether they really want to do it or not. A kid raised without love can be much worse to society than no kid at all.
21:48 August 17, 2010 by MonkeyMania
What a gay day, what a gay day!
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