Separation of spouses: Ifo boss calls for reform – economy

In 1955, the Federal Minister of Finance was still certain: if the woman goes to work, the marriage breaks down, warned Fritz Schäffer, co-founder of the CSU. A “tax preferential treatment of” the liberal employment of the wife in a company not belonging to her husband “could” support the emerging forces which lead to a progressive dissolution of marriage and the family “, he writes. in a memorandum at the time Things are different – only German tax law is still at 1950s level. Time for an update, says Ifo chairman Clemens Fuest shortly before federal elections and proposes a reform of the controversial division of spouses, which has been in place since 1958.

“From an economic point of view, spousal splitting is a strong incentive for second earners, usually women, not to engage in gainful employment or, where appropriate, to take part-time employment – and instead focus on household chores and children’s education. says the director of the Munich Institute for Economic Research. “An evolution of the system towards models such as real splitting could provide the impetus for a higher participation rate for second earners.” Charges for weddings could be limited by temporary solutions.

“Women’s equality has a lot to do with employment and economic independence.”

The SPD and the Greens want to abolish the separation of spouses, the Union is sticking to it. The image of the family today is more diverse than the traditional division of labor between men and women, with the man being the sole breadwinner, says economist Fuest. “Equality for women, a fundamental social concern, has a lot to do with employment and economic independence.

In order to increase women’s employment, however, tax policy might be just one of many pillars. “A package of measures is needed to further extend childcare and significantly improve work-family compatibility,” said the economist. In principle, the so-called real fractionation imposes the spouses independently of each other. However, the first employee can transfer a certain amount to the second employee for tax purposes. This makes sense because the spouses are mutually obligated to support each other, Fuest said. The work incentives for second support are therefore not as severely limited with actual splitting as with spousal splitting.

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