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Taxes: Experts call for reform of the splitting of spouses


The Bertelsmann Stiftung calls for a reform of tax law. This was primarily intended to help women and, above all, mothers find their way out of the "second earner trap".

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Mini-job career trap: women in particular could benefit

Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst / dpa

According to the Bertelsmann Foundation, a combined reform of spouse splitting and mini-jobs could bring 124,000 people into "good" employment.

Women in particular would benefit from this, as around 108,000 of these additional social security and taxable jobs could go on.

This is the result of calculations by the Ifo Institute, which carried out the calculations on behalf of the foundation.

For many women and especially mothers, taking up “substantial employment” is currently not worthwhile.

The foundation's labor market expert, Manuela Barisic, criticized the foundation's labor market expert at the moment because of the combination of spouse splitting and the tax-free and duty-free 450-euro jobs.

According to the information, around three quarters of 7.6 million wives between the ages of 25 and 60 - around six million women - have a lower income than their partner.

Wrong incentives

The tax and social security system set the wrong incentives for these second earners.

You would have to pay income tax above the usual input tax rate of 14 percent.

The reason is the spouse splitting, in which a married couple is assessed together.

This means that a second earner is usually subject to the same tax rate as the first earner.

The foundation therefore proposes a "real splitting" in which both spouses are assessed separately.

The often better-earning husband is likely to transfer an amount of 13,805 euros - this is based on legal requirements such as maintenance obligations and divorce law - to the partner.

This allows the tax burden for the second earner to be reduced, explained the expert.

In addition, mini-jobs should be converted into employment subject to social security contributions by paying taxes from the first euro. The important thing here: the contribution rate would initially be very low, would increase slowly - and full social security obligations would only be reached at 1800 euros. It is not about abolishing mini-jobs, Barisic clarified. In the pandemic, however, it became clear once again that mini-jobs in their current form were »the big losers«.

With the combined reform, work in an employment subject to social insurance will become more attractive for second earners. Because so far, many second earners have opted for the mini job because another is not worthwhile because of the tax burden, Barisic described. The previous spouse splitting pays off especially for couples where one earns a lot and the other significantly less. But: "Work has to be worthwhile for everyone, especially for women and mothers." According to the foundation, the intended change would relieve the bottom 40 percent of incomes overall.

The reform could be an important step towards more gender equality in the labor market.

"We must succeed in freeing women and mothers from the trap of second earners," emphasized Barisic.

It is to be hoped that a new federal government will bring the issue to the fore.

Implementation of the proposals would not result in any additional costs for the state.

mik / dpa

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-10-13

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