THE inheritance tax problems faced by same-sex couples registered in a civil partnership from outside France are to be raised in the European Parliament.
Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP Elspeth Attwooll has joined a number of colleagues in launching a Written Declaration (number 0076/2008) in the European Parliament to urge the Commission to draw up guidelines for mutual recognition between Member States.
While the UK recognises the French equivalent of its own civil partnership, the pacte civil de solidarité (PACS), the reverse is not the case.
Meaning should one or other partner die in France an inheritance tax bill of 60 per cent will be sent to the surviving partner, with those affected having little option but to pay up.
Now Elspeth Attwooll is urging people who may face similar problems to write to their local MEP to support the Declaration.
The declaration has a lapse date of January 15, 2009 before which it must attain the signatures of 393 MEPs in order for it to be adopted by the European Parliament.
Although there is no legal obligation for the Commission to act on the recommendations made in the declaration, the political weight of the European Parliament demands that they respond either by agreeing to take action or by explaining why they will not.
Meanwhile, Sharon Bowles MEP wrote to Ms Rachida Dati at the French Ministry of Justice regarding the mutual recognition of civil partnerships.
In her response Ms Dati outlined plans to introduce a legal provision which would enable the full recognition in France of civil partnerships from other countries.
Mrs Bowles has requested further details, such as the financial implications of such a measure for the affected same-sex couples residing in France, and also the estimated timeframe for the implementation of the provision.
Download the Written Declaration (number 0076/2008) (.pdf)
Route out of inheritance tax nightmare for same-sex couples
French system fails to recognise civil partnerships
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