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Wie viel Erbschaftssteuern?


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  • Beckert, Jens


Seit 1906 besteht in Deutschland eine Erbschaftssteuer auf föderaler Ebene. Der mit ihr erzielte Anteil am Gesamtsteuereinkommen ist historisch immer niedrig gewesen und liegt zurzeit bei unter einem Prozent. Im internationalen Vergleich besteuern Länder wie Frankreich, die USA und England Erbschaften höher. Mit dem Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts vom Januar 2007 ist der Gesetzgeber zu einer Neuregelung der Erbschaftsbesteuerung gezwungen. Die möglichen Veränderungen werden derzeit politisch kontrovers diskutiert. Diese Diskussion nehme ich zum Anlass einer Auseinandersetzung mit grundlegenden Argumenten für und wider die Besteuerung von Erbschaften. Der vorgebrachte Vorschlag besteht darin, Erbschaften als weitere Einkommensart bei der Einkommenssteuer zu erfassen. Vor dem Hintergrund dieses Vorschlags diskutiere ich die Folgen der Erbschaftsbesteuerung für die wirtschaftliche Leistungsfähigkeit, die familiäre Solidarität und das politische Gemeinwesen sowie das Verhältnis der Erbschaftssteuer zu relevanten Wertprinzipien der individuellen Freiheit, sozialen Gerechtigkeit und Chancengleichheit. -- Germany introduced a federal inheritance tax in 1906. Historically, the share of its revenues compared to total tax revenues has always been low. Currently, less than one percent of total revenues are generated from inheritance tax. In countries like France, the United States and England, inheritance tax revenues are higher. With its ruling in 2007 the German supreme court has forced parliament to revise regulations on inheritance taxation. Various proposals are currently the subject of intense political debate. I take this discussion as the starting point for an investigation of fundamental arguments for and against estate taxation. Proposing that inheritances be taxed as a further type of income within the context of the income tax, I examine the impact of inheritance taxes on economic performance, family solidarity and the political community as well as the relationship between inheritance taxation and important value principles of individual freedom, social justice and equality of opportunity.

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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Working Paper with number 07/4.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgw:074

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  1. Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
  2. Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10091, Paris Dauphine University.
  3. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1992. "The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Homburg, Stefan, 2010. "Allgemeine Steuerlehre," EconStor Books, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, number 92547.
  5. Stefan Bach & Henriette Houben & Ralf Maiterth & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "Erbschaftsteuerreform: gleichmäßige Vermögenserfassung und niedrigere Steuersätze statt selektiver Besteuerung," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 52, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  6. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1987. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," NBER Working Papers 2237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Martin Kohli & Harald Künemund & Andrea Schäfer & Jürgen Schupp & Claudia Vogel, 2006. "Erbschaften und ihr Einfluss auf die Vermögensverteilung," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 75(1), pages 58-76.
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