The inheritance tax: A fiscal and moral case study

The inheritance tax: A fiscal and moral case study
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Ángel Manuel García Carmona

ÁNGEL MANUEL GARCÍA CARMONA (Retamal de Llerena, Badajoz, 1996) Estudiante del Grado en Ingeniería Informática en la UDIMA. Anglo, franco y estonioparlante. Liberal-conservador. Aficionado a la fotografía y a la programación.
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[…] In the majority of regions, an estate comes with a high cost. As a result, since the economic crisis began 10 years ago, more than 200,000 families have renounced inheritances in Spain. In 2007, there were only 11,048 renunciations. Moreover, since some families have lost their homes. (See, for example, this dramatic case in Seville).

The tax puts the continuity of family-owned businesses at risk. Furthermore, it part of the patchwork of economic interventions that discourage the formation of businesses nationwide. According to the 2016-2017 edition of the «Global Competitiveness Index» of the World Economic Forum, high tax rates top the list of the “most problematic factors for doing business” in Spain. Such tax rates are followed by overly burdensome regulations, inefficient government bureaucracy, and restrictive labor regulations.

The nation’s particularly harsh inheritance tax policies made international headlines in September 2014, when the European Court of Justice struck down its policy of charging higher taxes of non-residents. German, Irish, and British tourists who spend their holidays on the Mediterranean coast (for example, in Benidorm and Mallorca) are one of the main categories of non-residents affected by this discrimination. However, it impacted the substantial number of Spanish expatriates, as well.

Meanwhile, the state always holds out the possibility that it could inherit an estate and disperse its funds, if it feels the need to do so based on its preferred “social function.” Article 33 of Spanish Constitution says that the right to private property and inheritance “shall be determined by the social function which they fulfill.” (According to the article 956 of Spanish Civil Code, “in the absence of persons entitled to inherit, in accordance with the provisions of the preceding Sections, the State shall inherit.”) […]

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