Sun, Jul. 01, 2007

TIN Follows SSN

CK - Washington.   Unlike the United States of America, the Federal Republic of Germany does not have a comprehensive numbering system for every person like the Social Security Number. An existing numbering system for pensions covers only participants in statutory pension plans.

After July 1, 2007, Germany will prepare a system for a tax identification number. That system will be more comprehensive than the pension system. Some time in 2008, every registered resident and newborn will receive a TIN, Steueridentifikationsnummer.

That leaves citizens without residence in Germany unaccounted for. The statutory basis for the TIN system is §139b of the tax code, Abgabenordnung. Like the United States, East Germany used to have an SSN-like system, and a fence on its borders.

Statutory Share for Heirs

CK - Washington.   Under German inheritance law, certain relatives of decedents may receive a statutory share from an estate if a testator excludes them from an inheritance or if they waive the portion of the estate that otherwise falls to them. The provisions on the situation involving waivers is cumbersome.

A bill to reform this aspect of the inheritance provisions in the Civil Code, Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, is circulating in the German government. For a comparison of existing and proposed law, see a blog article in German, Reform des Pflichtteilsrechts, of June 22, 2007 in Erbrechtsblog.

The basic principle of voiding terms in last wills and testaments that disinherit relatives will remain in place. Other general concepts, such as the fact that there is no estate or administrator of the type known in American law, and the need for certificates of inheritance, would not change.

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