Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Stamp duty and civil partnerships

May 20th, 2010 · 4 Comments · Equality, LGBT, Same Sex Partnerships

UPDATE

GLEN have tonight issued a press release clarifying the situation following contact with the Department of Justice – it seems there is an error in the Irish Times report?

An Irish Times article on Wednesday 19th May seemed to suggest that a proposed amendment to the Civil Partnership Bill would not exempt from stamp duty the creation of joint tenancy in the shared home of civil partners.

GLEN’s understanding is that the government has committed to treating civil partners ‘in the same way’ as spouses under the tax and social welfare codes, and that necessary legislation to give effect to this would follow the Civil Partnership Bill in separate Finance and Social Welfare Bills. Stamp Duty, along with other tax issues, would be dealt with in the Finance Bill that will follow the Civil Partnership Bill.

In order to clear up any possible confusion, GLEN sought a clarification from the Department of Justice and Law Reform.

A Department spokesperson today said:

“It was and remains part of Government policy that civil partners will be treated in the same way as spouses under the tax and social welfare codes.

There has been clear public articulation of this policy on at least one occasion, notably in the Minister’s press release at the time of publication of the Bill. It states:

“On registration of a civil partnership, the civil partners will be treated in the same way as spouses under the tax and social welfare codes. The necessary legislative provisions, to be provided for in Finance and Social Welfare Bills, will be brought into effect at the same time as the civil partnership registration scheme commences.”

The press release is available at: www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PR09000098

Stamp duty is, obviously, a relevant form of taxation.

The policy position remains unchanged.?

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Original Blog post

There are very few details on tax and social welfare issues in the Civil Partnership Bill but for some reason in Tuesday’s cabinet meeting they seem to have focused on amending the bill on the matter of Stamp duty and property shared by Civil Partners.

It seems that the amendment will mean that Civil Partners will be treated differently from married couples on the matter of arranging joint tenancies.

An example

If Sharon owns a house and she decides to put her new civil partner Louise on the title deeds of the house so the house then becomes in both their names the couple will become liable for paying stamp duty. They won’t have to pay court or registration fees (these were small enough anyway) but stamp duty is significant – 7% of property worth between €125k and €1,000,000. In the case of married couples arranging joint tenancy on property originally owned by one member of the couple such charges do not apply.

I don’t know why this amendment has come about – is it farmer organisation lobby related? Is it being brought about to make it more difficult for couples to share property? Or is it being proposed to make the divide between civil partnership and marriage more apparrent?

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