Creating a coherent and fair tax system is among a legislator’s most important tasks in a democracy. This task is, however, not always an easy one, given that taxes not only shape the financial framework that determines a government’s decision-making capacity, but taxes are also an important instrument traditionally used by policymakers and legislators to set a certain agenda, thus exerting considerable influence on the behaviour of households and businesses. Tax legislators are faced with the challenge of meeting these requirements, which are only increasing in the context of progressing globalisation and digitalisation. This task becomes all the more complex given that national lawmakers increasingly have to take EU law provisions as interpreted by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg into account when drafting tax laws. National law makers do not always meet these complex requirements, as is sometimes the case with tax laws violating constitutional or European law. However, such rebuffs, particularly from the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, are sometimes gratefully received if a political compromise in Berlin is hard to find. The inheritance and property tax reforms, which have recently been ruled unconstitutional by the Federal Constitutional Court, are prominent examples to be named here. In a lecture organised as part of the Mannheim Taxation Science Campus (MaTax) at ZEW, Professor Ferdinand Kirchhof, Vice-President of the Federal Constitutional Court until the end of November 2018, will talk about “Tax Law Between Berlin, Karlsruhe and Luxembourg”. He will particularly focus on the relationship between parliamentary legislators and supreme court jurisdiction by the Federal Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice based on recent decisions.
We would like to thank the ZEW Sponsors' Association for Science and Practice (Registered Society) for supporting the lecture series “First-Hand Information on Economic Policy”.
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