The political parties have not explicitly taken sides on whether public policy considerations justify the special exemptions granted for business assets under inheritance tax law. They are probably waiting for the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court. The ruling parties in particular are likely to take the view that the new rules decided on in 2008 took sufficient account of the reasons for the preferential treatment. They have addressed the concern that the preferential treatment can be unconstitutionally extended to nonessential business assets by enacting rules aimed at preventing Cash GmbH's. Prior to the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court, the CDU/CSU and the FDP see no further need to address inheritance tax law, although they would argue that it ought to be further developed and simplified. They would also like to introduce a uniform tax basis measured on fair market values, with moderate tax rates and appropriate deductions.
The SPD, on the other hand, would like to put a stop to all abuses of tax structuring options. To that end, they want to repeal the special treatment of business assets that has been in force since 2009. Any possible future preferential treatment would need to be more closely connected with the goal of preserving stability in the job market.
If Alliance 90/The Green Party were to come into power, they would attempt to double the inheritance income tax. They would repeal the exemption of business assets from inheritance tax while protecting companies from the resulting burden by means of appropriate deductions.
The Left Party intends to significantly increase revenue from inheritance tax. To accomplish this, they plan to repeal all tax benefits for people inheriting companies that are not necessary for the protection of jobs.
In the final analysis, it remains to be seen whether any additional concrete tax burdens for companies and/or private individuals can be expected to result from the various party platforms – they are far too vague. However, if the Federal Constitutional Court decides that the tax exemptions are unconstitutional, the prerequisites for exemption of business assets from inheritance tax will undoubtedly be tightened significantly.