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In article no. 98, we reported on constitutional challenges to the German income tax based on language contained in a 1995 ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court to the effect that the total tax burden on an individual could not constitutionally exceed roughly half of the individual's income (BVerfG BStBl II 1995, 655 - 22 June 1995).

On an appeal taken from denial of a request to stay collection of tax assessed pending resolution of this issue by the courts, the Federal Tax Court has held that the June 1995 ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court does not create sufficient doubt as to the constitutionality of the income tax laws as to justify a stay of collection, at least not with respect to the income tax in years through 1996 (DB 1998, 1798). Noting that the June 1995 ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court, which declared the net worth tax unconstitutional, required only prospective changes in this tax from 1997 onwards, the Federal Tax Court reasoned that there was no serious doubt as to the legality of the income tax for years through 1996.

The Federal Tax Court did not decide whether the remarks of the Federal Constitutional Court on which the taxpayer sought to rely were to be properly understood as a mere expression of opinion (obiter dictum) or as instructions to the legislature.

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