French Tax Authorities Recognize Dutch Same-Sex Marriage

Vivre d'amour et d'eau fraiche ?Le Monde has reported this week that the French Ministry of Finance has accepted to recognize a Dutch same-sex marriage for tax purposes.

According to the article, the two Dutch men had married in Leyden in 2002. They then moved to France, probably in 2004. In 2005, they tried to file a tax return in common, which can attract significant tax benefits. First, French tax authorities refused, arguing that same-sex marriage does not exist in France.

The spouses hired a lawyer who challenged the decision on their behalf. Le Monde reports that he insisted “international conventions signed by France and rules of international private law” should be applied. In July 2008, the Legal Department of the Ministry of Finance eventually notified the spouses that they would be considered so for French tax purposes.

Same sex union was introduced in France in 1999 (“PACS”). It has some tax consequences. Here, the parties never tried to argue, it seems, that the Dutch marriage could be recognized as a French PACS.

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About Gilles Cuniberti

Gilles Cuniberti is a professor of law at the University of Luxembourg. Previously, he taught for 10 years at the Faculty of Law of Paris 12 University (Paris Val-de-Marne). His primary teaching and research interests are comparative law, conflict of laws, international arbitration and international litigation. He is a regular contributor to the Journal de Droit International (Clunet). He has been a visiting faculty at Duke Law School, Renmin University of China and Sheffield Hallam University. He holds a Doctorate in Law from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University and an LL.M. degree from Yale Law School. He was also a Paris-Oxford Doctoral Program Scholar for a year at Trinity College, Oxford. He is admitted to the Paris Bar and practiced on a part-time basis in the Paris office of a leading English firm from 1999 to 2004. SELECTED ARTICLES: Beyond Contract - The Case for Default Arbitration in International commercial Disputes, 32 FORDHAM INT'L L.J. 417 (2009) Le principe de territorialité des voies d'exécution, JOURNAL DU DROIT INTERNATIONAL 2008.963 The Recognition of Judgments Lacking Reasons in Europe: Access to Justice, Foreign Court Avoidance and Efficiency, 57 INT’L & COMP. L. Q. 25 (2008) L’apprezzamento dell’efficacia della clausola arbitrale da parte del giudice statale : un conflitto tra Italia e Francia, 21 DIRITTO COMMERCIO INTERNAZIONALE 2007.789 (with M. Winkler) E-mail:

2 thoughts on “French Tax Authorities Recognize Dutch Same-Sex Marriage

  1. Pingback: ADF Alliance Alert » French Tax Authorities Recognize Dutch Same-Sex Marriage

  2. Michelle S de Bruin

    This has interesting implications for Ireland.
    A recent Irish case (Zappone and Gilligan v Revenue Commissioners & Ors) concerned two women who had married one another in a ceremony in Canada. They were, however, Irish citizens and were also resident in Ireland when they brought proceedings against the Revenue Commissioners claiming allowances as a married couple under the Taxes Consolidation Acts. In the High Court, Dunne J. rejected the Plaintiffs’ claim for recognition of their Canadian marriage and also their challenge to the relevant provisions of the Tax Code. A second case has since been brought seeking recognition of the Canadian marriage. No decision had been handed down yet.
    Same sex unions are not yet recognised in Ireland, although legislation permitting a form of civil union is forthcoming.

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