When separation worsens inequalities between men and women

It is a well-known observation: if, by separating, the women and the men both leave feathers, the loss of standard of living directly attributable to the rupture is more important for the former than for the latter.

An INSEE study shows that this drop is of the order of 20% for women and only 3% for men (“ Variations in the living standards of men and women following a divorce or the termination of a PACS ”, Insee References, 2015). What is less well known, however, is the tax treatment of the financial consequences of divorce, in particular alimony, which contributes to reinforcing the inequalities created by the separation.

When the payment of alimony for the children is foreseen, in 97% of cases, it is paid by the father (“Report on family ruptures from the High Family Council”). However, the father will be able to deduct this pension from his taxable income. This amounts to deducting the costs related to the maintenance of his children, when he could not do so when he was married or in a civil partnership (in this case, the children are taken into account through the family quotient) .

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As long as the children are minors, the pension is fully deductible. The tax savings provided by this deduction are proportional to the father’s tax level.

Concretely, deducting a pension of 12,000 euros per year allows the father to realize a tax saving of 3,600 euros if he is in the marginal bracket at 30%, a saving which climbs to 4,500 euros if he reaches the bracket. highest at 45%.

Consequence: it is more advantageous for a well-to-do father to deduct a pension than to benefit from the tax advantage linked to the family quotient, which is capped at 1,570 euros per half-share (3,704 euros for the first part of the “parents”). isolated ”).

The privilege of the French

For Céline Bessière and Sibylle Gollac, authors of the essay The Kind of Capital (The Discovery, 2020), “The taxation of alimony is a gift from the State to men of the middle and upper classes, which reinforces the inequality with their ex-spouse”. Because, for her part, the mother is taxable on the pension received. This can cause her to lose the benefit of certain social benefits and reduce the amount of housing assistance to which she can claim.

“This pension should not be taxable, because it does not constitute a replacement income, but a sharing of the expenses of maintenance of the child between his parents. Moreover, this tax treatment goes against what is practiced mainly abroad where the pension is neither deductible for the one who pays it, nor taxable for the one who receives it ”, estimates Lise Chatain, lecturer at the Faculty of Law and Political Science of Montpellier.

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