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Business

Government Approves Tax Breaks For Insurers

The German parliament has approved a tax break for life and health insurance companies, promising to create a new tax framework in the course of this year. The new tax laws -- to take retroactive effect from January 1, 2003 -- are designed to help insurers struggling for survival after being hit by the slump on the stock markets in 2002. The government plans to abolish a law stating that companies can only offset half of their year-end losses against tax, since it was seen as creating an excessive burden. Experts say reversing this procedure will lead to tax breaks between €5 and €10 billion ($6 and $12 billion) for insurers in this year alone.