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Facing opposition, Beijing revokes 'true love tax'

(Shanghai Daily)

08:03, September 02, 2011

"Hey! Dude, you must emblazon my name on our house. Alright ?"

The Ministry of Finance has stepped in to save Chinese husbands a fortune in proving that they love their wives, and vice versa.

A recent change in China's marriage law rules that husbands and wives have no claim on property bought by their partners unless their names are on the deed.

Two cities imposed a tax of 3 to 4 percent of half the property's value on husbands or wives who wanted to add their partners' names.

That meant tax of up to 20,000 yuan (US$3,134) on an apartment worth 1 million yuan.

But the Ministry of Finance issued a statement yesterday saying that apartment owners wishing to register their husband or wife's name as co-owner could do so free of tax.

When the tax was introduced in Wuhan and Nanjing recently, it sparked a huge wave of complaints.

Many residents in the two cities accused the government of earning "a fast buck" on the back of people rushing to get their spouses' names registered as a way to win their trust following a new judicial interpretation of the Marriage Law.

The interpretation, which took effect in August, stipulates that houses mortgaged by one party prior to marriage are deemed the personal property of the registered owner, rather than the couple's joint estate.

Only when the spouse of the owner gets his or her name registered will they own part of the property and qualify for a share in its value should they split up.

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