Germany: It was the common understanding that the right to German child allowance depends either on place of residence or unlimited tax liability in Germany. From now on it can be sufficient just to have a second home in Germany.
The fact that EU citizens working in Germany are eligible for (German) child allowance even if their child does not live in Germany became a (German) issue of the current EU election campaign. This is of course in line with the law as the right to child benefit depends on the taxpayer’s place of residence or their unlimited tax liability in Germany. Taking into account that the person who receives German child allowance is at the same time a German taxpayer, the result seems in order.
For the same reason German employees working abroad lose their right to child allowance if they lose their place of residence or unlimited tax liability in Germany. This is going to change as the Federal Fiscal Court decided that a right to child allowance may also exist in the case of a second domicile in Germany. As EU law does not prohibit Germany from paying additional allowances this may even apply where the prime responsibility lies with another state.
This judgment is path breaking and could lead to enormous financial consequences. However, we consider it unlikely that the legislator will touch this question in the near future as the EU election campaigns will end very soon.
Source: Bundesfinanzhof, Urteil vom 18.12.2013, Az.: III R 44/12