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How is inheritance and gift tax calculated?


The tax is calculated according to a percentage of the value of the acquisition minus the allowances mentioned below. Each acquiring person is entitled to a personal allowance, the amount of which depends on the respective tax bracket. The tax rate is determined, on the one hand, by the value of the taxable acquisition and, on the other hand, by the relationship of the acquiring person to the deceased or to the person making the gift. The closer the acquiring person is related to the testator or the person making the gift, the lower the inheritance or gift tax. For the amount of the tax, it is decisive to which of the three tax classes the acquiring person belongs. The tax rates form a graduated tariff. The tax rate of the value bracket reached applies to the entire taxable acquisition.

In addition, in the case of acquisitions on account of death, the surviving spouse and the surviving registered partner under the LPartG of 16.02.2001 (BGBl I p. 266) - not the life partner - have a pension allowance of 256,000 euros and children up to the age of 27 have a pension allowance of 52,000 euros to 10,300 euros. These pension allowances are reduced if the acquiring person receives certain pension benefits (e.g. widow's/widower's pension, orphan's pension).

Tax classes

Tax class I

  • the spouse or the registered civil partner according to the law on registered civil partnerships (LPartG)
  • children and stepchildren
  • the descendants of the children and stepchildren (e.g. grandchildren and great-grandchildren)
  • the parents and grandparents in the case of inheritance

Tax class II

  • the parents and grandparents if they do not belong to tax class I (i.e. in gift cases)
  • brothers and sisters and their children
  • stepparents
  • parents-in-law and children-in-law
  • the divorced spouse(s)

Tax class III

  • all other acquiring persons
  • Special-purpose allowances

Personal allowance

in case of unlimited tax liability


registered life partner according to LPartG 500.000€
Children/stepchildren and children of deceased children 400.000€
Grandchildren 200.000€
other acquiring persons in tax class I (great-grandchildren/parents and grandparents in case of inheritance) 100.000€
acquiring persons in tax class II 20.000€

acquiring persons in tax class III


in case of limited tax liability

The allowances are as high as in case of unlimited tax liability. They are reduced by the portion of the allowance that is attributable to such assets that are not covered by the limited tax liability. The current acquisition and acquisitions from the same person within the last 10 years are included.

Tax rates

Value of taxable acquisition
(§10) up to and including ..... €

Percentage in the tax class
75.000 € 7 15 30
300.000 € 11 20 30
600.000 € 15 25 30
6.000.000 € 19 30 30
13.000.000 € 23 35 50
26.000.000 € 27 40 50
over € 26,000,000 30 43 50

For acquiring persons in tax class II the following percentages apply in 2009:

Value of acquisition for tax purposes
(§10) up to and including ..... €

Percentage in tax class
75.000 € 30
300.000 € 30
600.000 € 30
6.000.000 € 30

13.000.000 €

26.000.000 € 50
over € 26,000,000 50

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