Since wealth is mainly inherited and not earned, inheritance taxes are intended to ensure fair redistribution. But in Germany, at least the million heirs pay hardly any taxes.
Hardly any taxes had to be paid in Germany on inheritances or donations of more than ten million euros in 2018: This emerges from the Federal Government’s response to a request from the left, about which the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reports. Accordingly, a good 600 Germans received a total of 31 billion euros, on which only an average of five percent tax was due.
Two thirds of the almost 40 citizens who even inherited or received 100 million euros or more were therefore exempt from tax. Anyone who received 100 million euros or more in the past year paid an average tax of just 0.2 percent, the Federal Government replied.
Inheritance tax is an exception for corporate heirs
Business associations defend existing “exceptions” for corporate heirs by “SZ” by securing jobs, especially in the middle class. “If a company is inherited or given away, taxation is usually far less than for securities or real estate,” explained Stefan Bach from the German Institute for Economic Research. According to the data, the average tax of the large heirs is half as high as for inheritances of one to ten million euros.
The Left Party sharply criticized this practice. “The higher the inherited or gifted assets, the lower the tax burden,” left-wing faction leader Dietmar Bartsch told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Germany is a tax haven for multimillionaires.”
It was “extremely unfair that children have to live in poverty, pensioners are asked to pay more and more, the middle is not noticeably relieved and super-rich heirs and recipients hardly pay taxes on astronomical sums,” criticized Bartsch.