International Probate: Assets in Germany will be found (and taxed) by German Tax Office

Nowhere to hide from the German Finanzamt

If the deceased held funds or owned property in Germany, the German Tax Office (Finanzamt) will find out about it and will – most likely – levy German inheritance tax, even if the deceased was not a German national and even if the deceased was not resident in Germany. We have explained the workings of the German Inheritance and Gift Tax Code (Erbschafts- und Schenkungssteuergesetz) here.

Executors are under the legal obligation to submit an inheritance tax declaration (Erbschaftssteuererklärung). The German IHT forms are available for download here.

But would the German tax office (Finanzamt) ever find out about the assets of the testator if the executor would – let’s say – forget to submit such a German IHT declaration? Yes, the tax authorities definitely will find out about such assets of the deceased. For numerous reasons: Continue reading