FG Münster: Deed of Variation not recognized in Germany for Inheritance and Gift Tax Purposes

FG Münster: Deed of Variation not recognized in Germany for Inheritance and Gift Tax Purposes

The Tax Court of North Rhine-Westphalia (Finanzgericht Münster) has held on 12 April 2018 , that German inheritance tax cannot be avoided or reduced by a deed of variation as the German inheritance tax is triggered by the death (and not the distribution) and only a renunciation (Ausschlagung) has - from a German perspective - retroactive effect. Instead, a deed of variation may be considered a gratious transfer from the original beneficiary of the Will to the beneficiary under the deed of variation. Consequently, the deed of variation may trigger German gift tax (Schenkungsteuer) 

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