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I would like to give a large amount of cash, about $75,000, to a cousin in Germany. What tax rate would they have for such a gift?

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  • Are you and your cousin both in Germany? Jul 24, 2021 at 4:06
  • The tax rate will be substantial, but there are exemption limits. It might make sense to consult a professional tax advisor about this.
    – o.m.
    Jul 25, 2021 at 12:24

2 Answers 2

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The fact that gift tax in Germany is paid by the person who receives the gift makes this difficult to determine. Being cousins does not confer any special status, so they pay the full tax on anything that exceeds 20 000 Euro within 10 years, but specifics depend on their "Steuerklasse" (which in turn can depend on marital status, number of jobs etc. It's weird).

With "Steuerklasse 3" (which would be normal if they are married and earn the main income in the family) they would pay 30% tax (as long as the gift is below 6 million Euro). If they are single, they much more likely have "Steuerklasse 1", which means 50% tax on gifts.

They might be able to claim some of it back if they can use any tax exemptions, but that requires definitely the help of a specialist (which I am not, I typed "Schenkungssteuer Deutschland" into Google and compared the top ten results, which seem to agree on this).

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In addition to the previous answer, if you and the cousin are reasonably young: you can give your cousin €20,000 every ten years tax free. Or 40,000 now and the rest in 10 years, so at least €20,000 are free twice.

And you can give up to €400,000 tax free to a common grandparent, who can give up to €200,000 tax free to their grand child, your cousin. It seems legal but there is the risk that the grand parent keeps the money, or is deep in debt, or dies next year, so that’s not something you would do without a lawyer. (Doesn’t work using your mom or dad as intermediaries because for a nephew or niece the same €20,000 are tax free only)

PS. Just remembered: If you give your cousin €20,000 then your wife can also give him some amount, which would be lower because they are not related. And you both could give your cousin's wife some small amount, and three small amounts add up.

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