A widow has to pay inheritance tax later because she gave the family home too early to her daughter. The exemption from inheritance tax for widows and widowers only applies if, as required by law, they actually remain the owner of the inherited house for ten years.
This has been decided by the Federal Finance Court in a judgment published on Thursday. Thus, it does not matter if the surviving spouse stays in the family home, or if the home is given away to their own children.
The couple was originally the common owner of the family house. After the death of the man in May 2013, the widow inherited the house half and was thus sole owner. One and a half years later, she gave her daughter's property, but continued to live there, and was granted a lifelong right of residence. The local tax office reversed the exemption from inheritance tax at the end of 2014.
The ten-year condition is to prevent real estate transactions with tax-exempt inherited houses. The widow complained against the tax office, but had already lost in the first instance before the Financial Court of Münster. The highest German tax court has now confirmed. The condition for tax-free inheritance therefore also applies if a house within the own family is further given away.
Where the wife lives and how much inheritance tax requires the tax office, said the Federal Finance Court with reference to the tax secrecy not with.