Taxing inheritances – a way to raise revenues and curb wealth inequality?

Photo: Shutterstock/Kudla

In Germany, 200 to 400 billion euros are inherited or donated every year. Inheritances are unevenly distributed, with wealthy households receiving far greater inheritances than poor households, and inheritances and gifts are taxed only lightly compared with earned income.

As inequalities are increasing, particularly since the onset of the COVID crisis, and governments are under pressure to find new sources of revenues, the taxation of inheritances has come into focus. At the same time, especially in Germany, large fortunes are often tied into family businesses and higher taxation can have an impact on their economic performance.

The new OECD study Inheritance Taxation in OECD Countries analyses how inheritance taxation can reduce wealth inequality and how taxation can be fair and efficient.

In our joint webinar with the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) on 6 July 2021 we discussed different models of inheritance taxation with a view to the specific situation in Germany.

Bethany Millar-Powell | OECD
Sarah Perret | OECD

Discussion with:
Stefan Bach | DIW Berlin
Roland Franke | Foundation for Family Businesses

Matthias Rumpf | OECD

Watch the webinar:

Further reading:

Inheritance Taxation in OECD Countries. OECD report (May 2021)

Öffentliche Finanzen stärken, Ungleichheit abbauen: OECD-Studie unterstreicht die Bedeutung von Erbschaft-, Nachlass- und Schenkungssteuern. Pressemitteilung zur oben genannten OECD-Studie (11. Mai 2021)

Hälfte aller Erbschaften und Schenkungen geht an die reichsten zehn Prozent aller Begünstigten. DIW-Wochenbericht Ausgabe 5/2021 (Februar 2021)

Erbschaften machen vor allem Vermögende noch reicher. Pressemitteilung des DIW Berlin (3. Februar 2021)