How to calculate the Ackerman percentage

Gift and inheritance: calculate how much tax you will have to pay

Which tax rate should be used for gifts or inheritance if the amount is only just in the higher tax bracket? The Federal Fiscal Court creates clarity.


In the case of inheritance and gifts, the inheritance tax depends on the enrichment of the purchaser. Depending on the value of the enrichment and tax class, different tax rates apply (Section 19 ErbStG).

Value of the taxable acquisition (§ 10) up to and including ... eurosPercentage in the tax class according to ErbStG
75 0007 %15 %30 %
300 00011 %20 %30 %
600 00015 %25 %30 %
6 000 00019 %30 %30 %
13 000 00023 %35 %50 %
26 000 00027 %40 %50 %
over 26,000,00030 %43 %50 %

Tax class I includes, for example, spouses and children, tax class II includes siblings, nephews, parents-in-law and children-in-law

Due to the staggered tax rates, especially in the case of taxable enrichments at the limit of the next higher tax rate, a suddenly higher tax for the entire acquisition can occur. In order to mitigate this effect, the legislature has provided for a “hardship compensation” to avoid such sudden increases in tax amounts when the previous limit is exceeded (Section 19 (3) ErbStG).


A taxpayer had sued because the taxable acquisition accrued to him was on the second stage (up to 300,000 euros). He wanted to get him to pay the lower tax rate for the amount up to 75,000 euros. He only wanted to tax the amount over 75,000 euros at the higher tax rate. In doing so, he relied on a judgment of the Federal Fiscal Court (Az. VI R 75/14) from income tax, which may use a similar graduated method.

Judgment of the Federal Fiscal Court

The Federal Fiscal Court rejected the taxpayer's action and gave the tax office the right (judgment of February 20, 2019, Az. II B 83/18). The graduated method does not unfairly disadvantage taxpayers. The hardship compensation anchored in the law ensures a sufficiently "soft" transition at the boundary between two levels of the graduated method. The tax is not calculated depending on the tier according to several tiered tax rates, but is based exclusively on the tax class and the taxable acquisition according to a single percentage.

Notice to taxpayers

The graduated tax rates are always to be applied to the entire acquisition. "Accordingly, taxpayers should weigh up in advance what tax rate they will fall into when it comes to inheritance and gifts," says Ecovis tax advisor Anton Filser. By designing donations, you can avoid an unnecessarily high tax burden.

Anton Filser, tax advisor at Ecovis in Ingolstadt

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