About Us
Global Advisory Experts Logo
Global Advisory Experts Logo

Find a Global Law Expert

Practice Area


Since 2010, the Global Law Experts annual awards have been celebrating excellence, innovation and performance across the legal communities from around the world.

Voluntary disclosure of unreported income in estate

posted 5 years ago

Unreported income in an estate can become a problem for the heirs. If it has been concealed from the tax authorities, it may still be possible to rescue the situation with a voluntary declaration for tax evasion.
An estate can carry a high risk potential for many an heir if the testator deposited untaxed assets in foreign accounts as a way of concealing it from the German tax authorities. While the heirs are not liable for the testator’s tax evasion, we at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte can report that they may be guilty of an offence if they fail to disclose the untaxed income to the relevant tax office. To avoid personally committing tax evasion, heirs who have concealed unreported income in an estate can still submit a voluntary declaration leading to immunity from tax evasion charges.
If an heir is aware of unreported income in the estate, he or she must correct the testator’s tax returns as well as inform their fellow heirs and those entitled to a share of the compulsory portion about the testator’s tax evasion. Failure to do so may render them liable to prosecution for fraud. This all means that heirs may be faced with a lot if the estate includes unreported income. While it might therefore be high time to come clean with the tax office, a voluntary declaration can only lead to immunity from tax evasion charges if it is complete and submitted on time, i.e. the tax evasion must not yet have been discovered by the authorities. To this end, any information that is relevant from a tax perspective needs to be presented to the tax office.
For a layperson, it is almost impossible to meet the requirements for a voluntary declaration to lead to immunity. Even minor errors can render a voluntary declaration invalid in its entirety and lead instead to the possibility of a prosecution for tax evasion. Since every case is different and inheritance matters can be particularly complicated, standard templates found online are of no use because they are not capable of sufficiently accounting for the specific circumstances of a given case. Mistakes are then virtually inevitable, and the end result is a voluntary declaration that does not lead to immunity.
That is why lawyers experienced in the fields of tax and criminal tax law ought to be consulted. They know what information a voluntary declaration needs to include for it to lead to immunity and can exercise discretion in helping to prepare it.



who are already getting the benefits

Sign up for the latest advisory briefings and news within Global Advisory Experts’ community, as well as a whole host of features, editorial and conference updates direct to your email inbox.

Naturally you can unsubscribe at any time.

Newsletter Sign Up

About Us

Global Advisory Experts is dedicated to providing exceptional advisory services to clients around the world. With a vast network of highly skilled and experienced advisers, we are committed to delivering innovative and tailored solutions to meet the diverse needs of our clients in various jurisdictions.

Contact Us

Stay Informed

Join Mailing List