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Consequences for the heir – incorrect income tax declaration by the testator – tax consultants – Hagen – Holzwickede – Kamen – Lünen – Dortmund

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The heir or a community of heirs, as universal successor, basically assumes the complete legal status of the decedent. In this context, the Federal Fiscal Court has pointed out some consequences in the event that the decedent has filed incorrect income tax returns.

If, after the death of the decedent, it is determined that the decedent filed incorrect tax returns, the heir is liable for the evaded taxes. In this context, the heir is obliged to correct the decedent’s tax returns if he realizes that they were incorrect or incomplete.

This also applies if the tax return submitted by the decedent is deemed null and void due to dementia, but at least one of the heirs knew about the incorrect tax return. If the latter fails to make the correction, he is guilty of tax evasion with the consequence that the limitation period for assessment is extended to 10 years (Section 169 (2) sentence 2 of the Tax Code).

This extended deadline also applies to all other co-heirs, even if they were not aware of the incorrect tax return. In addition, all co-heirs are jointly and severally liable for the abridged taxes. This means that the tax office may, at its discretion, claim any heir for the entire tax liability.


(Further comments & information on this can be found in our information letter 04/2018 under the item 6.)