If you and your partner have a joint account, you also run the risk of unknowingly evading taxes. Debt is an often overlooked tax office rule. Couples should urgently examine their finances.

An example shows how quickly a tax rule turns average citizens into unintentional tax evaders: Anyone who is neither married nor in a registered partnership is only allowed to give their partner 20,000 euros tax-free over ten years, writes the Federal Chamber of Notaries. Almost all couples who live together for such a long time exceed this value.

Calculation example 1:

If the partners earn differently but pay all expenses from the joint account, the higher-earning partner gives the lower-earning partner money with every joint purchase.

Assuming that partner A earns 80 percent of the household income: the couple splits joint expenses 50-50 and income 80-20. 30 percent of all costs for joint purchases count as gifts.

These gifts add up:

Even small differences in earnings are likely to make unmarried and unregistered partners tax evaders. Significant differences, for example when a partner cuts back on the family, are even more important.

Married and registered partners are allowed to give their partners 500,000 euros tax-free over ten years. This reduces the risk of unknowingly becoming a tax evader and creates treacherous security.

The tricky thing is that the exemption amount of 500,000 euros seems so high that no normal earner can reach it anyway: but if special items such as inheritance, promotion or unexpected strokes of luck are added, even normal earners exceed the limit. If unprepared, they run the risk of overlooking this and evading taxes.

Calculation example 2:

This scenario turns the example couple into tax evaders. Partner A gives partner B 648,000 euros over ten years: 480,000 euros for the house, 168,000 euros for living expenses. This is well above the exemption amount of 500,000 euros.

Larger inheritances also quickly catapult married couples over the allowance.

Families in particular have to be careful not to unknowingly evade taxes. For them, normal living costs alone often make up a large portion of the gift tax.

Details or not, if you want to know whether you should talk to a tax advisor, you can easily do this in three steps:

If the result is close to or significantly above 500,000 euros, couples should speak to a tax advisor. He can calculate the exact amount and plan the next steps.

If you are neither married nor living in a registered partnership, you should do so starting at a value of around 20,000 euros.

Married couples with high earners become tax evaders even without making large purchases. If one partner earns a top income as a self-employed or well-employed person, both of them quickly fall into the tax trap.

Calculation example 3:

If households have unknowingly evaded taxes up to now, they probably don’t have to fear any penalties. Tax advisors say in consistent media reports that tax offices rarely take action in these cases and, if they do take action, remain accommodating: more likely to be a back payment than a penalty.

However, households should not take the issue lightly: for larger values, an additional payment can put a huge burden on households. Planning in advance is better.

Separate accounts from which couples transfer their income to the joint account help to keep track of expenses and income. The higher-earning partner can also transfer monthly household money to the lower-earning partner in order to keep track of things.

Couples who find this too complicated should at least do the rough calculation from point three. Then you will know whether they are at any risk of evading taxes.