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Tax guidelines and regulations for large money transfers into Europe

Both you and your recipient may be required to file.

Updated

Fact checked

If your recipient lives in a country with a gift tax or if you’re sending money for business purposes, they may be required to pay taxes on the transfer. And you may be required to report it on your yearly tax return in the US — regardless of whether or not you owe anything.

How Europe regulates large remittances

Each country in Europe has its own laws on gift taxes — the tax you or your recipient pays when you gift money or property whose value is above a specified amount. Some countries exempt gifts from the burden of taxation altogether, while others consider the relationship of you to your gift beneficiary.

If the money is for business purposes, such as purchasing goods or receiving advice, your recipient will likely have to report it on their taxes as foreign income.

Here’s a general rundown of how European countries handle the gift tax.

CountryGift size exempt from taxation
AlbaniaNo gift tax
AndorraNo gift tax
ArmeniaNo gift tax
AustriaNo gift tax
AzerbaijanExempt from gift tax if received from family members
BelarusTax law provides exemption for inheritances and partial exemption for general gifts
Belgium3% to 30% of the gift amount
Bosnia and Herzegovina2% to 10% of the gift amount
Bulgaria0.4% to 0.8% on inheritances from family members and 3.3% to 6.6% for other beneficiaries
Croatia5% if gift is worth more than 50,000 HRK
CyprusNo gift tax
Czech Republic1% to 40% depending on degree of family relationship
DenmarkNo gift tax
EstoniaNo gift tax
Finland€1 to €4,999
France5% to 45% of gift amount, depending on degree of relationship
GeorgiaNo gift tax, though inheritance taxes depend on degree of relationship
GermanyRemote relatives or family typically pay higher taxes
GreeceVaries by relationship of gifter to giftee
Hungary2% to 40% of gift amount, depending on degree of relationship
IcelandGifts for special occasions are exempt provided they’re “not of extraordinary value”
IrelandVaries by relationship of gifter to giftee
ItalyUp to 1 million euros exempt for spouses, children and grandchildren
KazakhstanNo gift tax
LatviaNo gift tax
LiechtensteinNo gift tax
Lithuania€2,500 provided that gifts come from close relatives
Luxembourg0% to 48% of gift amount, depending on relationship to beneficiary
Macedonia2% to 5% of gift amount, depending on relationship to beneficiary
MaltaNo gift tax
MoldovaNo gift tax
MonacoRates vary depending on relationship to beneficiary
MontenegroNo gift tax
NetherlandsExempt up to 4,479 euros, depending on relationship to beneficiary, or up to 22,379 euros once in a child’s lifetime
NorwayNo gift tax
PolandRates vary by relationship of donor to donee
PortugalNo gift tax
RomaniaNo gift tax
RussiaNo gift tax
San MarinoUp to 1 million euros exempt for spouses, children and grandchildren
Serbia1.5% to 2.5%, depending on relationship to beneficiary
SlovakiaNo gift tax
Slovenia€5,000 for immediate successors
Spain7.65% to 34.00%, depending on value and relationship to beneficiary
SwedenNo gift tax
SwitzerlandNo gift tax
Turkey10% to 30%, depending on the gift’s value and relationship to beneficiary
UkraineNo gift tax
United KingdomNo gift tax
Vatican CityUp to 1 million euros exempt for spouses, children and grandchildren

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What are the penalties in Europe if my recipient fails to file?

Just as US citizens are required to submit annual tax returns, so too are citizens of most European countries. If your recipient fails to declare a large remittance on their tax returns, they could face stiff financial penalties and even jail time.

In a post-9/11 world, financial institutions and independent transfer specialists are required to record the source of large transfers and report suspicious deposits to the government, which means that if your recipient doesn’t list a transfer on their taxes, it will likely be found out. Encourage your family and friends in Europe to declare large gifts to avoid further trouble down the road.

Do I have to report large transfers out of the US?

Yes. If you’re sending more than $10,000 for business purposes or $15,000 as a gift, or if you’re sending money to an overseas account in your name, you’ll likely be required to report it to the government.

By law, banks report all cash transactions that exceed $10,000 — and any transaction of any amount that alerts their suspicions. Independent money transfer specialists are sometimes required to report at thresholds as low as $1,000.

To avoid the severe penalties (including jail time) that could come with a failure to report large sums of money out of the country, speak with a professional to guarantee that everything is above board and complies with the laws of all countries involved.
Sending a lot of money out of the country? Know what the IRS expects of you.

How much money can I send to Europe?

The US government doesn’t put a cap on how much money you can send overseas. But some transfer providers do, so choose a limit-free provider like XE if you’re planning a large transfer.

How my recipient in Europe get the money?

Depending on which provider you choose, your options include bank-to-bank transfers, cash pickups and transfers to mobile wallets.

If your loved one or associate is picking up the cash in person, they may need to show government-issued ID or a transaction confirmation number to prove they’re your intended recipient. For electronic transfers, they may not need to provide any additional information.

Confirm with your bank or independent money transfer provider the exact information your friends and family might need to receive your funds.

How to send $1 million overseas

Bottom line

If you’re initiating a large overseas transfer, both you and your recipient may be required to report it on your taxes — and depending on which country they live in, they may need to pay a gift tax or report it as foreign income.

As with all international money transfers, compare providers to get the best deal before initiating a transfer, and be protect yourself from fraud by only sending money to people you know. Using a reputable provider can safeguard you from potential scams.

Frequently asked questions

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