Gift Tax Explained

Posted by urbandigs

Thu Apr 19th, 2007 09:58 AM

A: Well I might as well pass on something that was discussed in this continuing education class that is taking all my free time. While I knew about this, some of you probably didnt. Often I find with buyer customers that the intended purchaser doesn't have sufficient liquid assets to make the home purchase and/or pass the board. The easy way out? Get a gift from a parent! Here is what you need to know.

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What is a Gift Tax: The gift tax is a tax on the transfer of property by one individual to another while receiving nothing, or less than full value, in return. The tax applies whether the donor intends the transfer to be a gift or not.

The gift tax applies to the transfer by gift of any property. You make a gift if you give property (including money), or the use of or income from property, without expecting to receive something of at least equal value in return. If you sell something at less than its full value or if you make an interest-free or reduced-interest loan, you may be making a gift.

Who Pays the Gift Tax
? The donor is generally responsible for paying the gift tax. Under special arrangements the donee may agree to pay the tax instead. Please visit with your tax professional if you are considering this type of arrangement.

Here are the exemptions to the Federal Gift Tax:

  • the annual exclusion of $12,000 (recently upped from $11,000)

  • tuition or medical expenses for another

  • gifts to a spouse

  • gifts to a political organization

  • gifts to a charity


  • To relate to what I see in the real estate world, married couples can each separately give up to $12,000 to the same person each year without making a taxable gift. So, a couple can pass down $24,000 to one child per year and be exempt from any gift taxes.

    You can continue to gift up to $1,000,000 during a lifetime and get the exemptions from gift tax.

    You can NOT deduct the value of the gift donated unless it was made to a charitable organization.

    UrbanDigs Says: A gift is usually considered if the intended purchaser (that is the buyer who expects to be on the title or the stock) does not have the required assets to make the downpayment and closing costs, and still have some monies leftover to pass a board. In the case of a co-op transaction, the gift SHOULD be completed a good 2-3 months before preparation of the board package. Quite simply, you do NOT want that deposit to show up on the hard copies of the financial statements used to backup the listed assets of the buyer. If the deposit is shown, it could raise a red flag in the eyes of the board members. In my experience, I have always advised my client to provide a gift letter only if the deposit is shown on the financial statement provided used to backup a listed asset. So far I have not had any problems. For my clients that got the gift into their accounts early, I have not had any problems.

    Knock on wood!


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