Many taxpayers believe they can deduct gifts they give to other individuals. That is not true! To prevent people from giving their assets away prior to their death and thereby avoid taxes on their estate, our tax system includes a gift tax, which is paid by the giver and must be reported on a gift tax return if the amount given to any one individual for the year exceeds the annual gift exemption ($14,000 for 2016 and 2017). Gifts of larger amounts are taxable but each individual giver can offset the gift tax with a tax credit that is based on a lifetime exemption of taxable gifts. Caution – credit used to offset gift tax will not be available to offset estate taxes when the giver passes away.
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