Who pays the gift tax on large cash gifts?

December 10, 2014 by Dave Du Val, EA
Gift wrapped in five dollar bill

Hey Dave,

I’ve never been married, and I have no children. I’ve been successful in my career and I have a lot of money saved. This year I want to give my six nieces and nephews $20,000 each for Christmas. But before I do, I want to make sure they won’t have to pay taxes on the money. And I am assuming I can deduct it all on my own tax return, right?

Auntie Angie



The good news is that these gifts will not be considered taxable income to your nieces and nephews. But, unfortunately, there is no deduction allowed for the gifts either. And since the individual gifts exceed the annual gift tax exclusion amount of $14,000 per person, you will be required to file a gift tax return for 2014.

Form 709, United States Gift Tax Return, is due on April 15th, even if there is no tax owed. The form is used to track how much of an individual’s lifetime exclusion ($5.34 million for 2014) has been used. The lifetime gift tax exclusion is reduced by the taxable gifts that have been reported on Form 709 during the lifetime of the individual. Amounts over the exclusion amount are taxed at the estate tax rate.

Although it is not tax advice, if your nieces and nephews are still minors or college age, it may be a good idea to discuss your plans with your siblings before presenting these gifts to your nieces and nephews. If they object to their children receiving that much cash, you might be able to work something out with them that would keep all parties happy. For example, they may prefer that you fund a college tuition 529 plan rather than make the gifts directly. One advantage to you of contributing to a 529 plan is that for gift tax purposes you can account for the gift ratably over five years, rather than account for it all in one year. Thus, you will not have to worry about exceeding the $14,000 limit, unless you make large gifts in the future.  And, if your nieces and nephews are already college age, you should keep in mind that amounts you pay directly to an educational institution for their tuition would be exempt from the gift tax requirements. The same would be true for medical expenses that you pay directly to a medical provider on their behalf.

We hope you enjoy your holidays.

Deductibly Yours,




David E. Du Val, EA
Chief Compliance Officer for TRI Holdco


Dave Du Val, EA, is Chief Compliance Officer for TRI Holdco. Inc., the parent company of TaxAudit, and Centenal Tax Group. A nationally recognized speaker and educator, Dave is well known for his high energy and dynamic presentation style. He is a frequent and popular guest speaker for the California Society of Tax Consultants, the California Society of Enrolled Agents and the National Association of Tax Professionals. Dave frequently contributes tax tips and information to news publications, including US News and World Report, USA Today, and CPA Practice Advisor. Dave is an Enrolled Agent who has prepared thousands of returns during his career and has trained and mentored hundreds of tax professionals. He is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, the National Association of Enrolled Agents and the California Society of Enrolled Agents. Dave also holds a Master of Arts in Education and has been educating people since 1972. 


Recent Articles

Double Taxation written on notepad
Most states that have income taxes offer a credit for taxes paid to another state on the same income, although how that credit is calculated is not identical.
File Cabinet with Documents
IRS notice CP05A is sent by the IRS to inform taxpayers that they need more information about the submitted income tax return before a tax refund can be issued.
Father and son baking cookies
You received an IRS CP87A because someone else filed a tax return and claimed the same dependent or qualifying child that you claimed on your tax return.
Man worried about money
Per the collection statute expiration date, the IRS generally has 10 years from the date they assess your tax balance to collect taxes owed.
This blog does not provide legal, financial, accounting, or tax advice. The content on this blog is “as is” and carries no warranties. TaxAudit does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the content of this blog. Content may become out of date as tax laws change. TaxAudit may, but has no obligation to monitor or respond to comments.