Wealth & Risk Management Blog

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Exclusions from Gross Income—Gifts

Posted by William Byrnes on December 23, 2010


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers? Discusses gifts and the general income tax implications gifts have to those who are the beneficiaries.  Also discusses gifts as they relate to estate taxes.

As Christmas and Holiday time approaches, some clients who may be expecting large sums from Santa or other sources as gifts, may be interested to know the tax laws on gifts generally; today’s blogiticle present’s our “re-gifting” of an old idea, Section 102 of the Internal Revenue Code.

For those who haven’t had an opportunity to read the Code lately, (some estimate the Code and Regulations are close to 80,000 pages) there are still a few “friendly” sections that remain which serve as a reminder of a time gone by.  Side Note:  These authors have not yet evaluated the shortest Code section in terms of actual words, but if we were to, our guess is that Section 102 would be in the running at 212 words.

Section 102(a) reads: “Gross income does not include the value of property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance.”  It is worth noting, if we go back to Section 61, and the starting point for gross income, that Section 61(a) states:  “Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle gross income means all income from whatever source derived…”   The “[e]xcept as otherwise provided” is applicable here to amounts received as a gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance, which are specifically excluded from gross income.  In other words, a taxpayer can give another taxpayer a gift of $1,000,000 and the latter will not recognize a penny of income for tax purposes, so long as it is really a gift, bequest, devise or inheritance.  To read this article excerpted above, please access www.AdvisorFX.com

For further discussion on the gift tax generally see, AdvisorFX: Nature and Background of the Federal Gift Tax (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

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