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Tax free living inheritance gifts

Tax Free Living Inheritance Gifts

Many people want to leave their loved ones something valuable but don’t want to pay taxes on the gift. There are a few ways to give tax free living inheritance gifts.

A gift tax is a federal tax that is levied on the value of gifts given to individuals during the calendar year. Generally, the giver is responsible for paying the gift tax. However, the recipient may be able to get a gift tax exclusion.

In this article, we’ll discuss tax free gifts through living inheritance and estate taxes through death.

What is the gift tax exemption amount?

In 2022, the gift tax exemption amount is $16,000 per person per year. This exemption applies to the total value of gifts given during the calendar year. The recipient does not have to be a family member or close friend. The gift can be in money, property, or anything else of value.

If the individual is married, the exemption is raised to $32,000. This is called gift splitting. Estate and gift tax applies to any gift over the exemption amount. Gifts over the exemption amount are generally taxed at 18 – 40%.

What are the rules for giving more than the annual gift tax exclusion?

When you give more than the annual gift tax exclusion amount in a year, you may pay gift tax on the excess. The annual gift tax exclusion is currently $16,000 per person.

Some exceptions to the annual gift tax exclusion include gifts made to your spouse or registered domestic partner, qualifying charitable organizations, and irrevocable life insurance trust.

When someone gives more than the annual gift tax exclusion, they must file form 709 with the IRS. The form not only declares that the individual has gifted more than the $16,000 limit in one year but also provides instructions on how to pay the gift tax. Failure to file form 709 can result in a hefty fine for the giver.

Form 709

Form 709 is the form used to file a gift tax return. A gift tax return is filed only when someone gives a gift to another person that exceeds the annual exclusion amount. The tax is imposed on the donor, not the recipient. The tax is based on the value of the fair market value of the property transferred or the monetary value gifted.

Gifting more than IRS limit triggers form 709

How does annual exclusion work?

The annual gift tax exclusion is a special tax break that allows taxpayers to gift money or property to others each year without paying taxes. This tax break is available to individuals, couples, and families. As mentioned above, the annual exclusion amount for 2022 is $16,000 per individual and $32,000 per couple.

The exemption limit is per person, which means that you can give away money, property, or anything of value, such as stocks and bonds that equate to $16,000 or less, and it will be tax free.

For example, your sister, brother-in-law, and two children can get up to $64,000 of tax free gifts.

You’ll have to gift each person $16,000 to avoid reporting each recipient’s amount to the IRS. This means your sister, brother-in-law, and their children will each receive $16,000.

This amount can double if you and your husband elect to gift split. Instead of giving each family member $16,000, you and your husband can gift each recipient $32,000. This will bring up your sister’s family gift amount from $64,000 to $128,000.

You can give additional gifts at a tax free rate by using the lifetime gift tax exclusion amount.

What is the lifetime gift tax exemption?

The lifetime exemption is a significant federal gift tax deduction that reduces the taxable value of a gift. The exemption applies to gifts made during the donor’s lifetime, provided that the donor meets certain requirements.

The lifetime gift tax exemption was first enacted in 1932 and has been increased since then. Congress passed the gift tax law to reduce tax avoidance by wealthy individuals. As of 2022, the lifetime exemption is $12,060,000 per individual. Married couples have a lifetime exclusion amount of $24,120,000 for 2022, and this value changes yearly due to inflation.

Making gifts during your life can help you save taxes and more

Most people don’t want to pay any taxes on their assets, especially if they gift them to a family member, charity, or their beloved children. In 2022, the total gift and estate tax exemption are $12.06 million, meaning whoever dies can leave or donate $12.06 million to others without paying federal estate tax.

Also, you may be able to make a direct transfer of assets without paying estate or gift taxes. Most parents are scared to transfer assets or give gifts to their children, thinking it will increase their tax contributions. However, this may not always be the case.

A transfer of assets can certainly be hit with taxes. Let’s face it, there are different taxes imposed on large gifts. These taxes may include individual estate state taxes, gift taxes, and inheritance taxes, depending on the amount and state you reside. However, the blow can be limited.

You can limit your gift, inheritance, or federal estate tax by proper estate planning and knowing the laws and limits in the State you reside.

Who can give a tax free inheritance?

A tax free inheritance is one that is not taxed when it is received. To qualify for a tax free inheritance, the person receiving it must meet certain requirements, such as a resident or U.S citizen.

Most people don’t know that inheritance tax is a state tax. It is sometimes imposed on assets inheritable after a person’s death depending on your state. The person who inherits the assets must pay the tax, and rates may vary based on the amount of the inheritance as well as the relationship between the deceased inheritor.

Inheritances can be taxed if handed down to you by an individual other than an immediate family member. However, you should know that inheritance taxes are often avoided for practical reasons.

The inheritance tax is applied only in six states. These states are Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. After January 1st 2025, Iowa will no longer collect inheritance taxes from taxpayers.

Maryland is the only U.S. state to levy both an inheritance tax and an estate tax.

Which gifts are exempt from federal gift and estate taxes?

There are other options for reducing the gift and estate tax you pay. These exemptions are intended to help individuals transfer wealth without excessive taxation.

The following gifts are exempt from federal gift and estate tax:

  • Gifts to a spouse
  • Gifts given to a political organization
  • Gifts donated to a charity
  • Any gift of $16,000 or less per recipient in 2022
  • Gifts paid directly to tuition (up to $80,000 in 2022 for a 5-year span)
  • Gifts directly paid to medical expenses (Limitations may apply)
  • Irrevocable life insurance trust
  • Inheritance (Limitations may apply depending on State)

What can be gifted?

A few things can be gifted, including money, property, and other assets. In order to gift something, the giver must relinquish all ownership and control over the item to the recipient.

This means that the giver cannot retain the right to change their mind or take back the gift at any time. In some cases, the recipient becomes responsible for taxes or other liabilities associated with the gift.

The following can be gifted for gift tax purposes: cash, stocks, bonds, and other property. The maximum value of gifts that can be given in a calendar year without incurring a gift tax is $16,000 per recipient. Gifts exceeding this amount are subject to the gift tax.

However, a lifetime exemption of $12.06 million can be used to offset any taxable gifts made during a person’s lifetime.

Gifts paid toward school tuition

Qualified Tuition Programs

If you contribute $16,000 or more to a qualified tuition program (QTP) in 2022, you can make up to $80,000 of the contribution for that person tax free. This means you may choose to treat the $80,000 of the contribution as if you’d made it over a 5-year period.

The election allows you to treat a fraction of your contribution in each of the 5 years beginning with 2022 annually.

This election allows you to apply the annual exclusion for the five consecutive years, beginning with the year 2022. You can make this election for as many people as you made QTP contributions.

How to report QTP gift taxes?

To report qualified tuition program gift taxes, you must report any amount that exceeds $80,000 for 2022. For each of the five years listed on Schedule A, Part 1, you document one-fifth (20 percent) of your election’s proceeds.

In column E of Schedule A, Part 1, list the date of the gift you wish to include as the calendar year during which you gifted (that is, the current year’s Form 709 you are filing). Do not list the annual contribution for subsequent years.

Do note that you do not have to file form 709 on the remaining amount for subsequent years unless you make another gift donation that requires you to file a gift tax return.

For example: Suppose in 2022, you contributed $80,000 to a QTP for the benefit of your child. You can elect to treat the entire $80,000 of this contribution as having been made over a 5-year period.

If you did not give away gifts above the gift limit within the 5-year span, you are not required to file a gift tax return.

If you do contribute another gift above the limit within the 5-year span, you will need to file gift taxes.

Let’s illustrate an example.

Suppose you gift your nephew $18,000 in 2023. On your 2023 Form 709, you’ll report in Part 1 of Schedule A the $18,000 gift to your nephew and a $16,000 gift to your child (the one-fifth portion of the 2022 gift that is treated as made in 2023). In column E of Part 1 on the Schedule A form, you must list “2023” as the date of the gift.

How to gift money or assets without paying estate and gift tax

When gifting money or assets, it is important to consider the tax implications of the gift. In order to give tax free gifts such as money or assets, you must fill out a Gift Tax Return (Form 709) and report the value of the gift. Generally, any gift that is over $16,000 in value in 2022 is subject to a gift tax.

However, there are several ways to avoid or reduce the tax you owe on a gift.

Besides following the gift tax limits or using the lifetime exclusion, a great way to gift money or assets tax free is through the irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT).

Irrevocable life insurance trust

An irrevocable life insurance trust or ILIT is a type of trust funded during your lifetime with one or more life insurance policies. This type of trust is irrevocable, which means that once it is created, the trust cannot be changed.

An irrevocable life insurance trust can aid in avoiding having your policy death benefits included in your estate for federal estate tax purposes. An ILIT also gives you the ability to direct, through the trust document, how the trust assets are used.

It can also help coordinate the gift tax exclusion per individual.

If you’re thinking about setting up an irrevocable lifetime income trust (ILIT), now may be a good time, as gift tax limits are set to reset after 2025.

Plan for your children through tax free gifts

Making large gifts now won’t harm estates after 2025

Large gifts given now will not harm the estate after 2025. The estate tax exemption will be set back to normal after 2025.

The IRS made a statement dated November 26, 2019, indicating that individuals who take advantage of the increased gift tax exemption from 2018 to 2025 will not be adversely affected after 2025 once the exemption amount returns to pre-2018 levels.

These changes were made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), tax reform legislation passed in December 2017. For up-to-date information, see Related Tax Reform.

Tax Cut and Jobs Act: Estate and gift tax exemption

Under the tax cut and jobs act, the basic exclusion amount for an estate tax return for a 2022 date of death increases from 11.7 million dollars to $12,060,000 before considering the necessary inflation adjustment. See the sections Form 706 Changes and Exclusions from the Regulations Concerning Tax-Exempt Not-For-Profit Organizations for the 2022 basic exclusion amount.


A gift for gift tax purposes is a transfer of property from one individual to another with no consideration given in return. The most common gifts subject to gift tax are cash, stocks, and property.

Gifts and inheritances may be subject to taxes; however, knowing the law and tax implications can lower the amount you pay. It can also guide you to gift tax free living inheritance gifts to your loved ones.

Gifts made to your spouse, gifts made to a political organization, and gifts that are considered de minimis are a few examples of tax free gifts. Generally, any gift over $16,000 per individual per year is subject to gift tax. However, there are exclusions to this rule.


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