Los Angeles Tax Attorney Bruce Givner Discusses IRS Form 709 – “Who Must File?”

by Bruce Givner on July 10, 2012

IRS Form 709 – Gift Tax Return – is required if you exceed the annual gifting amount, consent to split a gift, or give a gift of a future interest.  You can also use an IRS Form 709– Gift Tax Return to report an allocation of the lifetime Generation Skipping Tax (GST) exemption to property transferred during the transferor’s lifetime.

Specifically, any U.S. citizen or resident may need to file Form 709 – Gift Tax Return in the following situations:

1.    In 2011, your taxable gifts to anyone, other than your spouse, total more than $13 thousand.
2.    Regardless of the value, you give a gift of a future interest.
3.    Regardless of the value, you and your spouse choose to split the gift(s).  Since a husband and wife may not file a joint gift tax return, each individual is responsible for his or her own Form 709.
4.    A gift is made from community property; therefore one-half is allocated to each spouse.
5.    A gift held in joint tenancy or tenants by the entirety is given, thereby allocating the appropriate interest to the other title holder(s).

Trusts, estates, partnerships, and corporations are not required to file IRS Form 709.  However, the individual beneficiaries, partners, or stockholders are considered donors and may be liable for the gift and GST taxes.   If a donor dies before the IRS Form 709 is due, the donor’s estate is required to file the return.

Donors are responsible for paying the gift tax.  If the donor does not pay a gift tax due, the person who receives the gift may be liable for the gift tax due.

If you are considering gifting as part of your estate planning, meet with a qualified tax and estate planning attorney.   Givner & Kaye focuses on sophisticated income tax planning, asset protection plans, and estate planning for individuals and businesses in Beverly Hills, Calabasas, West Los Angeles, Hollywood, and other areas of Los Angeles County.  On the first and third Thursday of every month, Givner & Kaye hosts its MCLE & CE accredited series - "Thursday Insights."   Call Los Angeles Tax Attorneys Givner & Kaye at (310) 207-8008 today.

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