Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 17, 2019

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In 2018 and 2019, you can give gifts of $15,000 (referred to as the annual gift tax exclusion) or less per calendar year to each of as many individuals as you want without filing a gift tax return.  Unlimited gifts can be made to a spouse without gift tax consequences. The annual Gift Tax exclusion is indexed annually, which means that you can gift larger amounts in your life without Gift Tax concerns.

Gifts over $15,000 are considered taxable gifts and must be reported on an annual gift tax return, Form 709. Though you must file, you do not have to worry about paying the federal Gift Tax because you can offset the tax by using the unified gift and estate tax exemption. Any federal gift tax assessed on your lifetime gifts will be tallied and subtracted from the combined unified gift and estate tax exemption after you die.  The combined unified gift and estate tax exemption for 2019 is $11.4 million. (With the passage of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, the basic estate exclusion was doubled for 2018, but the figure did not take into account any inflation adjustment. Under the same Act, the basic exclusion amount in 2026 reverts to the 2017 exclusion amount.)