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Julie Garber

Do You Need to File a Gift Tax Return, Form 709, For Gifts You Made in 2011?

By April 10, 2012

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It's that time of year again - time for me to write about the other tax return that is due on April 15 of each year, or actually April 17, 2012, for taxable gifts that were made during 2011 - IRS Form 709, United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return. Here is how to determine if you will need to file a gift tax return for gifts that you made during 2011:

  • Did you give anyone other than your spouse who is a U.S. citizen a gift or series of gifts during 2011 which exceeded $13,000 in value? If you answer yes to this question, then you will need to file a 2011 Form 709. Note that gifts made to one individual during 2011 that do not exceed $13,000 in total value qualify as annual exclusion gifts.

  • Did you give your spouse who is not a U.S. citizen a gift or series of gifts during 2011 which exceeded $136,000 in value? If you answer yes to this question, then you will need to file a 2011 Form 709.

  • Did you give anyone a gift or series of gifts during 2011 that were considered gifts of a future interest? If you answer yes to this question, then you will need to file a 2011 Form 709.

  • Did you receive a gift or series of gifts during 2011 that exceeded $13,000? Even if you answer yes to this question, you will not have to file a 2011 Form 709, nor will you have to include the amount gifted to you in your taxable income -think about it, if you did include the amount given to you in your taxable income, then how could it have been a gift in the first place? It is the person who makes the taxable gift who must file a gift tax return, not the person who receives the gift.

If you need to file a 2011 gift tax return but will not be able to file it on or before April 17, 2012, then there are two ways for you to receive an automatic six-month extension of time to file the return:

  1. If you file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Individual Income Tax Return, to automatically extend the time to file your personal income tax return, then this will also automatically extend the time to file your gift tax return.

  2. If you do not need to extend the time to file your personal income tax return, then you can receive an automatic extension by filing Form 8892, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Form 709.

Note that as with income taxes, any gift taxes that will be due for gifts that you made during 2011 must be paid on or before April 17, 2012, regardless of whether you request an automatic six-month extension of time to file Form 709, otherwise interest and possibly penalties will accrue until the gift tax is paid in full.

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