How much money can I gift my child?

September 11, 2023
for People

As of 2023, the gift tax annual exclusion is $17,000. This means that parents can gift their children up to $17,000 while remaining below the threshold of the gift tax. The IRS has a great resource on the topic of gift taxes.

Gift Tax Rates for Amounts Exceeding the Annual Exclusion

When the value of a gift surpasses the $17,000 annual exclusion, the excess amount is subject to gift tax. The gift tax rate ranges from 18% to 40%, depending on the total value of gifts given by an individual over their lifetime. The IRS provides a gift tax table that outlines these rates in detail. It's essential to be aware of these rates and consult with a tax professional if you plan to give substantial gifts in order to avoid potential financial consequences.

Exemptions from Gift Taxes

Certain types of gifts are exempt from gift taxes, regardless of their value. These exemptions include:

Educational Expenses

Direct payments made to educational institutions for someone else's tuition are not subject to gift tax. This exemption applies only to tuition and does not cover other expenses such as books, supplies, or room and board.

Medical Expenses

Gifts made directly to medical providers on behalf of another person for qualified medical expenses are also exempt from gift tax. This includes payments for medical treatments, surgeries, and preventive care. However, it does not cover reimbursing someone for medical expenses they've already paid.

Keep in mind that these exemptions apply only when payments are made directly to the service providers (schools or medical facilities) and not given to the recipient themselves.

Impact of Gifting on Estate Taxes

Gifting assets to your loved ones during your lifetime can have a significant impact on the value of your estate and the resulting estate taxes. By gifting assets up to the annual exclusion limit, you effectively reduce the overall size of your taxable estate. This can be a strategic move for individuals with substantial wealth who want to minimize the potential tax burden on their heirs.

It's important to note that gifts exceeding the annual exclusion limit count toward an individual's lifetime gift tax exemption, which is currently set at $12.06 million in 2023. Once this exemption limit is reached, any additional gifts will be subject to both gift and estate taxes. Consequently, it's crucial to keep track of all gifts given over time and consult with a tax professional or estate planning attorney when planning significant transfers of wealth.

Moreover, some states impose their own separate estate or inheritance taxes, with varying thresholds and rates. When considering gifting strategies, it's essential to factor in any applicable state-level taxes as well as federal taxes to ensure you're making informed decisions about transferring your assets.

Reporting Taxable Gifts with Form 709

To report taxable gifts that exceed the annual exclusion, individuals must file Form 709, United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return. This form is used to calculate and report any gift taxes owed on gifts given during the tax year.

When to File Form 709

Form 709 should be filed by April 15th of the year following the year in which the taxable gift was made. If you need additional time to prepare your return, you can request an extension by filing Form 8892, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Form 709 and/or Payment of Gift/Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax.

Completing Form 709

Filing Form 709 involves several steps:

  1. Identify the Donor: Provide personal information about yourself as the donor, including your name, address, and Social Security Number.
  2. List Gifts: Detail each gift given during the tax year that exceeds the annual exclusion limit, along with its fair market value and recipient's information.
  3. Calculate Taxable Gifts: Subtract any applicable exclusions or deductions (such as educational or medical expenses) from the total value of gifts given during the tax year.
  4. Apply Lifetime Exemption: Determine whether any portion of your lifetime gift tax exemption has been used in previous years and apply any remaining exemption to reduce your taxable gifts.
  5. Compute Gift Taxes: Calculate any gift taxes owed using the IRS gift tax table provided in the instructions for Form 709.
  6. Report Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes (if applicable): If any gifts made during the tax year are subject to the generation-skipping transfer tax, report these amounts on Form 709 as well.

Filing and Paying Gift Taxes

Once Form 709 is completed, submit it to the IRS by mail along with any payment due for gift taxes. The mailing address can be found in the instructions for Form 709. It's important to pay any owed gift taxes by the filing deadline to avoid interest and penalties.

Keep in mind that filing Form 709 does not replace filing your regular income tax return. You must still file your income tax return (such as Form 1040) separately and meet all other tax obligations as required.

Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption

In addition to the annual gift tax exclusion, there is a lifetime gift tax exemption. This exemption allows individuals to give away a larger amount over their lifetime without incurring federal gift taxes. As of 2023, the lifetime gift tax exemption limit is $12.06 million per individual. This means that an individual can give away up to this amount during their lifetime without being subject to federal gift taxes. It's important to note that any amount used from the lifetime exemption will reduce the available estate tax exemption at the time of death.

Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes and Their Relation to Gift Taxes

Generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes are federal taxes that apply to transfers of wealth made directly to grandchildren or more remote descendants, effectively "skipping" a generation. The purpose of this tax is to prevent wealthy families from avoiding estate and gift taxes by transferring assets across multiple generations.

GST Tax Exemption

Similar to the lifetime gift tax exemption, there is a separate GST tax exemption that allows individuals to make generation-skipping transfers up to a certain limit without incurring GST taxes. As of 2023, the GST tax exemption limit is $12.06 million per individual, which is the same as the lifetime gift tax exemption.

How GST Taxes Interact with Gift Taxes

When making gifts that qualify as generation-skipping transfers, both gift taxes and GST taxes may apply. If the transfer exceeds the annual gift tax exclusion of $17,000 per recipient, the excess amount will be subject to gift tax rates ranging from 18% to 40%. Additionally, if the total value of generation-skipping transfers surpasses the $12.06 million GST tax exemption limit during an individual's lifetime, any further transfers will be subject to a flat 40% GST tax rate.

It's important to note that using your annual gift tax exclusion for transfers made directly to grandchildren can help reduce both your lifetime gift and GST tax exemptions. However, it's essential to consult with a tax professional or estate planning attorney when making significant gifts that may involve both types of taxes.

Dynasty Trusts: A Strategy for Minimizing Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes

One strategy some families use to minimize their exposure to generation-skipping transfer taxes is setting up a dynasty trust. A dynasty trust is a long-term irrevocable trust designed specifically for passing assets down through multiple generations while minimizing estate and GST taxes. By placing assets into a dynasty trust, families can potentially avoid or reduce the impact of GST taxes on their wealth transfers. However, establishing and maintaining a dynasty trust is complex and typically requires the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney.


In the intricate landscape of financial gifting, understanding the nuances of gift taxes, estate implications, and generation-skipping transfer taxes is paramount. As of 2023, with the gift tax annual exclusion set at $17,000 and the lifetime gift tax and GST tax exemptions both at $12.06 million, individuals have opportunities to strategically manage their wealth transfers. However, the complexities of these tax structures underscore the importance of informed decision-making. Whether considering direct gifts, leveraging educational or medical exemptions, or contemplating the establishment of a dynasty trust, consulting with tax professionals or estate planning attorneys is crucial. As families navigate the realm of wealth transfer, a proactive and informed approach ensures not only compliance with tax regulations but also the preservation of assets for future generations.