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My wife and I are planning on buying a house in the near future. My mother has offered to give us $30,000 to put towards our down payment. I am interested to know what method to receive the money would be best and to avoid as much hassle/taxes from the government.

Our real estate agent has said that there is a law that any money we use for the down payment must be "seasoned" for a minimum of two months in our account before we are allowed to use it, so a protracted solution is not desirable but understandable if unavoidable.

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    Which country are you in? – Hart CO Oct 20 '17 at 17:24
  • USA. I am an American citizen, my wife is a Chinese citizen. My mother is an American citizen. – Colin Oct 20 '17 at 17:47
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Your mother can give you $14k and your wife $14k (every year) without creating a gift-tax filing requirement, anything in excess of that and she will have to file form 709 with her tax return, but she will not have gift tax liability on her end unless her lifetime gift tax exemption (currently $5.49M) has been exhausted.

As the recipients of the gift, you have no tax liability or reporting requirement. So the easiest method would be for her to write you and your wife each checks for $14k. Since it's almost the end of the year, she could give you the extra $2k next year if needed, that smaller amount would not likely need to 'season' for loan approval.

Since you mentioned only your mother, I assumed it's just her, but if your mother is married, both her and her spouse could each give you and your wife $14k without creating a filing requirement, so up to $56k in gifts from one couple to another, or $28k from one party to a couple. It doesn't have to be a spouse, that's just the typical scenario.

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    You will probably need a letter from your mother explaining that the amount is a gift to help you and your wife cover your downpayment and that no repayment is expected. See using gifted money as a downpayment. – David Schwartz Oct 20 '17 at 17:49
  • @DavidSchwartz That's a nice article, I was only aware of the 'seasoning' idea and not aware of using a letter to get around that. I also wasn't aware that nobody seems to care if the entire down payment is a gift if you're putting 20%+ down. – Hart CO Oct 20 '17 at 17:53
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    Also, the down payment can not be a loan. – ventsyv Oct 20 '17 at 17:54

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