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Can a married couple be given separate gift checks of $15000 from the same person and not have it count as income on their 2018 returns? Is there any penalty for the giver?

  • A country tag would be helpful, as different countries have different tax laws! – Victor Jan 29 '18 at 0:39
  • These are true gifts, not part of any other transaction given out of generosity? – David Schwartz Jan 29 '18 at 9:36
  • Jenn please confirm country, as answers seem to assume US so far. – JoeTaxpayer Jan 31 '18 at 17:30
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Assuming US since question uses the annual gift tax exclusion rate for US.

The annual gift tax exclusion is per person giving to another person. So a parent could give 2x to couple by giving to husband and wife, or a couple could give 4x to another couple. There is no filing requirement created if the gift amount is under the annual exclusion.

If gifts exceed the annual exclusion amount (or if gifts are given by each spouse), the giver has a filing requirement, not the recipient (it's not reported as income on the recipients return). The giver files Form 709 with their return, but they won't actually owe gift tax unless they have exhausted their lifetime exemption ($11.2 million, or double for couples if planned properly).

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    In the case of a "split gift", the giver must file form 709 even if each half is less than the exclusion amount. irs.gov/newsroom/… – Yosef Weiner Jan 31 '18 at 6:52
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In the U.S., with the facts stated, there is no need for the giver or recipients to file a gift tax return.

  • In the U.S., recipients do not need to file a gift tax return at all under any circumstances (though the IRS may come after them for the gift tax due if the gift is large and the donor has thumbed his/her nose at the IRS and not filed a gift tax return at all). – Dilip Sarwate Jan 29 '18 at 20:01

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