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What Is A Bona Fide Gift

What Is A Bona Fide Gift? Explained

Last Updated on March 23, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

Numerous individuals are uncertain about what exactly constitutes a “bona fide gift” and if there are any tax implications tied to it.

In this article, we will discuss what bona fide gifts are and how they are taxed.

What Does a Bona Fide Gift Mean?

woman holding gift

A bona fide gift is a legal term that refers to something that is given without any intention of expecting something in return. 

It is usually an act of generosity, often between family and friends, and can be a physical object such as clothing or jewelry or something intangible such as knowledge and affection. 

In some cases, these gifts may also be monetary and tax-free as long as all requirements are met. 

These conditions include proving that the donor had no indication of expecting a gift in exchange for their generosity, nor did they expect any other benefit from the transaction. 

Additionally, the recipient must do nothing to induce or influence the donor to make this gesture. 

Such requirements depend on the governing laws where it took place, emphasizing the importance of recognizing legal boundaries when making a gift.

Read more about what to say when you give a gift here.

Is There Tax On A Bona Fide Gift?

Generally speaking, you don’t have to pay taxes when you receive a bona fide gift. Gifts are not regarded as income by the IRS and hence are not subject to taxation.

 Furthermore, if someone gives you property or money as a gift, the donor will be responsible for any tax [1] liability that comes with the transfer, not you. 

However, for the most part, it is considered a tax-free transaction since no immediate earnings are associated with it. 

Most people do not need to report gifts to the IRS or file any special documents regarding their gifts. At least after giving $16,000 in cash or property has been gifted from one person to another in a year. 

What Will Happen If I Don’t File My Gift Tax? 

Failure to file a gift tax return might have severe repercussions.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may impose an accuracy-related charge of 20% of the gift tax plus any interest or penalties accrued for late filing.

Meanwhile, if the failure resulted from fraud or willful contempt of the IRS rules, there will be a civil fraud penalty of up to 75% of the amount from the costs already incurred.

Additionally, if you are audited or caught by official inspection, later on, you may face criminal penalties as well. 

Any taxes imposed by gifting money or property must be taken seriously; make sure to file your gift tax return as soon as possible to avoid further issues and hefty penalties.

How Does The IRS Find Out If I Give Someone A Gift? 

The Internal Revenue Service keeps a close eye on individuals and their financial activities, so giving a gift to someone may cause them to take notice. 

The IRS can find out about gifts given away if you’ve spent more than $16,000. 

Thus, the IRS will access your account when filing and examining your credit card statements for any large payments made or notice itemized donations to charities. 

On the other hand, if you give money to an individual in cash or write a check, an audit may likely be conducted to determine the source of these funds. 

The IRS also sends tax returns which require taxpayers to disclose information regarding any gifts they have given either directly or through a trust fund. But how to find out if someone sent me a gift from amazon?

Do I Have To Pay Taxes If I Receive A Large Present? 

tax papers

You may owe taxes on this gift if you’ve been lucky enough to receive a substantial present. Since these types of gifts are considered income by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

Therefore, depending on your situation and the amount of the gift, there’s a strong possibility you may have to pay taxes on it. 

It’s important to note that wedding presents and inheritances are often exempt from taxation so long as the value does not exceed certain thresholds. 

If you receive a big gift from someone in another state, remember that there may be additional state tax consequences above those you would normally face.

Therefore, it’s wise to check with your local taxation office.

What Does The 7-Year Rule Mean For Gifts?

The 7-year rule is an IRS guideline that allows taxpayers to pass on gifts of hefty monetary value without paying taxes. 

To qualify for the rule, the gift must have been received more than seven years before the taxpayer’s death. 

While the 7-year rule can offer tax advantages, it is important to note that this may not be relevant in some circumstances.

Depending on the size of their estate, individuals may be subject to estate taxes or other limitations which do not consider when a gift is given. 

It is crucial to seek advice from an informed source when determining what steps should be taken concerning gifting and estate planning.

Are There Maximum Gifts Allowed By The IRS?

In general, no federal law limits how many gifts one person can give or how much they can give in cash or property. 

The IRS does not look at gifting as taxable income, and so long as the gifter can document that the gift has been given, it is fully valid under the law. 

That said, the giver should keep records of these gifts in case any questions arise later. 

Therefore, it’s important to remember that while there’s no upper limit on individual gifts placed by the IRS, it pays to keep careful documentation of both large and small gifts given away in case of future disputes.

Related Post: How Can You Send A Gift Anonymously?

FAQs

How do you avoid paying gift tax on property?

One can avoid property gift tax in a few different ways. Donating the property to a worthy cause while you are still alive is one option. 

Another way is to give the property to a qualifying charity. Finally, you can establish a trust and transfer the property into the trust. 

How much can you send as gifts without having tax problems?

Although IRS does not limit the total amount that can be gifted in a given year, there’s an amount limit you can give to any individual during that period.

The maximum amount is $16,000. Therefore, you must file a gift tax return to give someone more than $16,000 in a single year. 

How do you avoid paying car gift tax?

There is no definitive answer, as the tax laws on car gifts can change from year to year. 

However, one way to avoid paying any car gift tax is to give the car away as a family member’s inheritance. 

Under this scenario, you would still be the car’s legal owner until your relative passes away, at which point the car would become theirs and would be subject to inheritance taxes. 

Another way to avoid paying car gift taxes [2] is by giving them away as part of a larger estate plan.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. You can now understand the definition, purpose, and requirements of a bona fide gift. 

The definition of a bona fide gift can vary slightly depending on the jurisdiction, but the consensus is that it must be made freely and without strings attached. 

If you’re thinking about making a gift to someone, make sure you understand the legal implications and what qualifies as a bona fide gift in your state or country. 

References: 

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2016/01/05/10-things-you-absolutely-need-to-know-about-taxes/
  2. https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/gift-tax
Kimberlee Johnson
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