Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Form 709 - Please help


QUESTION: Dear John,

If a husband and wife agree to split their gifts on Form 709, that essentially allows them to gift up to $26,000 per donee (in 2012) without incurring any gift tax liability for that year. My question is this, husband and wife agree to split the gift and give a combined total of $30,000 to their daughter and to the daughter's husband. By agreeing to split the gift, husband and wife do not pay any gift tax because $15,000 is considered gifted to the daughter and the other $15,000 is considered gifted to the son-in-law. I am confused by the section in the instructions which deals with Taxable Gift Reconcilation -

Enter the total annual exclusions you are claiming for the gifts listed on Schedule A. See Annual Exclusion, later. If you split a gift with your spouse, the annual exclusion you claim against that gift may not be more than the smaller of your half of the gift or $13,000.

I know you answered this question before, but it still does not make sense. In the scenario above it would seem that only $13,000 of the $15,000 can be excluded under the annual exclusion amount even though husband and wife agreed to the gift-splitting. Please explain. Many thanks.

ANSWER: Carol,

Thanks for your question.

Because you are under the annual exclusion you do not file a Form 709.  You are giving $7500 to your daughter and $7500 to her husband.  Your husband is doing the same. Gift tax returns are individual, not joint. Hence, you are under the annual limitation and you don't need to file.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

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QUESTION: Dear John,

I don't think I made my initial question clear. In the example above husband and wife agree to gift split and give a combined total of $30,000 in calendar year 2012 (not $15,000 as you initially read my question) to another married couple, in my example, their daughter and their daughter's husband. Is that $30,000 gift treated as a gift split of $15,000 to the daughter and $15,000 to the son in law (daughter's husband) or is the gift splitting analyzed as follows as follows-

The first $26,000 of the $30,000 gift to daughter is split such that husband is attributed to giving $13,000 and wife is attributed to giving $13,000 to daughter and the remaining $4,000 of the $30,000 can be considered a gift to the son-in-law (daughter's husband) and that $4,000 is split such that husband is attributed to giving $2,000 and wife is attributed to giving $2,000 to son-in-law.

Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you.

ANSWER: I understood your original question.  You did not understand my answer.  I stated that you can give $7500 to your daughter and $7500 to her husband, and your husband can do the same.  

That makes four gifts of $7500 each, totalling $30,000. If you don't want to divide the gifts to you daughter and her husband equally, you each can do $13,000 and $2,000 each, or any other combination so that 1) neither of you are not attributed more than $13,000 to your daughter and 2) each of you is attributed the same amount to your daughter and the same amount to her husband.

John Stancil, CPA

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QUESTION: Dear John,

Thank you very much for your second response. I read your first response too quickly and you are correct that I  misunderstood your answer. Thank you for the clarification.

At what point do you have a gift sitting situation (requiring the filing of the Form 709 to consent to gift splitting) where you have a married couple gifting to another married couple? My analysis leads me to the conclusion that if a husband and wife were to give a total of $52,000 to their daughter and son in law then in that situation they would need to certify their gift splitting on Form 709. Is that correct?

Well, it is a technicality.  If you or your husband actually gave them the $30,000 from your own funds, then you would need to file a 709 to certify the gift splitting.  But if the gift came from joint funds, it is truly a separate gift from each of you and the 709 would not be required.

John Stancil, CPA

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John Stancil, CPA


I can answer questions on personal income taxes, partnerships, and some corporate income taxes. I can deal with some state tax questions. Limited gift and estate tax questions. I am also familiar with ministerial and church tax reporting issues. I am Professor Emeritus at Florida Southern College. Sales taxes and property taxes are state and local issues so I am not likely be be able to give you an in depth answer on those types of taxes. I have maintained a CPA practice, specializing in tax, for over 35 years. I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, The Florida Insititute of CPA's, The NCPE Fellowship. In addition I am a Certified Mentor for SCORE. Visit my website at I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at Also visit my blog, I am listed on Tax Connections at Prepare and file your own taxes at


I hold a doctorate in Accounting, and am a CPA. My certifications of CIA, CFM, and CMA are inactive. I passed all certification examinations on the first attempt, and received honorable mention for my scores on the CIA exam. I have operated a CPA firm for over 37 years and have taught accounting and tax at the college level for over 35 years.

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The CPA Journal, Florida CPA Today, Green Consumer, Green Business, Global Sustainability as a Business Imperative, Palmetto Review, NATP TaxPro Quarterly, Mustang Journal of Finance and Accounting.

DBA University of Memphis MBA University of Georgia BS in Accounting Mars Hill University

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