Gift Tax Completion and Retained Powers

6 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2012

Date Written: June 18, 2012


Completion is the sine qua non of gift taxation. A grantor's retained control over transferred property (intentionally or unintentionally) may cause a gift to be incomplete for gift tax purposes. This is true even if the grantor has no beneficial interest in transferred property. Powers that typically cause completion problems are discretionary powers over income or principal, and the ability to add or delete trust beneficiaries. Completion problems can be avoided, however, if the grantor’s power is limited by an ascertainable standard or if the power is subject to the consent of another party having a substantial and adverse interest in the transferred property.

Keywords: gift tax, completion, retained powers, retention, completed gifts

JEL Classification: K34, K19

Suggested Citation

Crawford, Bridget J., Gift Tax Completion and Retained Powers (June 18, 2012). 135 Tax Notes 1533 (2012). Available at SSRN:

Bridget J. Crawford (Contact Author)

Pace University School of Law ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

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