Gift Taxes, Valuation, and the Need for Quarterly Information Returns
4 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 13, 2012
Gifts of tangible personal property and closely-held business interests typically are made without a paper trail (e.g., cancelled check or deed recording). Because gift tax returns are not due until April 15 of the calendar year following the transfer, a non-compliant taxpayer can game the system by taking a “wait and see” approach. For example, if a taxpayer makes a gift of valuable gold ring on January 1, and by December 31 the value of gold significantly declines to an all-time low, a taxpayer might choose to report the gift as occurring on the latter date. Similarly, if a taxpayer makes a gift of privately-held stock to a grantor retained annuity trust on January 1, and, likewise, the value of that stock declines to an all-time low by December 31, the taxpayer might claim that the gift never happened.
Professors Soled and Crawford propose reviving a quarterly gift tax return filing system applicable to all taxpayers whose aggregate taxable gifts equal or exceed $100,000 during a calendar quarter. Such a system would increase both compliance and revenue.
Keywords: gift tax, gifts, tax returns, closely held business interests, small business, tax compliance
JEL Classification: K34, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation