Last Minute Gift (Tax) Ideas for Christmas

It’s t-minus four days to the peak of the gifting season, Christmas, and we seem entirely occupied with the end of the world, the fiscal cliff, the end of the recession and the general end of sanity as we know it.

From my little command post, I overlook one of the biggest shopping malls in this part of the country. It is hand-to-hand combat out there in the trenches between rows of cars parked three-deep. Part of me wonders whether they are handing out free money at the mall; part of me wonders if the recession is over.

A bigger part of me wonders about last minute gift ideas for Christmas (like you’re not frantically trying to figure them out too!). Being from Texas (originally), I always think big. If, like me, you’re still scrambling and want to buy something big, I have some valuable last minute Christmas Gift (Tax) advice for you.

Tip 1: If you are going for a big gift, make sure you give it to your spouse. There are two reasons for this: self preservation and the spousal gift tax exemption.

Both are fairly self-explanatory, especially the former if you’re a matrimonial veteran. For those who don’t know, the spousal gift tax exemption is precisely what it sounds like: you pay no gift tax on gifts to your spouse.

(Essentially, if you give that big ticket item to your boyfriend/girlfriend and not your spouse, you pay three times: once at the counter, once at the tax office and once at the divorce lawyer’s office.)  

Tip 2: If you forgo Tip 1 (at your own spousal peril) and want the new car to go to a graduating son or daughter, remember to file a gift tax return.  This only applies if the car is titled in their name, but a gift tax return needs to be filed in April if the gift is worth over $13,000.

Tip 3: If you’re considering handing the spouse and kids a lump of coal in order to give your friendly neighborhood lawyer a new set of golf clubs, here’s another worthwhile piece of advice: don’t. I have it on good authority they probably made the naughty list.

And with this admittedly limited gift-giving tax advice, we leave you to enjoy your time with friends, family, and the potent Christmas spirit(s).

Merry Christmas and, as always, good luck and good hunting.

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The Fisher Law Office is renowned for its experience in estate planning, probate administration, asset protection, and business development. Annapolis attorney Randall D. Fisher has practiced for over 20 years, maintains the highest peer review rating for ethics (AV Preeminent) by Martindale-Hubbell, and is a sucker for long walks on the fairways.

Find out how to reach Randy via TheFisherLawOffice.com or find him at Facebook.com/FisherLawOffice, on Twitter @thefisherlawoffice, or at LinkedIn.com/in/FisherLawOffice.

Images: CC licensed for commercial use. Sources asenat29, Cesko 1971, and alliecreative neither approve nor endorse the content of this blog and the Fisher Law Office.

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