The Annual Gift Tax Exclusion provides a tax-advantaged way to reduce your taxable estate and make generous gifts, as well. The exclusion allows any individual to gift property valued at $13,000 (in 2009, indexed for inflation) or less without having to file a gift tax return or reduce their $1 million lifetime Gift Tax Exclusion. The annual exclusion applies on a per-donee basis, and there is no limit to the number of donees to which gifts subject to the annual exclusion can be made.
The purpose of the annual exclusion is to allow taxpayers relief from reporting numerous small gifts. The $13,000 amount was intended to be large enough to cover wedding, holiday, birthday, and other occasional gifts. However, many taxpayers fail to take these occasional gifts into consideration when making $13,000 gifts intended to take advantage of the annual exclusion. Taxpayers who undertake a gifting program should be aware that the $13,000 annual exclusion amount includes all gifts made to the donee for the year.