The limit for tax free gifts for 2022 is $16,000 and no tax is due to the donor or the donee. There are provisions that would allow gifts higher than this amount providing the total lifetime gifts above the annual exclusion of $12.06 million for 2022 has not be met.
The donor and donee can be separate persons so that the aggregate tax-free gift for one-year amounts to more money. For instance, a father and mother can gift $16,000 each to their married son in 2022 and an additional $16,000 each to the daughter-in-law for a total $64,000.
If the son and daughter-in-law used the money as a down payment to purchase a home, depending on how recent the gift occurred, the mortgage company might require a gift letter from the parents stating the amount was a gift and is not expected to be repaid. Lenders may ask the exact amount of the gift, where it came from and the relationship involved.
Family members and friends with financial resources can become the catalyst that allows buyers with good credit and income but without a down payment to purchase a home. Sometimes, the gift is looked at as an early inheritance that allows the recipient to show their gratitude and the donor to see the enjoyment and benefit of the gift.
In some situations, the buyers have saved enough money for a minimal down payment, but the gift allows them to put more money down that may help them get a lower interest rate or eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance.
The important thing involving gift funds is to have complete disclosure with the lender and agent. It is best discussed during the pre-approval process.
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