Form 709 and Gifts to Charity

A little known and often ignored rule addresses the reporting of charitable gifts on Form 709 — the gift tax return form generally understood to only cover gifts to “people” — individuals and trusts.

A careful reading of the Form 709 instructions, however, reveals that if a taxpayer is required to file a return to report non-charitable gifts, any gifts to charities should also be reported on the Form 709. If the donor only makes charitable gifts that represent his entire interest in the gifted property, no Form 709 is required. But charitable gifts of split interests must generally be reported.

Transfers to charitable organizations that are required to be reported are entered on Form 709, Schedule A, Part 1. The portion of the transfer that qualifies for the gift tax charitable deduction is entered on Part 4, Line 7.