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Test Your Knowledge of the Gift Tax Implications of Joint Property Ownership
(Updated: 05/07/2018)

True or false?
If you add a nonspouse individual to the title of your property as a joint owner, this action is immediately considered a completed gift that may result in gift tax implications.

Answer: It depends on the type of property.

Treasury Regulation § 25.2511-1(h)(4) explains that in the case of bank accounts and most brokerage accounts that require securities to be registered in a "street name," adding a nonspouse individual as a joint owner is not a reportable gift until/unless that joint owner draws funds from the account for his or her personal use. With other types of assets, such as a business or personal residence, a gift is deemed to have occurred as soon as the joint tenancy is established.

It should be noted that naming a spouse as a joint owner is less complicated because of the unlimited marital deduction, which allows for unrestricted tax-exempt gifting between spouses.

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