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An individual can gift up to $13,000 per recipient for 2010 and not subject to the tax. In a marriage, a couple can pool their individual gift exemptions to make gifts worth up to $26,000 recipient. So, if your parents are married, they could gift you $26,000 without any tax consequence. What you may consider is having them gift $26,000 now and $14,000 during 2011, if they are married or $13,000 now and $13,000 during 2011, if you mom is single. Please see the attached publications and documents from the IRS:
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No, you would never pay taxes on these gifts. Your mom is responsible for paying the gift tax and filing a gift tax return if amounts to any one individual go over the $13,000. If the amount is $13,000 or under each year, there is no filing requirement and you and your mom pay no tax. The only requirement is that you mom keep track of all the gifting throughout her life because this amount will reduce her lifetime exclusion.