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Christopher Phelps
Christopher Phelps, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 2710
Experience:  CPA, CFP, PFS, Tax Practitioner 21 Years, Member AICPA/CSCPA Tax/Financial Planning Committee Member
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When receiving a monetary gift from relatives overseas ...

Resolved Question:

When receiving a monetary gift from relatives overseas (Italy) what are the tax consequences for giver and receiver? Does it matter what the money is used for?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Christopher Phelps replied 11 years ago.

Generally, any gift you receive from a living donor is tax-free to you (assuming any relevant gift taxes have been paid). It does not matter how you ultimately use the money. A gift is defined as receipt of money or property for no consideration or for less then full value consideration.

If you are receiving the gift from a foreign source, you are required on receipt of such funds to file Form 3520, Annual Return to Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts, ( if the gift(s) you receive during the year is in excess of $100,000. This is just an information return and no payment is due. You need to fill out the information portion at the beginning and then complete part IV. It is only an information return and no payment is due. You should keep records or any other documents you have that show the source of the funds as a gift or inheritance. It is due to be filed by the due date for your income tax return for the calendar year in which you received the gift. See the form instructions on where to file (

If you performed any services for the "gift", that may be taxable income to you.

I would also caution you if you have been notified that you are receiving a gift from relatives you did not know you had abroad. African and particularly Nigerian "inheritance" and U.K. scams are infamous right now. On this board alone I have seen at least eight people asking what the tax consequences were to receiving an inheritance from a "long-lost" relative in Africa/Nigeria and one from the U.K. Be very careful and do no fall for it.

You should not have to pay any money for any reason to receive an inheritance to which you are the lawful heir. If they insist on getting wire instructions rather then issuing a cashier check, then open a separate bank account with minimal dollars and provide them with wire instructions to that account. These type of scams typically will try to drain your account once you give them wire instructions.

See the following link as an example:

Because it is impossible for me to identify and consider ALL the relevant facts, this advice is not intended or written to be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties, and cannot be used for that purpose.

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