Definitions

gift

gift

[gift]
gift, in law, voluntary transfer of property from one person to another without any compensation for it and without any obligation of an agreement or contract. The one who gives is the donor; the one who receives the gift, the donee. There are two main classes of gifts, gifts inter vivos and gifts causa mortis. The former is an outright transfer of property, the ordinary type of gift. A gift causa mortis, on the other hand, resembles a legacy, or bequest made under a will. It is a gift made by a person in expectation of imminent death and is not complete until the donor dies. The donor in such a situation may make a gift by delivering the goods or note or whatever is the subject of the gift to the donee, but the donor retains full title to the gift and may revoke it at any time before his death. The ordinary gift inter vivos is complete and unconditional as soon as the delivery of the gift is made. The nature of the gift is of considerable importance in taxation. In both types of gifts, it is essential that there be an actual and full delivery of the article given as well as donative intent on the part of the donor. The delivery may be by handing to the donee or by giving it to some other person for the donee, but in all cases the delivery must be such as to take the property given out of the hands and the control of the donor. Commonly gifts are spoken of as involving both real estate and personal property. The law does not recognize a true gift of real estate, for real estate can be transferred only by deed or will. Gifts in law are only of personal property. A promise to deliver a gift in the future, or a promise to make a gift, unless under seal or made under very unusual circumstances, cannot be legally enforced. A gift should be distinguished from a barter or exchange, as the element of consideration (payment of some sort) necessary for the latter two is not present in a gift.

Transfer of goods or services that, although regarded as voluntary by those involved, is part of expected social behaviour. First studied by Marcel Mauss, the gift-exchange cycle entails obligations to give, receive, and return, each phase being surrounded with sanctions and calculations involving prestige and the maintenance of social relations. Some sacrifices may be viewed as gifts to supernatural powers from which a return in the form of aid or approval is expected; and the transfer of women in marriage between kin groups usually involves social obligations similar to those found in gift exchange. Seealso potlatch.

Learn more about gift exchange with a free trial on Britannica.com.

A gift or present is the transfer of something, without the need for compensation that is involved in trade. A gift is a voluntary act which does not require anything in return. Even though it involves possibly a social expectation of reciprocity, or a return in the form of prestige or power, a gift is meant to be free.

In many human societies, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods, etc. may contribute to social cohesion. Economists have elaborated the economics of gift-giving into the notion of a gift economy.

By extension the term gift can refer to anything that makes the other happier or less sad, especially as a favour, including forgiveness and kindness.

Presentation

When material objects are given as gifts, in many cultures they are traditionally packaged in some manner. For example, in Western culture, gifts are often wrapped in wrapping paper and accompanied by a gift note which may note the occasion, the giftee's name, and the giver's name. In Chinese culture, red wrapping connotes luck.

Occasions

The occasion may be:

Kinds of gifts

A gift may be one of

  • an ordinary object,
  • an object created for the express purpose of gift exchange, such as the armbands and necklaces in the Trobriand Islands' Kula exchange,
  • an alternative gift such as a donation to a charity in the name of the recipient.
  • a regift of an unwanted gift previously received by the giver.
  • a virtual object as seen on Facebook, LiveJournal, both of which allow you to purchase virtual gifts or in games such as GiftTRAP which allow you to give virtual gifts. These are all examples of the Virtual Economy
  • Downloadable gifts refer to virtual gifts like e-books, software and music files which you can purchase and instantly download from web vendors.
  • *

    Legal aspects of gifts

    At common law, for a gift to have legal effect, it was required that there be (1) intent by the donor to give a gift, (2) acceptance of the gift by the donee, and (3) delivery to the donee of the item to be given as a gift.

    In some countries, certain types of gifts above a certain monetary amount are subject to taxation. For the United States see Gift tax in the United States.

    Tax deductibility for gifts

    Pursuant to , property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance is not included in gross income and thus a taxpayer does not have to include the value of the property when filing for taxes. Although many items might appear to be gift, courts have held that the most critical factor is the transferor's intent. Bogardus v. Commissioner, 302 U.S. 34, 43, 58 S.Ct. 61, 65, 82 L.Ed. 32. (1937). The transferor must demonstrate a "detached and disinterested generosity" when giving the gift to actually exclude the value of the gift from the taxpayer's gross income. Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. LoBue, 352 U.S. 243, 246, 76 S.Ct. 800, 803, 100 L.Ed. 1142 (1956). Unfortunately, the court's articulation of what exactly satisfies a "detached and disinterested generosity" leaves much to be desired.

    Some situations are clearer, however.

  • "Gifts" received at promotional events are not excluded from taxation:

For example, Oprah's seemingly good deed of giving new cars to her audience does not satisfy this definition because of Oprah's interest in the promotional value that this event causes for her television show.

  1. "Gifts" received from employers that benefit employees are not excluded from taxation:
clearly states that employers cannot exclude as a gift anything transferred to an employee that benefits the employee. Consequently, an employer cannot gift an employee's salary to avoid taxation.

In addition, policy reasons for the gift exclusion from gross income are unclear. It is said that no justification exists. It is also said that the exclusion is for administrative reasons, both for taxpayers and for the IRS. Without the exclusion taxpayers would have to keep track of all their gifts, including nominal ones, during the year, and this would create additional oversight problems for the IRS.

Taxation of Gifts in India

As per section 56(2)(vi) of the I T Act,any sum of money received by an individual or an HUF from is taxable if it aggregates to Rs 50,000 or more except if received

  1. from relatives;
  2. On the occasion of marriage;
  3. Under a will or inheritance;
  4. In contemplation of death of the payer;
  5. From any local authority as defined in Explanation to Clause 20 of section 10;
  6. From any fund or institution or university or medical institution or hospital or any tryst or institution referred in section 10(23C) or
  7. From any trust or institution registered u/s 12AA of the I T Act

Meaning of relative for the purpose of gift is also defined in the Explanation to section 56(2)(vi) of the I T Act as under: (i) spouse of the individual;

(ii) brother or sister of the individual;

(iii) brother or sister of the spouse of the individual;

(iv) brother or sister of either of the parents of the individual;

(v) any lineal ascendant or descendant of the individual;

(vi) any lineal ascendant or descendant of the spouse of the individual;

(vii) spouse of the person referred to in clauses (ii) to (vi);

Some articles and answers on taxation of gifts in India

Religious views

Ritual sacrifices can be seen as return gifts to a deity. Sacrifice can also be seen as a gift from a deity: Lewis Hyde remarks in The Gift that Christianity considers the Incarnation and subsequent death of Jesus to be a "gift" to humankind, and that the Jataka contains a tale of the Buddha in his incarnation as the Wise Hare giving the ultimate alms by offering himself up as a meal for Sakka. (Hyde, 1983, 58-60)

In the Eastern Orthodox Church the bread and wine that are consecrated during the Divine Liturgy are referred to as "the Gifts". They are first of all the gifts of the community (both individually and corporately) to God, and then, after the epiklesis, the Gifts of the Body and Blood of Christ to the Church.

See also

Further reading

  • Marcel Mauss and W.D. Halls, Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W. W. Norton, 2000, trade paperback, ISBN 0-393-32043-X
  • Lewis Hyde: The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, 1983 (ISBN 0-394-71519-5), especially part I, "A Theory of Gifts", part of which was originally published as "The Gift Must Always Move" in Co-Evolution Quarterly No. 35, Fall 1982.
  • Jean-Luc Marion translated by Jeffrey L. Kosky, "Being Given: Toward a Phenomonology of Giveness", Stanford University Press, 2002 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN 0-8047-3410-0.

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