What is the basis of property received as a gift?

If a partner acquires an interest in a partnership by gift, inheritance, or under any circumstance other than by a contribution of money or property to the partnership, the partner's basis must be determined using the basis rules described in Publication 551. Below is a description of Publication 551 as it may apply to your situation. Property Received as a Gift

To figure the basis of property you receive as gift, you must know its adjusted basis (defined earlier) to the donor just before it was given to you, its FMV at the time it was given to you, and any gift tax paid on it.

FMV Less Than Donor's Adjusted Basis If the FMV of the property at the time of the gift is less than the donor's adjusted basis, your basis depends on whether you have a gain or a loss when you dispose of the property. Your basis for figuring gain is the same as the donor's adjusted basis plus or minus any required adjustment to basis while you held the property. Your basis for figuring loss is its FMV when you received the gift plus or minus any required adjustment to basis while you held the property (see chart below).

increases-decreases-basis
increases-decreases-basis

If you use the donor's adjusted basis for figuring a gain and get a loss, and then use the FMV for figuring a loss and have a gain, you have neither gain nor loss on the sale or disposition of the property.

Example. You received an acre of land as a gift. At the time of the gift, the land had an FMV of $8,000. The donor's adjusted basis was $10,000. After you received the land, no events occurred to increase or decrease your basis. If you sell the land for $12,000, you will have a $2,000 gain because you must use the donor's adjusted basis ($10,000) at the time of the gift as your basis to figure gain. If you sell the land for $7,000, you will have a $1,000 loss because you must use the FMV ($8,000) at the time of the gift as your basis to figure a loss.

If the sales price is between $8,000 and $10,000, you have neither gain nor loss. For instance, if the sales price was $9,000 and you tried to figure a gain using the donor's adjusted basis ($10,000), you would get a $1,000 loss. If you then tried to figure a loss using the FMV ($8,000), you would get a $1,000 gain.

Business property. If you hold the gift as business property, your basis for figuring any depreciation, depletion, or amortization deduction is the same as the donor's adjusted basis plus or minus any required adjustments to basis while you hold the property.

FMV Equal to or More Than Donor's Adjusted Basis

If the FMV of the property is equal to or greater than the donor's adjusted basis, your basis is the donor's adjusted basis at the time you received the gift. Increase your basis by all or part of any gift tax paid, depending on the date of the gift.

Also, for figuring gain or loss from a sale or other disposition of the property, or for figuring depreciation, depletion, or amortization deductions on business property, you must increase or decrease your basis by any required adjustments to basis while you held the property. See Adjusted Basis earlier.

If you received a gift after 1976, increase your basis in the gift (the donor's adjusted basis) by the part of the gift tax paid on it that is due to the net increase in value of the gift. Figure the increase by multiplying the gift tax paid by a fraction. The numerator of the fraction is the net increase in value of the gift and the denominator is the amount of the gift.

The net increase in value of the gift is the FMV of the gift less the donor's adjusted basis. The amount of the gift is its value for gift tax purposes after reduction by any annual exclusion and marital or charitable deduction that applies to the gift. For information on the gift tax, see Publication 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators.

Remember the differences between the annual gift tax exclusion ($14,000 for 2016) and the lifetime gift tax exemption (the total amount that can be given away by an individual owner over his/her entire lifetime to any number of people that will be free from gift taxes $5,450,000).