Hello and thank you for your question.
Strictly speaking, the answer to your question is yes, upkeep money
for a child (over 18) in college is taxable as gift. On the other
hand you could well be the first parent ever to report such expenses,
paid on behalf of a dependent child, on a gift tax return.
Clearly the direct payment of tuition bills, plus $22,000 from the two
of you (the former $10,000 present interest gift exclusion is now
$11,000) is gift-tax free.
It seems to be an informal rule that education costs, including room
and board, etc., are not looked at as gifts when the parent is paying
them and is claiming the child as a dependent. But you won't find
that in the actual law.
One indication that education payments are properly subject to gift
tax is that Section 529 plan contributions do count as gifts (they do
qualify as present interest gifts and one can elect to make 10-years'
gifts at once, but that shows they are taxable).
And Oklahoma is one of a minority of states that will not require a
parent, after a divorce, to support a child beyond age 18 unless
there's an agreement to that effect.
"Oklahoma Title 10 Section 16
Where a child, after attaining majority, continues to serve and to be
supported by the parent, neither party is entitled to compensation in
the absence of an agreement therefor."
That Oklahoma law represents further evidence that the payments should
properly be considered gifts. [Unless you can distinguish that
statute as only applying to noncustodial parents or in a post-divorce
Of course the good news is you can make $1.5 million of taxable gifts
($3 million for the two of you) before you need to pay a penny of gift
That doesn't make it a non-gift, nor does it technically mean you
shouldn't report the gift on Form 709, but again, I don't think
anybody really expects you to.
Search terms used:
post-secondary oklahoma child support education
oklahoma statutes post-secondary "title 10"
dependent support "gift tax" education
"qualified tuition program" "form 709" instructions site:irs.gov
unified credit gift 2005 site:irs.gov
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