If you can afford to help out younger family members, gifting can provide assistance for them to get into the property market, pay for their education, cover their wedding expenses or travel the world.
Before gifting a significant amount, it's important to understand how gifting will affect you financially - including the impact on your Age Pension and other social security benefits you receive.
What is gifting?
The Department of Human Services describes gifting as giving away assets or transferring them for less than their market value. This can include:
- Transferring units in a trust or company and not receiving full market value for them
- Selling or transferring a property for less than market value
- Buying a car for someone as a present
- Not requiring repayment for a sum of money
How much can you give?
Australia doesn't have a gift tax, however if you're receiving a social security benefit from the government, there are some rules about how much you can gift to someone before it could affect payments you receive.
For social security means test purposes, individuals and couples (combined) can give up to $10,000 in cash gifts and assets each financial year. This amount is also limited to $30,000 over five consecutive financial years.
Gifting within these limits may lead to your social security benefit increasing. You must tell Centrelink that you've made a gift within 14 days of making it.
If you happen to gift any more than this amount, Centrelink will treat the excess as a 'deprived asset'. This means that when Centrelink assesses whether you're eligible for the pension and determines the amount you'll receive, this 'deprived asset' is still counted as an asset under the assets test and is subject to deeming under the income test, for five years. This could mean you're entitled to a lower social security benefit.
You can find out more about the rules around gifting on the Department of Human Services website.
Things to think about
Your grandchildren generally won't need to pay tax on the money that you gift them. However, if they decide to invest the money, they will need to pay tax on part or all of the income their investment may earn.
Two other things to consider are how gifting will affect your financial future and how much you can afford to gift.