This is not about charitable donations to a 501(c)(3) organization. It is about just giving stuff away.
How much can I give (gift) without any tax?
$13,000 ( 2009 – present) is the amount of stuff that can be gifted with no gift tax… based on this amount to any one individual in a calendar year. So, Mary could give $13k on Dec 15th to someone, then another $13k in January (the next calendar year). She can give $13k to any number of individuals. The gift tax is based on any one individual.
Any amount above the $13k in a calendar year to any one individual subjects the giver (never the receiver) to a gift tax, and it is quickly expensive. The way around that is…. Let’s say she gives you $50k. She files a gift return that basically says…. I gave away $37k over the limit this year… I want to reduce my lifetime free giving amount from $1million to $963,000.
And, if she gives away stuff… let’s say $50k market value of stocks, the gift tax return is figured at the market value BUT the receiver of the gift takes the gift into their inventory of stuff at Mary’s basis (what she paid for it plus any reinvested dividends).