Under the annual gift tax exclusion, you can bestow gifts of up to $13,000 per recipient in 2011, with no gift tax due. You don’t even have to file a gift tax return. The exclusion doubles to $26,000 for “joint gifts” by a married couple.
Beware: You must file the federal gift tax return, Form 709, if you elect the exclusion for joint gifts. The return for gifts made in 2011 is due by April 17, 2012.