I know I can make a tax-free gift of $15,000 each year. What happens if I give more than that?

At present, anyone can give anyone up to $15,000 as a tax-exempt gift. But if the gift is more than $15,000 the person making the gift must live for three years after the gift is made, otherwise the amount in excess of $15,000 is considered part of the estate for purposes of calculating estate taxes. A proposal to the state legislature is to reduce the three year period to one year or eliminate it altogether.

Another adverse consequence is the need to file a gift tax return for gifts over $15,000. There is no tax, but a return is still required.