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A gift or present is the transfer of something, without the need for compensation that is involved in trade. A gift is a voluntary act which does not require anything in return. Even though it involves possibly a social expectation of reciprocity, or a return in the form of prestige or power, a gift is meant to be free.
In many human societies, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods, etc. may contribute to social cohesion. Economists have elaborated the economics of gift-giving into the notion of a gift economy.
By extension the term gift can refer to anything that makes the other happier or less sad, especially as a favour, including forgiveness and kindness (even when the other is not kind).
When material objects are given as gifts, in many cultures they are traditionally packaged in some manner. For example, in Western culture, gifts are often wrapped in wrapping paper and accompanied by a gift note which may note the occasion, the giftee's name, and the giver's name. In Chinese culture, red wrapping connotes luck.
Occasions for Gifts:
Expression of love or friendship
Expression of gratitude for a gift received
Expression of piety, in the form of charity
Expression of solidarity, in the form of mutual aid
To share wealth
To offset misfortune
Offering travel souvenirs
Custom, on occasions (often celebrations)
A birthday (the person who has his or her birthday gives cake, etc. and/or receives gifts)
A potlatch, in societies where status is associated with gift-giving rather than acquisition
Christmas (people give each other gifts, often supposedly receiving them from Santa Claus)
Saint Nicholas (people give each other gifts, often supposedly receiving them from Saint Nicholas)
A wedding (the couple receives gifts and gives food and/or drinks at the wedding reception)
A wedding anniversary (each spouse receives gifts)
A funeral (visitors bring flowers, the relatives of the deceased give food and/or drinks after the ceremonial part)
A birth (the baby receives gifts, or the mother receives a gift from the father known as a push present)
Passing an examination (the student receives gifts)
Father's Day (the father receives gifts)
Mother's Day (the mother receives gifts)
Exchange of gifts between a guest and a host, often a traditional practice
Giving a round of drinks in a bar
Kinds of Gifts:
A gift may be one ofvan ordinary object, an object created for the express purpose of gift exchange, such as the armbands and necklaces in the Trobriand Islands' Kula exchange, an alternative gift such as a donation to a charity in the name of the recipient.
A regift of an unwanted gift previously received by the giver.
a virtual object as seen on Facebook, LiveJournal, both of which allow you to purchase virtual gifts or in games such as GiftTRAP which allow you to give virtual gifts.
Downloadable gifts refer to virtual gifts like e-books, software and music files which you can purchase and instantly download from web vendors.
Legal Aspects of Gifts:
At common law, for a gift to have legal effect, it was required that there be intent by the donor to give a gift, acceptance of the gift by the donee, and delivery to the donee of the item to be given as a gift.
In the United States and some other countries, certain types of gifts above a certain monetary amount are subject to taxation. See gift tax for more information.
Tax Deductibility for Gifts:
Pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 102(a), property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance is not included in gross income and thus a taxpayer does not have to include the value of the property when filing for taxes. Although many items might appear to be gift, courts have held that the most critical factor is the transferor's intent. Bogardus v. Commissioner, 302 U.S. 34, 43, 58 S.Ct. 61, 65, 82 L.Ed. 32. (1937). The transferor must demonstrate a "detached and disinterested generosity" when giving the gift to actually exclude the value of the gift from the taxpayer's gross income. Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. LoBue, 352 U.S. 243, 246, 76 S.Ct. 800, 803, 100 L.Ed. 1142 (1956). Unfortunately, the court's articulation of what exactly satisfies a "detached and disinterested generosity" leaves much to be desired.
Protional and Contest Gifts are Taxable:
For example, Oprah's seemingly good deed of giving new cars to her audience does not satisfy this definition because of Oprah's interest in the promotional value that this event causes for her television show.
"Gifts" received from employers that benefit employees are not excluded from taxation:
26 U.S.C. § 102(c) clearly states that employers cannot exclude as a gift anything transferred to an employee that benefits the employee. Consequently, an employer cannot gift an employee's salary to avoid taxation.
In addition, policy reasons for the gift exclusion from gross income are unclear. It is said that no justification exists. It is also said that the exclusion is for administrative reasons, both for taxpayers and for the IRS. Without the exclusion taxpayers would have to keep track of all their gifts, including nominal ones, during the year, and this would create additional oversight problems for the IRS.
Ritual sacrifices can be seen as return gifts to a deity. Sacrifice can also be seen as a gift from a deity: Lewis Hyde remarks in The Gift that Christianity considers the Incarnation and subsequent death of Jesus to be a "gift" to humankind, and that the Jakata contains a tale of the Buddha in his incarnation as the Wise Hare giving the ultimate alms by offering himself up as a meal for Sakka.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church the bread and wine that are consecrated during the Divine Liturgy are referred to as "the Gifts". They are first of all the gifts of the community (both individually and corporately) to God, and then, after the epiklesis, the Gifts of the Body and Blood of Christ to the Church.
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