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Gift Giving On Steroids

William Wen
6 min readFeb 5

A while ago I had written about compounding stocks and gift giving to children. Just out of curiosity, I wondered what if we had maxed out the annual gift exclusion for our kids with Apple stock starting 18 years ago? What would it be worth today?

The quick answer is 31,598 shares or just under $5 million today (as of 2/3/2023). Happy 18th Birthday kiddo!

Gift Exemption vs. Gift Exclusion

According to IRS rules, there is a maximum lifetime gift tax exemption that can be used to give money to family, friends, or charity. The purpose of this is to reduce your estate taxes at the end. The 2023 limit is $12.9M, and in 2026 it will be cut in half. To take advantage of the maximum lifetime amount, you can either die before 2026, or pre-gift the money and file a Form 709 with the IRS. If you have this problem to worry about, congratulations, you are lucky even amongst the top 1%.

However, there’s another way to annually gift smaller amounts of money without using up the lifetime limit. It’s called the Annual Gift Tax Exclusion, and the limit for 2023 is $17,000. Any one person can gift up to that amount to another person without needing to file a Form 709 or pay taxes on the gift.

Our oldest son turned 18 last year. For this article, I’ll hypothetically explore what would happen if we maxed out the annual gift tax exclusion to give him AAPL stocks starting in 2005.

Mind you, 18 years ago, neither my wife or I had the financial knowledge nor the financial means to do this. But now, we do. This exploration is for both entertainment and education.

An Apple A Day?

To calculate all this, we will need to look at the historical closing price for AAPL back to 2005. It also happens that AAPL had a 2:1 split in 2005, 7:1 split in 2014, and a 4:1 split in 2020. The Annual Gift Tax Exclusion has also increased over time, so it’s a bit tricky to work out how many shares of AAPL could be gifted each year going back to 2005, then compound the shares and splits forward to 2023!

William Wen

25 years in tech | 13 years @ Google | 9+ years Tesla Investor | |