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☛ BLM Roundups include 887 mustangs & took place in Elko County, Nevada 10-10-18

Posted by on Oct 10, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments





By Glory Ann Kurtz
Oct. 10, 2018

While I recently reported on 1000 wild horses being rounded up in California today, I just received information that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management just completed their second big wild horse roundup in northern Nevada in recent weeks. They removed 887 mustangs from the range in Elko County.


The agency reported that horses were gathered Sept. 19-Oct. 2 in the Antelope Valley and Goshute herd management areas where their numbers were supposedly eight times what is considered the appropriate management level.


Also, on Oct. 4, the Bureau also completed the removal of 873 horses from the Owhyee complex in Elko and Humboldt counties near the Idaho line.


Horse advocates continue to be greatly upset, saying the Bureau of Land Management exaggerates the impact of mustangs while ignoring the impact of livestock, owned by individuals, that greatly outnumber the number of horses grazing on Federal land.



According to an AP article, the recent animals captured were taken to an agency corral in Fallon, where they will be prepared for adoption or public sale, which are certain to include slaughterhouse buyers.

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☛ Dual Pep passes away at age 33




By Glory Ann Kurtz
Sept. 27, 2018

If you’ve ever watched an athletic cutting horse win a major event that has the name “Dual” in his name, chances are that the great sire Dual Pep are in his or her pedigree. However, great horses don’t live forever. So is the case with the great sire Dual Pep.


Dual Pep, one of the most influential sires in the cutting horse industry, was humanely euthanized on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at the age of 33. According to his co-owner, Dottie Hill, Glenrose, Texas, who purchased the stallion in 2011, “He left the world gracefully.”


She and her husband, Bobby, owned the stallion that died during the Brazos Bash Futurity, one of the most successful cutting-horse aged events of the summer, held Sept. 19-30 in Weatherford, Texas.  Ironically Dual Pep’s daughter Tears From Heaven won the Brazos Bash Futurity Open title, ridden by Michael Cooper, making Dual Pep the oldest living sire ever to have a major cutting futurity champion. In addition Stunner Cat and CDs Kual Gun, whose maternal granddams were sired by Dual Pep, placed second and third in the same event.


But that wasn’t out of the ordinary for Dual Pep, who was bred by Nic-A-Lode Farms, that according to the NCHA is in Boise, Idaho, while Equi-Stat says the farms are located in Cody, Wyo. (They are not included in the latest NCHA membership guide.) His breeding was the best as he was sired by Peppy San Badger out of Miss Dual Doc by Doc’s Remedy.


At age 6, at the end of his cutting career, Dual Pep had earned $302,054 in earnings, according to NCHA (Equi-Stat says  $307,384) in the cutting pen, including the Open Reserve title of the 1989 Memphis Futurity for then owner, Reidy Land and Cattle company. His next owner was Bobby Pidgeon, who owned a beverage distributing company in Memphis, Tenn., and who bought Dual Pep for his own non-pro mount. In 1991, Pidgeon started up the now well-known Bar H Ranche in Weatherford, Texas and hired Winston Hansma as manager and trainer. Later Winston’s brother Paul Hansma also joined the Bar H Ranche as a trainer. Dual Pep was also shown successfully by Pat Earnheart.


However, the sign of a great sire is in his offspring – and Dual Pep got an “A” for that. His offspring earned $24,031,926 according to NCHA ($25.8 million according to Equi-Stat), Dual Pep ranks fifth on the roster of all-time leading sires and is the only stallion among the top five with a son on the list with offspring earning $36,790,588. That was Dual Rey, who also died earlier this year.


According to Equi-Stat, Dual Pep’s highest money-earning offspring was Dual Rey Me, foaled in 1999 and shown by Jeremy Barwick, out of Miss Smart Rey Jay x Smart Little Lena ($818,177 according to Equi-stat and $812,942 according to NCHA); Dually Lena, $395,616 earnings, out of Bingos Lena by Doc O’Lena; Olena Dually, $302,342, out of Miss Sabrina Lena by Doc O’Lena; Tapt Twice, $285,226 out of Tap O Lena by Doc O’Lena and Playboy McCrae ($269,583, out of Playboys Madera x Freckles Playboy.


Being a broodmare sire is also important and Dual Pep also got an “A” for that. He was a stellar broodmare sire, siring dams of earners of $32.6 million, according to Equi-Stat, including Sister CD (CD Olena x Little Baby Sister x Dual Pep,with earnings of $852,612 and Dont Look Twice (High Brow Cat x Tapt Twice by Dual Pep) winner of $850,628.


During his later years, Dual Pep, who will always be remembered as one of the greatest cutting horses, sires and broodmare sires, stood at Dr. Baker’s breeding facility.




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☛ Was it a magnificent con job or just bad attendance? 9-9-18






By Glory Ann Kurtz
Sept. 9, 2018


Are horse events getting a bad name, with some associations running short of cash and others increasing entry fees, adding little or no money, cancelling events and now – not paying the winners?


An exciting cowhorse event called the “Magnificent 7 All-Around Stock Horse Championship,” held June 8, 2018 at Cal Expo in Sacramento, Calif., seems to be attempting to solve their insolvency by not paying the winners of the competition.


The Magnificent 7 all-Around Stock Horse Championship is an exciting four-event competition based on an event originally called the World’s Championship All-Around Stock Horse contest crafted by Bobby Ingersoll in the 1970s and was actively supported by Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame members Cotton Rosser and Walt Rodman. The contest was held periodically over the years until Western States Horse Expo CEO and founder Miki Nelsen, Bill Lefty and others resurrected and revitalized the event, giving it a “forever home” at the Cal Expo.


The competition, that was invitational for the seven entries, included four events: herd work, rein work, steer stopping and fence work.


The total purse wasn’t a huge amount of cash, $29,908.35, but the seven entries paid a total of $2,060, which included a $1,500 entry fee, a $200 cattle fee, $180 stall fee for show the horse and $180 for a turn-back horse  last May to try their chances for an advertised “hefty cash prize, a great buckle and the title of Magnificent 7 all-Around Stock Horse Champion.”


When all was said and done, Call Me Mitch, owned by Estelle Roitblat and ridden by Phillip Ralls, won the event with a total score of 295, giving Roitblat a $8,372.00 paycheck (that hasn’t yet arrived).  The reserve title, Very Smart Choice, owned by Rocking BS Ranch, ridden by Lance Johnston, scored a 291 and should have pocketed $6,578.00.


Ken and Ramona Wold owned Real Smooth Cat, ridden by Ken to a 287.50 and third place, good enough for a $5,083.00 paycheck, if it would have arrived.


Fourth, taken by Very Smart Cowhorse, owned and ridden by Aaron Brookshire to a 266.50, and would have been owed a $3,588.00 paycheck; fifth was Short N Catt, owned by Sarah Davis and ridden by Phillip Ralls to a 284, for $2,691; sixth was Overabarrel, owned and ridden by Darrell Norcutt to a 214 for $2,093 and seventh was Tomcatontheprowl, owned and ridden by Justin Jones to a 201.50 and $1,503.35.


However, according to Ramona Wold, it’s now been close to four months and the winners haven’t received their checks from Miki Nelson, owner of Horse Expo and Magnificent 7. Her excuse: “The sponsors hadn’t paid her so she couldn’t pay the exhibitors.”  However, the announcer, the judge and the cattle providers have been paid.


“I called Ernie at Western Horsemanmagazine, who was advertised as one of the sponsors, and I was informed that they were not sponsors as they were advertised,” said Ramona.”


For this article, I also called Miki Nelson and asked her about the missing payout. She said, “We’ve had this event going since year 2000. We started when the NRCHA cancelled the “World’s Greatest Horseman.” It used to be well-attended event but then the economy hit a downturn. We kept it going in 2015 (with Horse Expo funds) but the people just weren’t coming to watch. This was its 20thAnniversary, so we said, ‘Let’s get on a roll and get people excited.’ But only one sponsor –  RAM Trucks. But they are taking six months to pay us. Attendance at the Expo was down 30 percent and you could count the number people in the bleachers.


“The facility holds all of our admission funds and controls all the income. They were contracted to pay us in 30 days but they paid out in 60 days. We got the money a month ago. It has put us in a cash strap but we should be out of it in 30 more days.


“I realize we are 60 days late today and we never meant not to pay anyone. We’ve been in business 21 years and we’re not going to start not paying out now.  We are as horrified as the seven contestants. We love this sport but the reined cow horse seems to be dying in California – it’s going to Texas.”


The 21stanniversary annual event will occur next year; however, it will be held at the Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, Calif.


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☛ Another letter to Glory Ann and all her readers 9-5-18




By Carol A. Harris
Member/Judge AQHA;  Member AQHA Hall of Fame, Former Member/Judge NCHA, NRHA,Owner of Hall of Fame Stallion Rugged Lark

September 5, 2018

I am so grateful for the recent criticisms expressed to contemporary equine leadership, even though most seem to be anonymous.  I can understand this because our members have been intimidated into keeping their opinions to themselves or else they might fail to win in competitions.  I am old enough to realize that these frustrated members are only trying to protect themselves, their families, their hardworking honest trainers, their horses, and their enormous investments.

At age 95 I have nothing to protect except my reputation for always being honest and fearless.  At this time, in spite of occasionally hearing criticism regarding Glory Ann Kurtz and Rick Dennis, I have made myself examine the propaganda and have discovered exactly where the truth can be found.  It is with my friends Glory Ann, Rick Dennis, the anonymous voices, and the many members who I believe we will soon be hearing from.  Everything I have read in these articles has been well researched and truthful, and I am 100 percent behind them all.  Since there is no right way to do the wrong thing, we must enforce our current laws, trusting that this will help others to eventually see the truth, just like we have.

When business is not conducted correctly and the results become evident, when membership deteriorates and bad horse trainers excel, everyone should smell a rat.  Our horses still continue to feel way more pain than they deserve and our bad horse trainers are cockier than ever, because they are the ones who have created all this unethical chaos.  Our leaders have abused the membership and made them so scared that they don’t even dare sign their names on a complaint.  This is the environment that is created when we have toxic people controlling us.  And they have already begun to control how others see us, proven by the number of members we have lost.  

Even though I’m old I still know the difference between right and wrong, and I hope that this letter will reach the ears of others who feel exactly the same way I do.  I don’t know whether our youth will ever enjoy the horse business or the dog world like I have.  But the only way they’ll ever have the chance to love our animals as we have is by correcting our leadership’s loss of ethics immediately and then backing those who have shown us that they also know the difference between right and wrong.

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☛ The ABCs of hiring a professional horse trainer 8-12-18







By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Aug. 12, 2018


So, you’ve made the decision to enter the horse industry. Your reasoning may include a myriad of ideological thought processes, including for an investment purpose, just to enjoy the equestrian life, a reenactment with the Old West lifestyle, or simply your love of horses and the ability to engage with one of the most marvelous animals on planet earth.


Regardless of what your reasoning is, one of the most important investment decisions the equestrian will make, besides the horse, is locating and retaining the right professional horse trainer. However, and for the record, the horse industry, unlike other professions requiring either a college degree or a degree from a vo-tech school, professional horse trainers occupy a unique niche in our society: “a niche that’s virtually unregulated and likened to the unregulated society of the Wild West.”


In a sense, horse trainers are unique in that they learn their trade on a generational basis, i.e., the training techniques are passed down from generation-to-generation. However, and contrary to popular belief, horse trainers aren’t Gods and they can’t walk on water! In some cases they think they are lawyers but a majority percentage dictates they aren’t one of those either.


Another satirical moment in history has taught us that some horse trainers think they can run a multi-million-dollar 501(c)3 nonprofit but they can’t do that either.


However and for the record, there are a lot of really good horse trainers out there; however, the corrupt, immoral, fraudulent and imbecilic individuals operating within the industry, as well as the ones causing the abhorrent abuses and fraudulent activities, are unfairly stigmatizing the honorable ones. For the record, not all horse trainers are created equally or share the same moralistic values of trust, duty of loyalty, honor and country.


Therefore, there aren’t any degrees to obtain, either from an accredited college or a vo-tech school, to vouch for their training. And there aren’t any governmental or 501(c)3 non-profit horse organization licensing requirements that I’m aware of, except the Thoroughbred racing industry, which is designed to regulate a horse trainer within a specific industry, as well as the AQHA Professional Horseman group. Unfortunately, in today’s society and especially in the performance horse industry, the only requirements for an individual desiring to be a professional horse trainer is to hang out his or her shingle and proclaim, “Today, I’m a professional horse trainer.”


In an abundance of caution, the investor or newcomer to the industry should also be aware that there’s absolutely no way for an individual to know whether or not an horse trainer has a prior criminal history or an existing criminal record of wrong doing, unless you ask, or the trainer agrees to a background check. Don’t rely on the 501(c)3 nonprofit to assist you in this matter because, to my knowledge, there’s no rule in their rule books to address pre-existing criminal record exclusions, except for “horse abuse.”


In my line of work, as a security consultant and risk analyst, I have to undergo an annual background check, including a urine drug screen, fingerprints check and a financial checkup, just to stay within my licensing requirements.  Therefore, my question is, “If I have to undergo those checks to operate within my jurisdiction, why shouldn’t horse trainers have to be subjected to the same scrutiny, especially in lieu of the fact that in some cases, horse trainers operate using millions of dollars of other peoples’ money?”



Individual background checks are essential in maintaining safety standards within certain industries of our society; however, unfortunately it’s not a requirement with performance horse trainers in the reining, cutting or cow horse industry. Equally, it’s also not a requirement for an individual to be subjected to pre-access, random, probable-cause, or post-accident individual drug and alcohol screening requirements.



However, there are governmental licensing and taxing requirements for the individual proclaiming to be a professional horse trainer. More specifically, the professional horse trainer has to adhere to the taxing requirementsof the state he or she operates in, as well as the federal government taxing requirements for both the individual and the business name he or she is operating under. For example, in the event the professional horse trainer’s name is John Doe and he is operating a (dba) “doing business as” or “an assumed name” business, i.e., John Doe Cutting Horses, then, he or she has to register his or her business with the secretary of state that he or she is operating in, as well as the county the business is located in. This is also the same for partnerships.


In the absence of legal registration requirements, the owner of the (dba) or “an assumed name” doesn’t have the legal protections provided by the legal requirements or have the state’s authority to operate a business in the state of the domicile; nor does the owner or operator have the legal authority to engage in contracts or enforce contracts while being unregistered, such as filing or maintaining lawsuits within a specific legal jurisdiction. Furthermore, the individual operating an unregistered or non-legal business has to absorb all of the liability for operating an unregistered business, by his or herself.


Each state and county has their own licensing requirements, so the best avenue for obtaining this information is through either the Secretary of State’s office or the County Clerk’s office of your county.



Therefore, your only available option is left up to you to conduct your own research.  For the record, an individual’s failure to register a (dba) “or an assumed name” when required to do so, could result in fines and penalties to the trainer, which also can include incarceration, prosecution and imprisonment upon a guilty verdict.


One essential element, which appears to have escaped most 501(c)3 nonprofits, is the absence of enforcement rules to govern the moral behavior of certain individuals in the industry. This has also contributed to the withdrawal of existing members and is perhaps stymying new investors and members. Therefore, this analytical reasoning can be deduced as one of the “direct causes” to the rapid decline of participants and members in the specific performance horse groups.


Your Research:

The due-diligence doesn’t end after you locate a prospective training facility and horse trainer. The next step is to gather as much background or intelligence information as you can on the training facility itself, as well as the trainer. This can be done by:


  1. Ask for references. An excellent place to start is talking to prior or existing customers to find out what their experiences with a specific trainer have been. This can be done by asking the professional horse trainer for a list of references.


  1. Check with the Better Business Bureau. If any complaints were filed against an individual or his or her company over the years, this information will be located with this agency.


  1. Check with your state, county or parish licensing agencies for a particular business license requirement. Ascertain whether or not this particular individual’s business is currently registered and up-to-date, if required.


  1. Check with the local sheriff’s office or the SPCA to ascertain whether or not your potential trainer has ever had an animal abuse complaint filed against him or her. If so, obtain the judicial disposition of the case.


  1. There are two ways to research an individual’s background.1) Do it yourself or hire someone to do it after you obtain a signed release from the trainer, or 2) simply go to the local civil records section of the court house yourself and ask the clerk of court in the civil records section for all public arrest and filed lawsuit records for a specific individual. After all, arrest and lawsuit records are public documents.


B – Business Contracts and Insurance Policies


         The Business Contract:


  1. One of the most vital aspects of any business arrangement in today’s society is reducing the business arrangements to legal and notarized writings. A competent attorney at law should be used to draw-up the particulars for you.


  1. NEVERexecute or sign a “hand-written” contractual document with anyone. This type of scribed document is suspect in the first place. You may be signing a scheme to defraud, which has been proven factual in certain filed legal documents and circumstances. After all, you need all the legal protection you can muster-up in the event a dispute arises and you require an attorney at law to enforce a specific performance clause in the contract.


  1. A contract keeps everything clean and neat.If a trainer won’t sign a contract, this is a “red flag,” simply walk away and find someone who will.


         Business Insurance:


  1. Unfortunately in today’s marketplace, we all need insurance to protect our valuable assets. This is especially true with a horse.As my old veterinarian use to say, “A horse is just an accident looking for somewhere to happen.”  Therefore, common sense tells us “We all need to insure our horses while they’re in training.”


  1. Common sense also tells us, that the training facility, where the horse is boarded, as well as the trainer, should also have a liability insurance policy in the unlikely event that an incident happens and client damages can be recouped for injury, illness, or even death to a particular horse, while under trainer care, custody and control.


  1. As a Risk Manager, I feel two of the most important aspects of any insurance liability policy are: a) having the client named as “additionally insured” on the trainer’s liability policy and b) an “error and omissions” clause. Still another important aspect, is to have the insurance company notify the client in the event of policy cancellation and/or at least (30) days in advance of the cancellation date. This provision can be included in the business contract between the parties.


C – Maintaining Contact With Your Horse While It Is In Training:


As a Risk Manager, I believe in the practice of, “seeing what you getand what you’re paying for.”  Since, you’re paying the bills, it’s a good practice to make regular trips to see your horse while it’s in training. That way, you can see for yourself exactly how the horse is being trained and how the horse is progressing during training with the trainer. If you aren’t satisfied with the horse’s progression, it’s a good idea to speak to the trainer about it.


NEVER, get caught in the trap of being a victim or a life donator to a trainer’s 401 K retirement plan, especially with a horse that’s never going to make it in a specific performance horse discipline in the first place. It is a fact of life that not all horses are destined to become “superstars” no matter what the breeding sheet tells you and no matter how long they are in training. Therefore, your only reliance on this fact is in the opinion of your horse trainer’s credibility. That is, unless you’re an experienced horseman yourself, as well as being a good judge of horseflesh and training methods. So live by this rule: “Trust But Verify.”


Making regular visits to the horse-training facility will allow you to judge that for yourself. If your horse trainer objects to your regular visits to ascertain how your horse is being treated and trained, simply find another horse trainer. The plain truth is: Your trainer is going to know in very short order whether your horse is a worthy candidate or not for a specific horse discipline or event in the performance horse industry. It’s not going to take a year or longer.


D – Money Earnings Split:


NEVER engage in a practice where a horse trainer is allowed to have a winning’s check issued in his or her name and NEVER opt for a deal with the trainer to maintain control of your share of earnings and apply it to your bill balance. The “pitfall” of this accounting method is that you’re relying on the horse trainer to act as your accountant. This is exactly how financial disputes arise in the first place. Be smarter than that!  Essentially, the horse trainer is your “contract laborer,” not an agent for your accountant.  The proper way to handle the “money/split” is for the client to receive the earnings’ check, pay the trainer his or her portion and issue the trainer an IRS form 1099 form at the end of the year for the tax filing purposes of both parties.


The client should always pay their board, training and entry fees separate and apart from money-earning check payouts. At the end of the year, it’s the client’s responsibility to issue the IRS form1099 to the trainer, which includes what you paid him or her – not, vice-versa.


E – Fraudulent Acts:


If at anytime you determine your trainer is “padding” invoices, i.e., adding expenses that aren’t usual and customary, this is a red flag! Immediately address this with your trainer and refuse to pay the bill until it is rectified. If this practice persists after the initial finding, fire the trainer and find someone else. Beware, of a facility that desires to provide you with multiple months’ billing all at once – or even on a quarterly, semi-annual, bi-annual or annual basis. This should raise a serious red flag to the client as it relates to the accuracies of the contents identified as billable services.


Another avenue available to the individual, who has been the victim of a fraudulent act, is to consult with law enforcement, rather than a lawyer, for asset recovery. In my opinion, those identified as operating fraudulent business practices should be evicted from the business on a permanent basis.


F – Money-back Guarantee:


If the trainer you pick is the really “fire-bang wizard” he or she proclaims, then speak to them about a “Money-Back Guarantee” on their training. At my company, I offer a “Money-Back-Guarantee” on all of my business products and services, including horse training. The guarantee states: “If a Client isn’t completely satisfied with my products or services, they’re entitled to a full refund, or a “money-back guarantee.”  If the trainer balks, you might want to find another trainer. To date, I haven’t returned anyone’s money and I’ve trained a lot of horses in my time. This separates the really confident trainers from the wanna-be’s, “so-to-speak.”


Overall, the bad trainers in the industry are making the good trainers and the industry suffer. That’s a sad commentary for the industry. In recent years I’ve seen highly publicized increases in animal abuse cases among trainers, as well as an increase in lawsuits, because of business dealings that have gone bad or have been fraudulent.


One trainer to avoid is the one who always wants you to engage in some sort of partnership with him or her. This is just another way for them to use your money. From what I can tell, most of those partnerships don’t have happy endings. Therefore, be frugal with your money, diligent in your research and prudent in your business practices and you’ll more than likely be happy in the industry.


Another option for guidance is to purchase my book: “THE AMERICAN HORSE INDUSTRY, Avoiding the Pitfalls.”  This book was written to address the many “Pitfalls” the equine enthusiast may encounter in the industry, as well as the ways to avoid them, including the ones in this article.


Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between the Bridle!



Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Professional Reined Cow Horse Trainer.
Freelance Writer and Author
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Web Site:

Wind River Security, Personal Protection, Risk Management, and Analysis.
Wind River Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing Consortium Services.
Wind River Stock Horses – Breeding Training Exhibition and Sales.









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☛ When is a gift really a gift? 8-7-18




Which Gifts Are Taxable and What Can Be Excluded?


By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Aug. 7, 2018


Have you given or received a large gift? Do you know what the tax consequences are? You may be subject to the 40% Federal Gift Tax.


According to the IRS, a gift is “Any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full consideration (measured in money or money’s worth) is not received in return.”


The gift tax is the responsibility of the person who gives a gift (i.e., the donor), and the amount of tax due is based on the value of their gift. The person who receives a gift (i.e., the donee) is generally not responsible for paying the gift tax. However, if the donor does not pay the gift tax, the donee may have to pay the tax instead.


The gift tax was implemented in order to stop people from dodging the Estate Tax by giving away all of their money before death. While most individuals don’t need to worry about having to pay the gift tax, there are a lot of people who neglect to file the proper paperwork.


Seven things you should know about the Federal gift tax:


  1. Gifts to Family Members Count. The gift tax and exclusion limit (below) apply whether you are making the gift to a complete stranger, a nephew or your own children. The only person you can give a gift to that is exempt from the gift tax is your spouse. Gifts to your spouse qualify for the marital deduction.


  1. There Is an Annual Gift Tax Exclusion.You do not have to pay tax on gifts that are less than the annual exclusion limit, which generally changes every year. Currently, the annual exclusion for 2018 is $15,000 per recipient, up from the previous $14,000 exclusion limit. In other words, you can give up to $15,000 to each of your children this year without having to pay any gift tax. However, anything of value given as a gift and the amount exceeding the exclusion limit is taxable.


  1. There Are Also: Educational and Medical Exclusions. Payments that you make on someone’s behalf for qualified tuition or medical expenses do not count toward the annual limit for gift tax purposes. However, your payment(s) must be made directly to a qualifying educational organization or medical care provider in order to qualify for the exclusion. You can also place funds directly into a 529-education savings plan to avoid the gift tax — but note that certain rules apply.


  1. You May Need to File a Gift Tax Return (Form 709). In general, you must file a Federal gift tax return (IRS Form 709) if you gave someone more than $15,000 during the 2018 calendar year. In some cases, you are required to file Form 709 even if your gift was below the $15,000 annual exclusion. Note that only individuals are responsible for filing gift tax returns — corporations or trusts that make gifts will pass the filing and payment responsibilities onto their individual stockholders or beneficiaries. Additionally, a married couple cannot file a joint gift tax return.


Form 709 is an annual return that is due by April 15 of the year after the gift was made. While this is the same deadline as the individual income tax return (Form 1040), the gift tax return must be filed separately. You can request a 6-month filing extension for your gift tax return with Form 8892 (Application for Extension of Time to File Form 709 and/or Payment of Gift/Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax). Furthermore, if you use Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) to obtain a tax extension for your 1040 return, you will automatically receive an extension for Form 709.


  1. Married Couples Can Give Twice As Much.Spouses can each give up to $15,000 to the same recipient and still stay within the annual exclusion threshold. Together, a married couple can give $30,000 to each donee without incurring the gift tax. Most tax professionals recommend that married couples give money in the form of two separate checks, and each signed by one of the spouses, to avoid any confusion.


  1. Each Donor Has a Lifetime Exemption.This refers to the total amount that an individual can give away during their entire lifetime. If your gift exceeds the $15,000 annual threshold, it must be reported as a taxable gift on Form 709 — however, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to pay the gift tax. Instead, you can apply the gift toward your lifetime exclusion from the Federal estate tax.


The “basic exclusion” (also known as the “unified credit”) represents both the lifetime gift tax exemption and the estate tax exclusion, signified as a total amount of $5.34 million. The current law allows individuals to give away up to $5.34 million over their lifetime without having to pay gift or estate taxes.


But keep in mind; any portion that’s used to avoid the gift tax reduces the amount that will be exempt from estate tax. For example, if you used $2 million of the exemptions to make taxable gifts during your lifetime, you will only be able to exclude $3.34 million from the estate tax. If you surpass the $5.34 million limit, you (or your heirs) will have to pay up to 40% tax.


You can give someone $15,000 per year and it won’t affect your lifetime exemption (because gifts below the annual threshold are not considered taxable). If you exceed the $15,000 annual gift tax threshold, you must file Form 709 and report the amount that counts against your lifetime exemption. You should also hold onto any relevant paperwork so your heirs can properly compute the estate tax later.


  1. Promotional Gifts Aren’t Considered “Gifts.”If you receive a gift as part of a promotion — for example, a car is given away to every member of the studio audience — then it does not count as a “gift” by IRS standards because the giver is getting something in return, namely self-promotion. This means that the tax burden for a promotional gift falls on the recipient (because it increases their wealth) and is not eligible for the annual gift tax exclusion. Example, if you give a horse as a gift for promotional purposes it may be disqualified under the gift tax law and may not be considered a gift at all, e.g., if the horse is excluded from showing under certain circumstances, and providing it as a gift is your alternative to allow promotion to continue, it may not qualify as a gift under IRS tax law.  Check with your CPA or the IRS.


By the same token, if your providing a gift to someone for a “self-serving purpose,e.g., a house – in the event an individual has IRS tax issues, then this may be considered tax evasion and the one who knowingly receive such a gift under this circumstance to avoid a tax lien or seizure may be considered a co-conspirator.  Therefore, its imperative for the recipients of a large gift to be fully cognizant of any and/or all prior motives the donor may have in providing the gift.  It’s especially important for the recipient to have a fully executed and notarized IRS form 709 in his or her possession, and upon taking possession of the gift.  IRS requires a form 709 to be filled out for each gift whose fair market value exceeds the $15,000 exclusion.


In closing, please be advised that it’s always prudent business practices to have a thorough understanding what your getting yourself into before you do it.  Always, “Trust, But Verify.”


“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between The Bridle”


Richard E. “Rick” Dennis CPP
Managing Member
Freelance writer and author
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Web Site:




Wind River Security, Personal Protection, Risk Management and Analysis.

Wind River Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing Consortium Services.Wind River Stock Horses – Breeding, Training, Exhibition, and Sales.






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