My wife passed on Dec. 25, 2021. In past years, we filed a joint income tax return. Can I still file a joint 1040 tax form? Is there something else I have to file or do?

I’m sorry for your loss. Yes, you can file a joint tax return with your late wife for the year she died. It doesn't matter whether you filed that way in the past.

Across the top of the return near her name, you should write "deceased" and the date of her death. At the bottom of the return, write "filing as surviving spouse" below your signature.

The bottom line

A taxpayer who hasn't remarried can file a joint tax return for the year of his or her spouse's death.

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Your Feb. 6 column about gift tax rules was helpful to two seniors looking to help our kids. What are the tax implications, if any, for the recipients of the gift?

Not to worry about that. There are no tax implications for the recipients.

As my earlier column explained, if you give an individual recipient an amount that exceeds the annual gift tax-exempt limit, you must file a gift tax return. (For 2022, the limit is $16,000.) But even when a donor must file a gift tax return, no tax may be due because the law provides a very generous lifetime gift tax exemption.

You can give $16,000 each to as many people as you wish without filing a gift tax return. And you can be even more generous with family members: Payments for a family member's education or health care don't count toward the $16,000 limit if you make them directly to the educational institution or health care provider.

The bottom line

Gifts aren't taxable income to the recipients.

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