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1. You can get a separate tax ID for a trust or similar.

This is the first time anyone mentioned a trust or similar. Yes, with the tax impacts going against a trust, the situation is completely different from having hidden tax impact to the parents.

The tax impact really is the tail waging the dog in this discussion.

No, the potential for conviction of tax fraud was the problem.

Why are people so concerned about the slight income difference vs. the fact that someone's parents are heading to retirement with no assets to retire on AND the child thinks they need to do something to help.

As originally described, it would have been a very serious IRS entanglement with potential for the parents being audited and having to defend against tax fraud.

Gifting more than $11,000/yr between individuals can also result in "gift tax" issues (the excess counts against one's estate tax allowance, and when that is consumed it has tax impacts for the tax year in which the funds are gifted).

In any case, it does no good to gift investments directly to the parents until the parents are reasonably thrifty and have some knowledge for managing the investments.
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