Harry Gross: Will paying her tuition be too taxing?

Dear Harry: My son just lost his job and is now on unemployment comp. He has a daughter in college whose tuition for the spring semester has not been paid. I'm in a position to pay for it, and I have offered to do so. My son said that she has to watch out for the gift tax because the tuition is $21,000. Is there some special rule for college tuitions so that she won't have to pay the tax?

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