The IRS doesn't want to take your word for it. So, if you want to your gifting to family to be successful this year and survive IRS challenges, then be sure to engage the services of a professional appraiser without delay.
With the $5.12 million lifetime gift exclusion set to expire on December 31, 2012, many families will be looking to make significant wealth transfers this year, especially of family business interests. Accordingly, if your plans involve giving things, rather than money, then the IRS will want to know the "value" of the gift itself. That's why a professional appraisal is essential.
This important subject was addressed recently by Reuters in an article titled Appraisers are your gatekeepers to gift tax deadline. Be forewarned: wait too long and the line waiting for the services of a professional appraiser may push you out of this tax year and right off the fiscal cliff! If you want to take advantage of the generous gift tax laws, then there's precious little time to get your ducks in a row.
Reference: Reuters (August 8, 2012) "Appraisers are your gatekeepers to gift tax deadline"