VIN has decided to post under the title, "New York - Is There A Chiyuv to Give Ma'aser From 'Mishloach Manos'? "
When asked this question, a Rabbi Ephraim Greenblatt answers the following:
". . . saw in a Sefer Uvacharta BaChaim that Rav Chaim Kreiswirth said in
hesped for Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky that Rav Yaakov would report as income and pay taxes on mishloach manos that he received. If so then similarly one should give ma'aser. He concludes by saying that nevertheless the matter needs further research. "
Actually, this needs no further research. When your neighbor brings you a pricey basket filled with overpriced items that you would never purchase yourself, don't start sweating about your Federal 1040. No need to hire an assessor before your children attack the pile of nosh.
The Rabbi is onto something, but he is no tax accountant. There are occasions where Rabbis (and their female counterparts) receive significant gifts on specific occasions that are not gifts, but actually income. Unlike VIN, I'm not going to pontificate about which gifts are income, rather than gifts. Those receiving honorariums for speaking or performing weddings or brit milah and those receiving significant Chanukah gelt should consult a tax practice about what they need to account for. They should also learn what expenses are deductible so they don't blindly go about claiming income and not fully expensing what they can legally expense.
Yashrut needs more emphasis and we are sadly witnessing the terrible consequences of a lack of yashrut (see the latest from Spinka and how extensively the IRS is prosecuting, U.S. Attorney News Release posted at VIN). But, I'm sorry, chatting about the possibility that mishloach manot might be taxable to the average Joe, isn't likely to promote the increase in yashrut that many of us would like to see.