Avenged Backlog, not sure if you still look at this, but unless you and your wife have huge differences in income generally you should file together.
Invicta61, avoid the big tax places, they can train people off the street and they will do your taxes after 2-3 1/2 day training sessions. Ask around but even with your 'stuff' this year you should be relatively simple. Two houses, non-renting = two interest deductions that is easy, and the medical bills, you just need to input into basic software. The key is having receipts and keeping a spreadsheet but there is a floor you have to break.
Finally on the gift tax, see the IRS website, that is usually payable by the donor. You said you received a gift so that should not be taxable to you. Also the max is $14K that a single person can give to another single person. Also if your friend or you are married that goes up by $14K each person so if you are married you can received $28K from a single person; again see the FAQ linked.
Hope this helps and looking forward to 2016 tax topic!
Who pays the gift tax?
The donor is generally responsible for paying the gift tax. Under special arrangements the donee may agree to pay the tax instead. Please visit with your tax professional if you are considering this type of arrangement.