Alimony Paid

Taxpayers that made payments to or for a spouse or former spouse under a divorce or separation instrument may be able to take this deduction. As a general rule, alimony is taxable income for the recipient. For the payer, alimony is tax deductible only if the taxpayer can satisfy the following six requirements:

1. Taxpayer and spouse/former spouse are not filing a joint return with each other,
2. Paying taxpayer paid the alimony in case (including checks or money orders),
3. The divorce or separation instrument does not say that the payment is not alimony,
4. If legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, taxpayer and former spouse were not members of the same household when the payments were made,
5. Taxpayer has no liability to make any payment (in cash or property) after the death of spouse or former spouse; and
6. The payment is not treated as child support.

If the above requirements are met, the taxpayer should list on Form 1040’s Line 31 the amount of alimony paid during the year. In addition, alimony-paying taxpayers must report their spouse/former spouse’s Social Security Number on Line 31b. The IRS requires this in an effort to ensure the alimony recipient is properly reporting the alimony income. In other words, when either spouse neglects to disclose alimony transfers on their return both taxpayers face increased likelihood of an IRS audit.

Photo by: Scott Waldron