Over 50% of marriages end in divorce in the United States. Many divorce decrees include provisions for the payment of alimony. The IRS takes the position that such payments constitute a form of income and create an alimony tax deduction for the person making payments. (https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch18.html)
According to the IRS, alimony payments are taxable to the recipient in the year received. In turn, the person paying the alimony can claim a deduction for the payments if the following tests are met:
1. You and your spouse or former spouse do not file a joint return with each other,
2. You pay in cash (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, you and your former spouse are not members of the same household when you make the payment,
5. You have no liability to make any payment (in cash or property) after the death of your spouse or former spouse; and
6. Your payment is not treated as child support.
If you are receiving or paying alimony, you must use Form 1040 for your personal taxes. Regardless of income levels, deductions or miscellaneous tax issues, you cannot use Form 104A or Form 1040EZ.
Have a Federal Tax issue you are dealing with? The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – Low Income Taxpayer Clinic can consult with you to provide advice regarding your IRS tax issues, and/or potentially act on your behalf for FREE if you qualify for assistance (come to a clinic intake session)!
Jim Floyd is the Staff Enrolled Agent at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
As an Enrolled Agent, Jim is a federally-licensed tax practitioner with unlimited rights to represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service. This means he is unrestricted as to which taxpayers he can represent, what types of tax matters he can handle, and which IRS offices he can represent clients before. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards.