|Tax Topic #452
||2008 Tax Year
Topic 452 - Alimony Paid
Amounts paid under divorce or separate maintenance decrees or written separation
agreements entered onto between you and your spouse or former spouse will
be considered alimony for Federal tax purposes if:
- You and your spouse or former spouse do not file a joint return with each
- You pay in cash (including checks or money orders),
- The decree of divorce or separate maintenance does not say that the payment
is not alimony,
- 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,
- You have no liability to make the payment (in cash or property) after
the death of your spouse or former spouse; and
- Your payment is not treated as child support.
You may deduct from income the amount of alimony or separate maintenance
you paid, and you must include in income the amount of alimony or separate
maintenance you received.
Child support is never deductible. If your decree of divorce or separate
maintenance provides for alimony and child support, and you pay less than
the total required, the payments apply first to child support. Any remaining
amount is considered alimony.
Noncash property settlements, whether in a lump sum or installments, do
not qualify as alimony. Voluntary payments (i.e., payments not required by
a divorce decree or separation instrument) do not qualify as alimony.
You do not have to itemize deductions to deduct your alimony payments.
You must claim the deduction on Form 1040 (PDF).
You cannot use Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ. You must provide the social security
number of the spouse or former spouse receiving the payments. If you don't,
you may have to pay a $50 penalty and your deduction may be disallowed.
If you are the spouse or former spouse who is receiving the alimony, you
must report the full amount as income on your Form 1040. You cannot use Form
1040A or Form 1040EZ. If you do not give your social security number to your
spouse or former spouse who is making the alimony payments, you may have to
pay a $50 penalty.
For more information on the general requirements for alimony and for information
on other decrees and agreements under which amounts paid and received may
be treated as alimony see Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals.
For more information on decrees and agreements executed before 1985, see the
2004 version of Publication 504.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: December 22, 2008
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