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Can alimony included in a divorce settlement be deducted on my federal income tax return?

Seattle, WA |

I deducted $6,000 for the spousal maintenance I paid in 2011. I deducted the $12,000 for the spousal maintenance I paid in 2012. To date I have paid her $10,000 in spousal maintenance in 2013. The divorce will be final before the end of the month and the remaining 5 years of spousal maintenance ($60,000) is included in the settlement. The settlement classifies the $60,000 portion as maintenance. How much "alimony paid" can I deduct on my 2013 federal income tax return?

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Attorney answers 4


You should review Chapter 18 of Publication 17 for an overview on alimony. P17 is free at .

Calling something "alimony" (spousal maintenance) does not make it deductible from your income unless all requirements are met.

Your decree of dissolution of marriage will need to be reviewed to see whether whatever you are paying is "alimony" under the IRS's regulations.

Given that your decree has not been entered, now would be a good time to make sure that the language of the decree meets the requirements of the IRS's regulation.

You should review the specific facts with your attorney to find out your legal options.


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There are very specific requirements that must be met in order to be able to properly deduct payments made as spousal support and maintenance. Many of those requirements go beyond the general instructions of "having the maintenance payments in the written decree or settlement." In fact, taxpayers frequently discover several years after the divorce decree is issued that the decree omitted some language that is essential in ensuring that the payments are tax deductible. I stongly recommend that you have a tax professional evaluate your particular circumstances and the language of the divorce decree to ensure that the payments properly qualify as deductible payments.


The word alimony must be used in the decree to make it deductible .

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