I've been paying alimony since AUG. Realize I can't deduct if filed jointly, but should I list anyway and also as income for her?
---> No...it would only confuse the issue.
Does she gain anything by joint filing other than avoiding 8k income for the 5 months by herself?
---> Depends on the income/deductions being claimed.
---> The best way to handle it is to prepare your taxes filing jointly and separately. If it is more advantageous to file jointly, then you set up a joint savings account to have the refund direct deposited to and that requires two signatures to withdraw any monies. This way, when the refund comes in, you take your temporay order showing the prorata share each is entired to and have the bank make out cashier's check to each person.
If you air your dirty linen in public, expect people to comment on the skid marks!