I.R.S. Alimony Requirements

The Internal Revenue Services checks the income tax returns of former spouses who claim alimony as a deduction (the payer) and alimony as income (the recipient), and it holds both former spouses responsible for irregularities in the returns for the years they were married.

In order to be considered alimony the I.R.S. has are several requirements that must be met. These are set forth in the Internal Revenue Code §71. They are as follows:

> Alimony must be in cash, which includes checks or money orders, but not debt, property, or services.

> The divorce agreement ending the marriage must provide for alimony in writing. Former spouses can’t go back eight months after they began paying informal support and, ex post factor, classify the payments they made as alimony.

> Alimony cannot be claimed for any year the couple files a joint tax return (which is normally the last year of their marriage).

> Former spouses paying and receiving must live under different roofs and separate residences. This means different bedrooms don’t count, nor do different wings of the same house. The former spouses must reside in separate dwellings under different roofs.

> Alimony must stop when the recipient spouse dies.

> Former spouses are not required to treat support as alimony, (but then the benefits are not present).


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