Generally speaking, spousal support is taxable to the recipient and is deductible by the payor. For example, if you are paying spousal support to your ex-wife the money she receives would be taxable to her as income. Likewise, generally you would be able to deduct it on your tax return. However, you may not be aware that there are several exceptions to this rule. In fact, it is necessary that you closely observe the spousal support formalities in order to take advantage of deducting payments to your ex-spouse.
In order for spousal support payments to be deductible, they must be made in cash. However, in this context, “cash” is not only currency. It can also include check or money orders payable on demand. The payment itself must be received on or on behalf of the supported spouse, and the spouse must be entitled to this payment under a divorce or separation instrument. As an illustration, if you and your ex-spouse privately decide you will pay her a certain amount per month, you cannot deduct this amount from your taxes as the payment was not made pursuant to a divorce/separation instrument. On the other hand, if your Marital Settlement Agreement states that you must pay your ex-wife, you can likely deduct the payments on your taxes.
In addition, the payment obligation must be limited by the recipient spouse’s death. For example, assuming that your settlement agreement requires you to make payments beyond your ex-spouse’s death, none of these payments are deductible support.
These are just some of the several requirements for deductible spousal support. For more information about making sure you are following the proper tax rules in relation to your spousal support payments, please contact the San Jose divorce attorneys at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.