Alimony Rules Through Tax Year 2018
Prior to January 1, 2019, alimony paid was deducted by the payor and included in income for the recipient taxpayer. Child support payments are not treated as alimony. These alimony rules continued through the tax year 2018. For 2018, alimony was an above-the-line deduction reported as an adjustment on Schedule 1, Form 1040, line 31a. On Schedule 1, Form 1040, line 31b, enter the recipient spouse’s Social Security Number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). The recipient spouse was required to report alimony as additional income on Schedule 1, Form 1040, line 11. If the taxpayer pays alimony to more than one recipient spouse an attachment listing the SSN of additional recipient spouse(s) and the amount of alimony paid to each should be included with the tax return.
Alimony Rules After-Tax Year 2018
Taxpayers who enter into a divorce and separate maintenance agreements executed after December 31, 2018, are no longer allowed to deduct an amount equal to the alimony or separate maintenance agreement payments paid during the tax year. The recipient spouse is no longer required to include alimony or separate maintenance agreement payments in gross income.
Modified pre-2019 divorce and separate maintenance agreements may be affected by the TCJA changes if they are modified after December 31, 2018. Modifications must be clear on the treatment of income reporting. If the modification specifically states that the TCJA treatment of alimony and separate maintenance agreement payments now applies, the payments are no longer deductible for the payor and no longer required to be reported as gross income to the recipient.