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IRS.gov Website
Rev. date: 11/30/2016


Alimony

Tax Topic 452
rule
Tax Treatment of Alimony
Amounts paid to a spouse or a former spouse under a divorce or separation instrument (including a divorce decree, a separate maintenance decree, or a written separation agreement) may be alimony for federal tax purposes. Alimony is deductible by the payer spouse, and the recipient spouse must include it in income.


Alimony Requirements

rule
A payment is alimony only if all the following requirements are met:


Payments Not Alimony

rule
Not all payments under a divorce or separation instrument are alimony. Alimony doesn't include:
Child support is never deductible and isn't considered income. Additionally, if a divorce or separation instrument provides for alimony and child support, and the payer spouse pays less than the total required, the payments apply to child support first. Only the remaining amount is considered alimony.


Reporting Alimony

rule
If you paid amounts that are considered alimony, you may deduct from income the amount of alimony you paid whether or not you itemize your deductions. Alimony payments are only deductible on Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You must enter the social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) of the spouse or former spouse receiving the payments or your deduction may be disallowed and you may have to pay a $50 penalty.
If you received amounts that are considered alimony, you must include the amount of alimony you received as income. You may only report alimony received on Form 1040, or on Schedule NEC, Form 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return. You must provide your SSN or ITIN to the spouse or former spouse making the payments, otherwise you may have to pay a $50 penalty.


Additional Information

rule
For more detailed information on the requirements for alimony and instances in which you may need to recapture an amount that was reported or deducted (recapture of alimony), see Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals. For more information on decrees and agreements executed before 1985, see the 2004 version of Publication 504.