A divorce can have significant tax ramifications, so it’s important that you plan accordingly. Here are some tips.
Child Support and Alimony Payments
It’s important to understand the tax implications of both child support and alimony payments.
As a general rule, alimony is deemed to be income and must be reported on your tax return, provided the payments are made pursuant to a valid divorce or separation agreement, and the payments are made in cash, and not in kind. Under similar circumstances, a person paying alimony may deduct payments.
Child support payments are not taxable by the recipient and cannot be claimed as a deduction by the payer.
If your divorce has not been finalized on December 31, you can choose to file a joint return, or to opt for “married filing separately.” If, on the other hand, a final divorce decree is entered before the end of the tax year, you must file as either single or as “head of household.”
Only the custodial parent can claim minor children as dependents on a tax return. If there is any question as to who is considered to be the custodial parent, the IRS will generally consider the parent with whom the child spent the most amount of time to be the custodial parent for tax purposes. The non-custodial parent can claim the child, though, if the custodial parent waives the exemption in writing.