Watch out for New Alimony Rules

John Csargo

Watch out for New Alimony Rules:  Under the Tax Cut and Jobs Act certain future alimony payments will no longer be deductible by the payer. Also, alimony will no longer be considered income to the recipient. Therefore, for divorces and legal separations that are executed (that come into legal existence due to a court order) after 2018, the alimony-paying spouse won’t be able to deduct the payments, and the alimony-receiving spouse doesn’t include them in gross income or pay federal income tax on them.

It’s important to emphasize that these new rules do not apply to already-existing divorces and separations, as well as divorces and separations that are executed before 2019. The old rules still apply in that alimony will continue to be deductible to the payor and taxable income to the recipient.

However, under a special rule, if taxpayers have an existing (pre-2019) divorce or separation decree, and they have that agreement legally modified, then the new rules don’t apply to that modified decree unless the modification expressly provides that the Tax Cut and Jobs Act rules are to apply.

There may be situations where applying the new rules voluntarily is beneficial for the taxpayers, such as a change in the income levels of the alimony payer or the alimony recipient. If you’re considering a divorce or separation (or modification of an existing divorce decree), please let us know so we can determine the tax consequences. Contact John Csargo at if you have any questions.


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