The following rules apply to alimony regardless of when the divorce or separation instrument was executed.
Payments not alimony.
Not all payments under a divorce or separation instrument are alimony. Alimony does not include any of the following.
- Child support.
- Noncash property settlements.
- Payments that are your spouses part of community income. (See Community Property in Publication 504.)
- Payments to keep up the payers property.
- Use of property.
Payments to a third party.
Cash payments (including checks and money orders) to a third party on behalf of your spouse under the terms of your divorce or separation instrument may be alimony if they otherwise qualify. These include payments for your spouses medical expenses, housing costs (rent, utilities, etc.), taxes, tuition, etc. The payments are treated as received by your spouse and then paid to the third party.
Life insurance premiums.
Alimony includes premiums you must pay under your divorce or separation instrument for insurance on your life to the extent your spouse owns the policy.
Payments for jointly-owned home.
If your divorce or separation instrument states that you must pay expenses for a home owned by you and your spouse or former spouse, some of your payments may be alimony.
If you must pay all the mortgage payments (principal and interest) on a jointly-owned home, and they otherwise qualify, you can deduct one-half of the total payments as alimony. If you itemize deductions and the home is a qualified home, you can claim the other half of the interest in figuring your deductible interest. Your spouse must report one-half of the payments as alimony received. If your spouse itemizes deductions and the home is a qualified home, he or she can claim one-half of the interest on the mortgage in figuring deductible interest.
Taxes and insurance.
If you must pay all the real estate taxes or insurance on a home held as tenants in common, you can deduct one-half of these payments as alimony. Your spouse must report one-half of these payments as alimony received. If you and your spouse itemize deductions, you can each claim one-half of the real estate taxes and none of the home insurance.
If your home is held as tenants by the entirety or joint tenants , none of your payments for taxes or insurance are alimony. But if you itemize deductions, you can claim all of the real estate taxes and none of the home insurance.
Other payments to a third party.
If you made other third-party payments, see Publication 504 to see whether any part of the payments qualify as alimony.
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