Alimony is deductible by the payer and must be included in the spouse's or former spouse's income. Although this answer is generally written for the payer of the alimony, the recipient can use the information to determine whether an amount received is alimony.
To be alimony, a payment must meet certain requirements. Different requirements apply to payments under instruments executed after 1984 and to payments under instruments executed before 1985. This answer discusses the rules for payments under instruments executed after 1984. For the rules for payments under pre-1985 instruments, see Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals.
You do not have to itemize deductions to claim your alimony payments. You may claim the deduction on Form 1040. You must provide the social security number of the spouse or former spouse receiving the payments. If you don't, you may have to pay a $50 penalty and your deduction may be disallowed.
Spouse or former spouse. Unless otherwise stated in the following discussions about alimony, the term "spouse" includes former spouse.
Divorce or Separation Instrument.
The term "divorce or separation instrument" means:
- A decree of divorce or separate maintenance or a written instrument incident to that decree,
- A written separation agreement, or
- A decree or any type of court order requiring a spouse to make payments for the support or maintenance of the other spouse. This includes a temporary decree, an interlocutory (not final) decree, and a decree of alimony pendente lite (while awaiting action on the final decree or agreement).