Are Divorce-related Expenses Tax Deductible? (1 of 2)

Believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about filing income taxes again. People who went through divorce in 2013 may be wondering if there are any deductions for divorce expenses that can be made this tax season.

Unfortunately, the IRS does not allow a tax deduction for the money spent on most divorce-related expenses, including fees spent on legal counseling and action during a divorce.

However, there are a couple of exceptions to the general rule that divorce expenses are nondeductible.

One exception is for legal fees that were paid to obtain taxable alimony. The IRS considers the legal fees a spouse paid specifically to obtain alimony to be tax deductible, but only in the amount that the legal fees exceed 2 percent of the filer’s adjusted gross income in any one year.

The legal fees are not only considered deductible when alimony is first procured, but also if and when additional legal fees are spent to increase the amount of alimony or to seek overdue alimony.

Legal fees to obtain alimony are not tax deductible if the alimony itself isn’t taxable to the filer. That means legal fees to obtain income that is not actually alimony, such as child support or temporary support, are not deductible.

The deduction for legal fees paid to collect or increase alimony can be included on the “other expenses” line with the other itemized deductibles on the Schedule A portion of Form 1040.

Please check back later this week for details on the second exception to the general rule that divorce expenses are nondeductible when filing income taxes.

Source: Huffington Post, “What’s Deductible for Legal Fees When Couples Divorce,” Julian Block, Feb. 3, 2014

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