By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

Code Section 71 (IRC Sec. 71) permits a deduction in determining your income tax for alimony payments you paid during the year. Generally, you must have a legally enforceable obligation to pay alimony to claim a tax deduction. Alimony payments must generally meet the requirements of Code Section 215 as well. They must end on the death of the payee ex spouse, be made under a divorce or separation agreement, not be specified as nontaxable (this is an interesting planning idea many are not familiar with...you can actually negotiate and agree in your divorce agreement that the alimony payments will not be deductible by the payor and will not be income to the payee).

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