< Back to Thought Leadership

Tax Issues to Understand When Getting a Divorce

In addition to the difficult personal issues that divorce entails, several tax concerns need to be addressed to ensure that taxes are kept to a minimum and that important tax-related decisions are properly made. Here are four issues to understand if you are in the process of getting a divorce.

Alimony or Support Payments

For alimony under divorce or separation agreements that are executed after 2018, there’s no deduction for alimony and separation support payments for the spouse making them. And the alimony payments aren’t included in the gross income of the spouse receiving them. (The rules are different for divorce or separation agreements executed before 2019.)

Child Support

No matter when the divorce or separation instrument is executed, child support payments aren’t deductible by the paying spouse (or taxable to the recipient).

Personal Residence 

In general, if a married couple sells their home in connection with a divorce or legal separation, they should be able to avoid tax on up to $500,000 of gain (as long as they’ve owned and used the residence as their principal residence for two of the previous five years). If one spouse continues to live in the home and the other moves out (but they both remain owners of the home), they may still be able to avoid gain on the future sale of the home (up to $250,000 each), but special language may have to be included in the divorce decree or separation agreement to protect the exclusion for the spouse who moves out.

If the couple doesn’t meet the two-year ownership and use tests, any gain from the sale may qualify for a reduced exclusion due to unforeseen circumstances.

Pension Benefits

A spouse’s pension benefits are often part of a divorce property settlement. In these cases, the commonly preferred method to handle the benefits is to get a “qualified domestic relations order” (QDRO). This gives one spouse the right to share in the pension benefits of the other and taxes the spouse who receives the benefits. Without a QDRO the spouse who earned the benefits will still be taxed on them even though they’re paid out to the other spouse.

A Range of Other Issues

These are just some of the issues you may have to deal with if you’re getting a divorce. In addition, you must decide how to file your tax return (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately or head of household). You may need to adjust your income tax withholding and you should notify the IRS of any new address or name change. There are also estate planning considerations. If you have questions about the financial issues involved in a divorce, please contact your local Blue & Co. advisor.

 

Contributions and Exchange Transactions_ A Reminder on Upcoming New Revenue Standards

Contributions and Exchange Transactions: A Reminder on Upcoming New Revenue Standards

In 2018, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) released Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2018-08, Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958): Clarifying the Scope and the Accounting Guidance for Contributions Received and Contributions Made. The effective date of this ASU corresponds to the implementation of ASU 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), both of which are […]

Learn More
Using Your 401(k) Plan to Save

Using Your 401(k) Plan to Save

You can reduce taxes and save for retirement by contributing to a tax-advantaged retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) or Roth 401(k) plan, contributing to it is a taxwise way to build a nest egg. If you’re not already contributing the maximum allowed, consider increasing your contribution rate between now and year-end. Because […]

Learn More
Small Business 1099-MISC Reporting Requirements

Small Business 1099-MISC Reporting Requirements

A month after the new year begins, your business may be required to comply with rules to report amounts paid to independent contractors, vendors, and others. This involves sending 1099-MISC forms to those whom you pay nonemployee compensation, as well as filing copies with the IRS to avoid penalties. While this task can be time-consuming, […]

Learn More