Do I have to pay taxes on a back alimony payment?

My ex said he “forgot” to give me the full amount so paid me an additional $15K last year. It bumps my income up so I am worried I will get a whopping tax bill. Also, he refuses to give me his pay history for last year to see if he is paying the right amount and not “forgetting” again . I get 30% of his bonus and all he has provided is a pay stub.

Asked on January 26, 2013 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

Stacey Schlimmer / Schlimmer Law, LLC

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Alimony and Maintenance are considered federally taxable income for the Payee and the payments are deductible for the Payor. Child Support is not included in Alimony or Maintenance.  Child Support payments are not taxable income and are not deductible for the Payor. With this information in mind, you should review your case and be sure that what he has paid truly consititutes Alimony and not Child Support.  States can have varying rules, and some states don't have income tax, so further research would be required regarding State income tax on the payments. 

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you have not already paid taxes on the back alimony payment, then yes, you will have to pay state and federal taxes on the alimony---if it is a true alimony payment.   Here is a link to our state's website that takes you through the steps to see if the payment you receive qualifies as "alimony" for the purposes of taxable income:

 http://www.mass.gov/dor/individuals/filing-and-payment-information/guide-to-personal-income-tax/deductions/alimony.html

If he is refusing to give you required documentation, then you would need to file a motion to enforce or compel with the court that entered the original order.  Considering that you will more than likely get a tax hit with an extra $15k in income, you could show a harm in his failure to report and pay alimony in a timely manner.   Your original attorney or other family law attorney could help you file the motion.  You could also ask the court to order him to reimburse you for the attorney's fees required to file the motion for enforcement.


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