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Alimony Deduction – Get it in writing

A taxpayer who pays alimony to an ex-spouse per a written divorce or separation agreement can generally deduct the agreed-upon alimony on his or her tax return. In one case, a taxpayer made an oral agreement to pay his ex-wife substantially more than he was required to pay per the written agreement, out of his desire “to do the right thing.” However, when he deducted the higher amount on his tax return, the IRS denied the portion that exceeded the written agreement, stating that an oral modification didn’t qualify as alimony. (TC Memo 2017-79)

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