Tax questions

February 09, 1999

Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants are answering readers' tax questions through April 15.

I was separated for the calendar year, for at least 6 months, and I would like to know how to report on my 1040 support that I paid out.

If you were separated during the year, it would depend on the status of your divorce, the state the two of you lived in, and whether you or your spouse are willing to file combined returns. You may be able to deduct alimony payments if they are legally structured as alimony, while you are not able to deduct child support at any time. For a payment to be deductible as alimony, it must be under a written agreement and be made in cash. The obligation to make the payments must also stop upon the death of the recipient.

My husband's and my divorce was final Nov. 17. Since we were married for the majority of last year, do we have the option of filing a joint income tax return?

Your marital status for the filing of income tax returns is determined on Dec. 31 of the year in question. Since you were divorced before Dec. 31, you and your ex-spouse would not have the option of filing a joint return.

Aaron Bloom, CPA, Ribis, Jones & Maresca P.A.

The above advice is for general purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting or tax advice. Specific situations may vary.

To ask a tax question, call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at 410-783-1800. Call 410-268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 410-836-5028 in Harford County, 410-848-0338 in Carroll County. Using a Touch-Tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6225 after the greeting. You can also submit questions by e-mail through The Sun's Web site: www.sunspot.net. Click on Business.

Selected questions will be answered in the Business section. No questions will be answered personally.

Pub Date: 2/09/99

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