Tax questions

April 09, 2000

Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants are answering readers' tax questions in advance of the April 17 filing deadline.

I am legally separated from my wife, and in our agreement I promised to give her one-half of my police pension, which I'm presently receiving and paying taxes on. Can I claim this as alimony or how would I claim it? In this agreement we agreed to pay our own taxes.

Only if the payments are made under a post-1984 divorce or written separation agreement can they be deducted as alimony. There are certain other tests you must meet, such as not being members of the same household or filing a joint tax return. Nor can there be a requirement that the payments continue after your wife's death. The deduction is taken on line 31 on the first page of the 1040 and must include your wife's Social Security number. Also, if the court makes a "qualified domestic relations order" (QDRO), the payments will be paid directly to the spouse and the annual 1099R reporting form will be issued directly to the spouse for those payments and the alimony deduction will not be necessary.

Susan J. Huddy, CPA, Costello & Huddy, Chartered

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

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