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Deductible Alimony

Posted by Mike C Posted on Mar 15 2013

Under IRC Sec. 71(b), one of the requirements for alimony to be deductible is that the obligation to make the payment must end at the death of the payee spouse. In this case, a taxpayer living in California was ordered by the court to pay $3,000 as family support. The support order indicated that the payments were for both spousal support and child support, but it did not make any specific allocations for each. There was no language on termination of the payments in the order. The Tax Court held that the entire amount of the payments were deductible alimony. The California Family Code does not address whether family support obligations terminate on the death of the payee spouse, so the court relied on the factually similar Berry case [TC Memo 2005-91 (2005)] where it found that there was no continuing payment liability. The court further noted that none of the payments qualified as child support since they were not "fixed" and child support cannot be inferred from intent, surrounding circumstances, or other subjective criteria. Brendon DeLong , TC Memo 2013-70 (Tax Ct.).