One of the few if only benefits to paying alimony is that it is been tax deductible. That is, until now. If Trump’s tax overhaul plan, a.k.a. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is signed into law, the tax deduction that those who pay alimony would be eliminated.
“Alimony payers won’t be able to afford to give as much because they’ll have to give it to Uncle Sam instead,” said Nancy Hetrick, a certified divorce financial analyst and senior advisor at Better Money Decisions in Phoenix, Arizona. “There will be less money to go around to support the two households.”
If the deduction disappears, it would affect divorce agreements — where the amount and duration of alimony is codified — entered into after 2017. Child support, which is separate from alimony, already offers no deduction.
The new tax legislation essentially would shift much of the taxation from the recipient to the alimony payer.
“Due to the disparity in tax rates that exist in these cases, this would have a negative effect on the payee. That’s the bottom line,” said Malcolm Taub, co-chair of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron’s Divorce & Family Law Group in New York.
If the GOP tax bill passes as written, the change would affect divorces carried out after December 31. So it wouldn’t affect anyone already paying alimony.
This could certainly make divorce proceedings and negotiations more difficult. If the tax benefit of making alimony payments is eliminated, the negotiations between the spouses becomes tougher, necessarily lengthening the divorce process.
The alimony deduction repeal is just one provision among hundreds tucked away in the House GOP’s 429-page tax reform bill. Among the most significant measures: Narrow the number of tax brackets from seven to four and nearly double standard deductions.
The bill still needs to be approved by the House and Senate. Then, it needs a sign off from President Trump, who has said it will be done “before Christmas.”