If your alimony payments decrease or terminate during the first 3 calendar years, you may be subject to the recapture rule. If you are subject to this rule, you have to include in income in the third year part of the alimony payments you previously deducted. Your spouse can deduct in the third year part of the alimony payments he or she previously included in income.
The 3-year period starts with the first calendar year you make a payment qualifying as alimony under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance or a written separation agreement. Do not include any time in which payments were being made under temporary support orders. The second and third years are the next 2 calendar years, whether or not payments are made during those years.
The reasons for a reduction or termination of alimony payments that can require a recapture include:
- A change in your divorce or separation instrument,
- A failure to make timely payments,
- A reduction in your ability to provide support, or
- A reduction in your spouse's support needs.
You are subject to the recapture rule in the third year if the alimony you pay in the third year decreases by more than $15,000 from the second year or the alimony you pay in the second and third years decreases significantly from the alimony you pay in the first year.
When you figure a decrease in alimony, do not include the following amounts.
- Payments made under a temporary support order.
- Payments required over a period of at least 3 calendar years that vary because they are a fixed part of your income from a business or property, or from compensation for employment or self-employment.
- Payments that decrease because of the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the spouse receiving the payments before the end of the third year.
You can use Worksheet 1 in Publication 504 to figure recaptured alimony.taxmap/pub17/p17-098.htm#en_us_publink1000172915
If you must include a recapture amount in income, show it on Form 1040, line 11 ("Alimony received"). Cross out "received" and enter "recapture." On the dotted line next to the amount, enter your spouse's last name and social security number.taxmap/pub17/p17-098.htm#en_us_publink1000172916
If you can deduct a recapture amount, show it on Form 1040, line 31a ("Alimony paid"). Cross out "paid" and enter "recapture." In the space provided, enter your spouse's social security number.