Alimony, also called spousal support or spousal maintenance, includes payments made by one spouse to the other for that spouse’s support following a divorce. Georgia courts are not required to grant alimony in every case, but alimony may be granted under certain circumstances. See our post entitled What is Alimony for more information regarding when a court is most likely to grant alimony.
Alimony payments are tax-deductible for the spouse making the payments and they constitute taxable income for the spouse receiving the payments. Thus, it is important for both parties, the recipient and the obligated spouse, to keep adequate records of the payments, as one spouse may dispute, or the IRS may challenge, the amounts that were actually paid or received. Without adequate documentation, the obligated spouse may lose the alimony tax deduction or be ordered to pay back support if the other spouse alleges that alimony was not paid. Because keeping records of alimony payments paid and received is so important, we have provided a list showing the documents that the spouse paying alimony should retain as well as the documents that the spouse receiving alimony should retain.
If you are currently making alimony payments to your ex-spouse, you should keep the following documents:
• A list of each payment that shows the date of each payment, the check number, and the address to which the check was sent;
• A copy of each check used for payment. These records should be kept in a safe place, like a fire proof safe or file cabinet. Be sure to note on each check the month for which the support is being paid; and,
• If you pay in cash, ensure that you get a receipt for each payment, signed by the recipient, and keep each receipt for your records. See our post entitled In what form should I make my child support or alimony payment? for details on why cash payments are not advisable.
Be sure to keep these records for at least three years from the date you file the tax returns deducting the payments.
If you are currently receiving alimony payments, you should keep a list that shows each alimony payment received. This list should include the following information:
• The date the payment was received;
• The amount received. Make a special note if the amount is less than the court ordered amount in the event that it is necessary to file a motion for contempt in your case;
• The check number, money order number, transaction number or other identifying information;
• The account number on which any check is written;
• The name of bank from which he check is drawn or money order issued;
• A copy of the check or money order; and,
• A copy of any signed receipt you provided your ex-spouse for any cash payments received.
By A. Latrese Martin, Assiciate Attorney, Meriwether & Tharp, LLC