How to Amend Your Tax Return to Add Alimony

Alimony is taxed differently than child support. It's important to understand the difference when you are filing income tax returns. Alimony is taxable as ordinary income to the recipient, but money paid as alimony is not subject to income tax on the part of the payer. For example, if a man pays alimony to an ex-wife, the alimony paid is excluded from his income for the purpose of calculating his income tax. Meanwhile, his ex-wife must claim the amount of alimony received as income. Any child support payment, however, is not tax deductible. The recipient also does not have to claim it as income.

Step 1

Download an IRS Form 1040X -- Amended Tax Return from the Internal Revenue Service website. This is a form you use to alert the IRS that you are amending or correcting a tax form you have already filed.

Step 2

Download an IRS Form 1040. This is the form you must use to account for alimony payments, whether you paid them or received them. You cannot use a 1040A or a 1040EZ. If you are a nonresident recipient of alimony income, you must download IRS Form 1040NR and Schedule NEC.

Step 3

Complete the forms. If you received alimony, list the total received during the tax year as income on Line 11 of Form 1040. If you paid alimony, then that's an adjustment to income. List the amount paid on Line 31a of the Form 1040. The Form 1040 will help you calculate the amount of tax you owe. Note that you'll also need the Social Security Number of anyone you are paying alimony to.

Step 4

Mail both forms to the Internal Revenue Service processing center listed for your location in the back of the instructions for your Form 1040. You must provide postage. If you received alimony, you may have to pay additional tax. Enclose the additional tax, over and above whatever you already paid, with your amended return.

Items you will need

  • Social Security number of anyone you paid alimony to
  • A copy of your tax return

Tip

  • Note that alimony paid is an above-the-line adjustment to income, rather than a miscellaneous itemized deduction. This means that alimony paid is deducted from your adjusted gross income on your Form 1040, and you don't have to itemize to receive the tax benefit. You do not need to file a Schedule A.

Warning

  • If you are receiving alimony and you do not provide your Social Security number to the payer, the IRS may assess you a penalty of $50.

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