How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask socrateaser Your Own Question
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37684
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
Type Your Legal Question Here...
socrateaser is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

A divorced couple have an agreement that the ex-husband will

This answer was rated:

A divorced couple have an agreement that the ex-husband will pass 50% (after tax) of any commission through to his ex-wife. He made an error on his tax withholding and owed $60,000 to the IRS. He paid the IRS and is asking that his ex-wife repay him the $30,000 (half of what he owed the IRS). This situation presents several questions. Is the ex-wife obligated to pay the ex-husband the $30,000 for his taxes owed? If she does pay him can she deduct this as taxes paid when she prepares her 2013 return? Or is this simply her returning an overpayment of the commission? Because he withheld too little in taxes and therefore passed more than he should have to his ex-wife? Also, will the ex-wife have to report the commissions as taxable income on her 2013 return? There is a separate payment for spousal support. Thanks for your help!

What is the basis of the commissions (real estate sales, or something else)?

Also, if these commissions are based upon a government license, such as real estate, does wife have a license in same profession?

Thanks in advance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.



The ex-husband earns commissions through his employment based on job performance. He also receives bonus payments which are also split. These payments are not based on government contracts. In addition, he sold his business and receives "milestone" payments when certain goals are met. These payments are also split 50/50 with his ex-wife (after tax). All of these payments are made through his paycheck.


Thanks for your help!

Thanks for the added info.

If the amount of commissions was to be a 50/50 split after tax, then the question is: what is the definition of after tax for the purposes of the agreement.

After tax, can be the amount of commissions paid after withholding based upon the ex-husband's W-4, or it can be the amount of net income after the ex-husband has filed a final Form 1040 return with the IRS.

If the agreement is silent on how "after tax" is calculated, then the parties have a dispute that may require an arbitrator or judge to resolve.

As for the ex-wife's tax obligation, under federal tax law, a transfer of marital property incident to a divorce made within 12 months is generally not subject to income tax. But, what you describe here is not marital property -- it's future earnings, which is generally considered spousal support, when there is an agreement for such support.

Since you state that there is a separate agreement for spousal support, these payments would be either: (1) a "gift" from ex-husband to ex-wife, and thus not taxable (though reportable) to ex-husband, unless the aggregate amount of payments exceeds $5,250,000 during the ex-husband's lifetime; or (2) taxable income to ex-wife, but not deductible to ex-husband (a really, really bad deal for him, because this all should have been dealt with as additional spousal support).

In sum, this agreement is quite a hornet's nest. I'd love to provide a perfect solution here, but the reality is that there are probably a half dozen different ways to skin this cat. If it were me, I would try to revise the spousal support agreement to include these payments, because that would make the payments tax deductible to ex-husband.

Please let me know if my answer is helpful. And, thanks for using!
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37684
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and 12 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Previous | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan

Meet The Experts:

  • Tina



    Satisfied Customers:

    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • Tina's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • Ely's Avatar


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • JPEsq's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • FiveStarLaw's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.

Related Legal Questions