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Merlo
Merlo, Accountant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 9783
Experience:  25+ years tax consulting. Specializing in returns for US citizens living abroad
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Hi, I took my ex to court this last Feb (09) and received

Resolved Question:

Hi,
I took my ex to court this last Feb (09) and received a settlement for back alimony that he hadn't paid for 2007 and 2008. He paid me the entire amount in one lump sum about a week later. I was wondering how I pay taxes on the alimony settlement. Do I declare it as income in 2009 or can I go back and ammend my tax returns for 2007 and 2008 and pay the taxes on the money for those years (I was in a lower tax bracket during those years). It seems really unfair that it was income that was due to me during those years and now I get penalized tax wise because he FINALLY pays me in one lump sum. Thanks ahead for the answers.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Merlo replied 7 years ago.
Hello tiff,

Individual taxpayers report their income on a cash basis, meaning you report your income in the year it is actually received and your expenses in the year you actually pay them. So unfortunately you would not be allowed to go back and amend prior year returns to include this additional income. And there is also no way to "average out" the lump sum payment you received over more than one tax year.

If you paid any attorney fees in connection with the collection of this alimony, those fees can be claimed as a deduction since they were paid to recover taxable income. Other than that, the alimony received will have to be claimed as income in the year you received it.

Hopefully this will not come up again for you where you have to take him to court to get the alimony that is due to you, but if it does, you and your attorney may want to try to negotiate for a higher amount due to any extra tax that this may create for you. That in itself may be an incentive for him to start paying you as he is supposed to.

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Thank you tiff and let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help you with whatever I can.

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