Different contributor here. Please permit me to assist.
1. Unlike most of the tax category contributors who answer questions here at justanswer.com, I am an attorney, and I don't do accounting or prepare tax returns (not that there is anything wrong with those who do this functions). Rather, I argue the law -- and the law is routinely very different from what the IRS provides in its publications and various guides. To wit: "It is hornbook law that informal publications all the way up to revenue rulings are simply guides to taxpayers, and a taxpayer relies on them at his peril." Caterpillar Tractor Co. v. United States, 589 F.2d 1040, 1043 (Ct. Cl. 1978).
2. Because of the above admonition from the federal court of claims, when I observe participants here debating over the rules provided in an IRS publication, I feel obliged to step into the fray.
3. The law concerning the deductible character of spousal support (aka alimony or maintenance), is codified in 26 U.S.C. § 71(b)(1), and is defined as follows:
- (A) such payment is received by (or on behalf of) a spouse under a divorce or separation instrument,
- (B) the divorce or separation instrument does not designate such payment as a payment which is not includible in gross income under this section and not allowable as a deduction under section 215,
- (C) in the case of an individual legally separated from his spouse under a decree of divorce or of separate maintenance, the payee spouse and the payor spouse are not members of the same household at the time such payment is made, and
- (D) there is no liability to make any such payment for any period after the death of the payee spouse and there is no liability to make any payment (in cash or property) as a substitute for such payments after the death of the payee spouse.
Your facts suggest that the payments you are making are not received by your ex spouse, but they are being used for the purpose of satisfying a debt of your ex-spouse owed for property taxes. You could certainly argue that the payments are being received on your ex's behalf, since if you were not paying the property tax, your ex would be obligated to pay. In fact, Treas. Reg. 1.71-1T(b)A-6 expressly states that a payment to a third party, such as a mortgage or tax payment qualifies as spousal support under the Internal Revenue Code, as long as all of the other requirements of Section 71 are satisfied.
Consequently, the answer to your question here, at least based upon the limited information about your circumstances that I have at my disposal, is "yes," you can deduct the payments as spousal support.
I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.
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