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pamdazzle3
New Member

I filed married filing jointly but the IRS sent a letter back saying I can't file like that and collect alimony. Now I owe money?

I filed taxes for my deceased husband who I was divorcing and he was paying me alimony so I deducted that. but filed married filing jointly but the IRS sent a letter back saying I can't file like that and collect alimony. Now I owe money

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Accepted Solutions
Opus 17
Level 15

I filed married filing jointly but the IRS sent a letter back saying I can't file like that and collect alimony. Now I owe money?

Taking your question exactly as written, you were in the process of filing for divorce from your husband but he died before the divorce was final.  You filed a married filing joint return (which is allowed in that situation).  Your husband was making support payments to you, either voluntary or as part of a court ordered separation pending divorce.

In that case, you can't deduct his alimony payments to you as a deduction on your joint tax return.  You also don't report his alimony payments as income.  You simply ignore them.  You would also ignore child support payments.

If you deducted alimony your spouse paid but did not report it as your income, then you owe the tax the IRS has assessed.

If you deducted alimony your spouse paid AND reported the alimony as your income, then the IRS has identified one mistake but not the other.  You may owe less tax than the IRS assessed, and you may even owe no tax at all.  But you will need to prepare an amended return to remove the alimony both ways, calculate any tax owed, and send the amended return and a letter of explanation to the IRS at the address given in their letter to you.

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*

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6 Replies
xmasbaby0
Level 15

I filed married filing jointly but the IRS sent a letter back saying I can't file like that and collect alimony. Now I owe money?

The way you worded your question is confusing.  When you say "I filed taxes for my deceased husband" do you mean you filed a tax return in only his name as well as filing a joint return for both of you?  Or did you file only a joint return and say on it that he passed away in 2017?  Where did you list alimony paid?
**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
Critter
Level 15

I filed married filing jointly but the IRS sent a letter back saying I can't file like that and collect alimony. Now I owe money?

If you were still married when he passed and you filed a joint return then you cannot deduct alimony ... that is alimony rule #1.

For one person to deduct alimony the other person must report it as income on their return ... so if you filed a joint return with the person who is "paying" you the alimony then the deduction & income would zero each other out ... so no alimony  deduction or income is allowed on the joint return for obvious reasons.  

In this case the IRS is correct so pay up.
Carl
Level 15

I filed married filing jointly but the IRS sent a letter back saying I can't file like that and collect alimony. Now I owe money?

Apparently, you're confused on the difference between child support and alimony.
Child support is not deductible by the person who pays it. Child support is not reportable by the person who receives it.
Alimony *is* deductible by the person who pays it and they don't pay taxes on it. Likewise, that means alimony is reportable and taxable to the person who receives it. So if you did not report your alimony received on your tax return, that makes you in error here. You have to report all alimony received and you will pay taxes on that money.
In some states, the fact that you are married to someone else (not the person paying the alimony) is irrelevant. However, in all cases I'm aware of, when the recipient of alimony remarries, the alimony stops.
pamdazzle3
New Member

I filed married filing jointly but the IRS sent a letter back saying I can't file like that and collect alimony. Now I owe money?

Ok sorry they didn't let me use a lot of words. My  problem is I'm doing his taxes for 2015 because I had no idea I had to do them. We separated in 2014, but not legally, started our divorce and the judge ordered alimony be paid and child support so he did pay me until December 2015 when he passed away but we never finalized it so technically we are married still. I was not filing taxes for that year because I was a housewife before we separated and after we separated, but was looking for work. So I did not file taxes or claim my daughter for 2015. He waa going to claim our daughter on his taxes. Since I have to file and we were technically married I have to put that so turbo tax automatically tells me to file married filing jointly. Also I was trying to make it easy and not claim all his write offs he usually does either and I have copies of all alimony checks. They said I can't be married and claim alimony... But I'm not HE IS. I shouldn't even be on it right?
Carl
Level 15

I filed married filing jointly but the IRS sent a letter back saying I can't file like that and collect alimony. Now I owe money?

You ***REALLY*** need to visit a CPA in your local area. You basically have a mess and you should not be relying on information from any public user-to-user forum such as this one. Get with a CPA and get this fixed *right* the first time, and you'll find that the cost of that CPA will seem like a pittance in comparison to the fines, penalties and back taxes and late fees that *will* continue to accumulate until you get it fixed *right*.
Opus 17
Level 15

I filed married filing jointly but the IRS sent a letter back saying I can't file like that and collect alimony. Now I owe money?

Taking your question exactly as written, you were in the process of filing for divorce from your husband but he died before the divorce was final.  You filed a married filing joint return (which is allowed in that situation).  Your husband was making support payments to you, either voluntary or as part of a court ordered separation pending divorce.

In that case, you can't deduct his alimony payments to you as a deduction on your joint tax return.  You also don't report his alimony payments as income.  You simply ignore them.  You would also ignore child support payments.

If you deducted alimony your spouse paid but did not report it as your income, then you owe the tax the IRS has assessed.

If you deducted alimony your spouse paid AND reported the alimony as your income, then the IRS has identified one mistake but not the other.  You may owe less tax than the IRS assessed, and you may even owe no tax at all.  But you will need to prepare an amended return to remove the alimony both ways, calculate any tax owed, and send the amended return and a letter of explanation to the IRS at the address given in their letter to you.

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*

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