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Amending Your Tax Return

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Amending Your Tax Return

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Amending your tax return Publication 504 - Main Content Table of Contents Filing StatusUnmarried persons. Amending your tax return Married persons. Amending your tax return Same-sex marriage. Amending your tax return Exception. Amending your tax return Married Filing Jointly Married Filing Separately Head of Household ExemptionsPersonal Exemptions Exemptions for Dependents Phaseout of Exemptions AlimonyInvalid decree. Amending your tax return Amended instrument. Amending your tax return General Rules Instruments Executed After 1984 Instruments Executed Before 1985 Qualified Domestic Relations OrderRollovers. Amending your tax return Individual Retirement Arrangements Property SettlementsTransfer Between Spouses Gift Tax on Property Settlements Sale of Jointly-Owned Property Costs of Getting a Divorce Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax Community PropertyCommunity Income Alimony (Community Income) How To Get Tax Help Filing Status Your filing status is used in determining whether you must file a return, your standard deduction, and the correct tax. Amending your tax return It may also be used in determining whether you can claim certain other deductions and credits. Amending your tax return The filing status you can choose depends partly on your marital status on the last day of your tax year. Amending your tax return Marital status. Amending your tax return   If you are unmarried, your filing status is single or, if you meet certain requirements, head of household or qualifying widow(er). Amending your tax return If you are married, your filing status is either married filing a joint return or married filing a separate return. Amending your tax return For information about the single and qualifying widow(er) filing statuses, see Publication 501. Amending your tax return Unmarried persons. Amending your tax return   You are unmarried for the whole year if either of the following applies. Amending your tax return You have obtained a final decree of divorce or separate maintenance by the last day of your tax year. Amending your tax return You must follow your state law to determine if you are divorced or legally separated. Amending your tax return Exception. Amending your tax return If you and your spouse obtain a divorce in one year for the sole purpose of filing tax returns as unmarried individuals, and at the time of divorce you intend to remarry each other and do so in the next tax year, you and your spouse must file as married individuals. Amending your tax return You have obtained a decree of annulment, which holds that no valid marriage ever existed. Amending your tax return You must file amended returns (Form 1040X, Amended U. Amending your tax return S. Amending your tax return Individual Income Tax Return) for all tax years affected by the annulment that are not closed by the statute of limitations. Amending your tax return The statute of limitations generally does not end until 3 years (including extensions) after the date you file your original return or within 2 years after the date you pay the tax. Amending your tax return On the amended return you will change your filing status to single or, if you meet certain requirements, head of household. Amending your tax return Married persons. Amending your tax return   You are married for the whole year if you are separated but you have not obtained a final decree of divorce or separate maintenance by the last day of your tax year. Amending your tax return An interlocutory decree is not a final decree. Amending your tax return Same-sex marriage. Amending your tax return   For federal tax purposes, individuals of the same sex are considered married if they were lawfully married in a state (or foreign country) whose laws authorize the marriage of two individuals of the same sex, even if the state (or foreign country) in which they now live does not recognize same-sex marriage. Amending your tax return The term "spouse" includes an individual married to a person of the same sex if the couple is lawfully married under state (or foreign) law. Amending your tax return However, individuals who have entered into a registered domestic partnership, civil union, or other similar relationship that is not considered a marriage under state (or foreign) law are not considered married for federal tax purposes. Amending your tax return For more details, see Publication 501. Amending your tax return Exception. Amending your tax return   If you live apart from your spouse, under certain circumstances, you may be considered unmarried and can file as head of household. Amending your tax return See Head of Household , later. Amending your tax return Married Filing Jointly If you are married, you and your spouse can choose to file a joint return. Amending your tax return If you file jointly, you both must include all your income, exemptions, deductions, and credits on that return. Amending your tax return You can file a joint return even if one of you had no income or deductions. Amending your tax return If both you and your spouse have income, you should usually figure your tax on both a joint return and separate returns (using the filing status of married filing separately) to see which gives the two of you the lower combined tax. Amending your tax return Nonresident alien. Amending your tax return   To file a joint return, at least one of you must be a U. Amending your tax return S. Amending your tax return citizen or resident alien at the end of the tax year. Amending your tax return If either of you was a nonresident alien at any time during the tax year, you can file a joint return only if you agree to treat the nonresident spouse as a resident of the United States. Amending your tax return This means that your combined worldwide incomes are subject to U. Amending your tax return S. Amending your tax return income tax. Amending your tax return These rules are explained in Publication 519, U. Amending your tax return S. Amending your tax return Tax Guide for Aliens. Amending your tax return Signing a joint return. Amending your tax return   Both you and your spouse generally must sign the return, or it will not be considered a joint return. Amending your tax return Joint and individual liability. Amending your tax return   Both you and your spouse may be held responsible, jointly and individually, for the tax and any interest or penalty due on your joint return. Amending your tax return This means that one spouse may be held liable for all the tax due even if all the income was earned by the other spouse. Amending your tax return Divorced taxpayers. Amending your tax return   If you are divorced, you are jointly and individually responsible for any tax, interest, and penalties due on a joint return for a tax year ending before your divorce. Amending your tax return This responsibility applies even if your divorce decree states that your former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns. Amending your tax return Relief from joint liability. Amending your tax return   In some cases, a spouse may be relieved of the tax, interest, and penalties on a joint return. Amending your tax return You can ask for relief no matter how small the liability. Amending your tax return   There are three types of relief available. Amending your tax return Innocent spouse relief. Amending your tax return Separation of liability, which applies to joint filers who are divorced, widowed, legally separated, or who have not lived together for the 12 months ending on the date election of this relief is filed. Amending your tax return Equitable relief. Amending your tax return   Married persons who live in community property states, but who did not file joint returns, may also qualify for relief from liability arising from community property law or for equitable relief. Amending your tax return See Relief from liability arising from community property law , later, under Community Property. Amending your tax return    Each kind of relief has different requirements. Amending your tax return You must file Form 8857 to request relief under any of these categories. Amending your tax return Publication 971 explains these kinds of relief and who may qualify for them. Amending your tax return You can also find information on our website at IRS. Amending your tax return gov. Amending your tax return Tax refund applied to spouse's debts. Amending your tax return   The overpayment shown on your joint return may be used to pay the past-due amount of your spouse's debts. Amending your tax return This includes your spouse's federal tax, state income tax, child or spousal support payments, or a federal nontax debt, such as a student loan. Amending your tax return You can get a refund of your share of the overpayment if you qualify as an injured spouse. Amending your tax return Injured spouse. Amending your tax return   You are an injured spouse if you file a joint return and all or part of your share of the overpayment was, or is expected to be, applied against your spouse's past-due debts. Amending your tax return An injured spouse can get a refund for his or her share of the overpayment that would otherwise be used to pay the past-due amount. Amending your tax return   To be considered an injured spouse, you must: Have made and reported tax payments (such as federal income tax withheld from wages or estimated tax payments), or claimed a refundable tax credit, such as the earned income credit or additional child tax credit on the joint return, and Not be legally obligated to pay the past-due amount. Amending your tax return Note. Amending your tax return If the injured spouse's permanent home is in a community property state, then the injured spouse must only meet (2). Amending your tax return For more information, see Publication 555. Amending your tax return    Refunds that involve community property states must be divided according to local law. Amending your tax return If you live in a community property state in which all community property is subject to the debts of either spouse, your entire refund is generally used to pay those debts. Amending your tax return   If you are an injured spouse, you must file Form 8379 to have your portion of the overpayment refunded to you. Amending your tax return Follow the instructions for the form. Amending your tax return   If you have not filed your joint return and you know that your joint refund will be offset, file Form 8379 with your return. Amending your tax return You should receive your refund within 14 weeks from the date the paper return is filed or within 11 weeks from the date the return is filed electronically. Amending your tax return   If you filed your joint return and your joint refund was offset, file Form 8379 by itself. Amending your tax return When filed after offset, it can take up to 8 weeks to receive your refund. Amending your tax return Do not attach the previously filed tax return, but do include copies of all Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings, for both spouses and any Forms 1099 that show income tax withheld. Amending your tax return    An injured spouse claim is different from an innocent spouse relief request. Amending your tax return An injured spouse uses Form 8379 to request an allocation of the tax overpayment attributed to each spouse. Amending your tax return An innocent spouse uses Form 8857 to request relief from joint liability for tax, interest, and penalties on a joint return for items of the other spouse (or former spouse) that were incorrectly reported on or omitted from the joint return. Amending your tax return For information on innocent spouses, see Relief from joint liability, earlier. Amending your tax return Married Filing Separately If you and your spouse file separate returns, you should each report only your own income, exemptions, deductions, and credits on your individual return. Amending your tax return You can file a separate return even if only one of you had income. Amending your tax return For information on exemptions you can claim on your separate return, see Exemptions , later. Amending your tax return Community or separate income. Amending your tax return   If you live in a community property state and file a separate return, your income may be separate income or community income for income tax purposes. Amending your tax return For more information, see Community Income under Community Property, later. Amending your tax return Separate liability. Amending your tax return   If you and your spouse file separately, you each are responsible only for the tax due on your own return. Amending your tax return Itemized deductions. Amending your tax return   If you and your spouse file separate returns and one of you itemizes deductions, the other spouse cannot use the standard deduction and should also itemize deductions. Amending your tax return Table 1. Amending your tax return Itemized Deductions on Separate Returns This table shows itemized deductions you can claim on your married filing separate return whether you paid the expenses separately with your own funds or jointly with your spouse. Amending your tax return  Caution: If you live in a community property state, these rules do not apply. Amending your tax return See Community Property. Amending your tax return IF you paid . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return AND you . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return THEN you can deduct on your separate federal return. Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return   medical expenses   paid with funds deposited in a joint checking account in which you and your spouse have an equal interest     half of the total medical expenses, subject to certain limits, unless you can show that you alone paid the expenses. Amending your tax return     state income tax   file a separate state income tax return     the state income tax you alone paid during the year. Amending your tax return         file a joint state income tax return and you and your spouse are jointly and individually liable for the full amount of the state income tax     the state income tax you alone paid during the year. Amending your tax return         file a joint state income tax return and you  are liable for only your own share of state  income tax     the smaller of: the state income tax you alone paid during the year, or the total state income tax you and your spouse paid during the year multiplied by the following fraction. Amending your tax return The numerator is your gross income and the denominator  is your combined gross income. Amending your tax return     property tax   paid the tax on property held as tenants by the entirety     the property tax you alone paid. Amending your tax return     mortgage interest   paid the interest on a qualified home1 held  as tenants by the entirety     the mortgage interest you alone paid. Amending your tax return     casualty loss   have a casualty loss on a home you own  as tenants by the entirety     half of the loss, subject to the deduction limits. Amending your tax return Neither spouse may report the total casualty loss. Amending your tax return 1 For more information on a qualified home and deductible mortgage interest, see Publication 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction. Amending your tax return Dividing itemized deductions. Amending your tax return   You may be able to claim itemized deductions on a separate return for certain expenses that you paid separately or jointly with your spouse. Amending your tax return See Table 1, later. Amending your tax return Separate returns may give you a higher tax. Amending your tax return   Some married couples file separate returns because each wants to be responsible only for his or her own tax. Amending your tax return There is no joint liability. Amending your tax return But in almost all instances, if you file separate returns, you will pay more combined federal tax than you would with a joint return. Amending your tax return This is because the following special rules apply if you file a separate return. Amending your tax return Your tax rate generally will be higher than it would be on a joint return. Amending your tax return Your exemption amount for figuring the alternative minimum tax will be half of that allowed a joint return filer. Amending your tax return You cannot take the credit for child and dependent care expenses in most cases. Amending your tax return You cannot take the earned income credit. Amending your tax return You cannot take the exclusion or credit for adoption expenses in most cases. Amending your tax return You cannot take the credit for higher education expenses (American opportunity and lifetime learning credits), the deduction for student loan interest, or the tuition and fees deduction. Amending your tax return You cannot exclude the interest from qualified savings bonds that you used for higher education expenses. Amending your tax return If you lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year: You cannot claim the credit for the elderly or the disabled, and You will have to include in income more (up to 85%) of any social security or equivalent railroad retirement benefits you received. Amending your tax return Your income limits that reduce the child tax credit, the retirement savings contributions credit, itemized deductions, and the deduction for personal exemptions are half of the limits for a joint return filer. Amending your tax return Your capital loss deduction limit is $1,500 (instead of $3,000 on a joint return). Amending your tax return Your basic standard deduction, if allowable, is half of that allowed a joint return filer. Amending your tax return See Itemized deductions , earlier. Amending your tax return Joint return after separate returns. Amending your tax return   If either you or your spouse (or both of you) file a separate return, you generally can change to a joint return within 3 years from the due date (not including extensions) of the separate return or returns. Amending your tax return This applies to a return either of you filed claiming married filing separately, single, or head of household filing status. Amending your tax return Use Form 1040X to change your filing status. Amending your tax return Separate returns after joint return. Amending your tax return   After the due date of your return, you and your spouse cannot file separate returns if you previously filed a joint return. Amending your tax return Exception. Amending your tax return   A personal representative for a decedent can change from a joint return elected by the surviving spouse to a separate return for the decedent. Amending your tax return The personal representative has 1 year from the due date (including extensions) of the joint return to make the change. Amending your tax return Head of Household Filing as head of household has the following advantages. Amending your tax return You can claim the standard deduction even if your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions. Amending your tax return Your standard deduction is higher than is allowed if you claim a filing status of single or married filing separately. Amending your tax return Your tax rate usually will be lower than it is if you claim a filing status of single or married filing separately. Amending your tax return You may be able to claim certain credits (such as the dependent care credit and the earned income credit) you cannot claim if your filing status is married filing separately. Amending your tax return Income limits that reduce your child tax credit, retirement savings contributions credit, itemized deductions, and the deduction for personal exemptions are higher than the income limits if you claim a filing status of married filing separately. Amending your tax return Requirements. Amending your tax return   You may be able to file as head of household if you meet all the following requirements. Amending your tax return You are unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year. Amending your tax return You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year. Amending your tax return A “qualifying person” lived with you in the home for more than half the year (except for temporary absences, such as school). Amending your tax return However, if the “qualifying person” is your dependent parent, he or she does not have to live with you. Amending your tax return See Special rule for parent , later, under Qualifying person. Amending your tax return Considered unmarried. Amending your tax return   You are considered unmarried on the last day of the tax year if you meet all the following tests. Amending your tax return You file a separate return. Amending your tax return A separate return includes a return claiming married filing separately, single, or head of household filing status. Amending your tax return You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year. Amending your tax return Your spouse did not live in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. Amending your tax return Your spouse is considered to live in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent due to special circumstances. Amending your tax return See Temporary absences , later. Amending your tax return Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or foster child for more than half the year. Amending your tax return (See Qualifying person , later, for rules applying to a child's birth, death, or temporary absence during the year. Amending your tax return ) You must be able to claim an exemption for the child. Amending your tax return However, you meet this test if you cannot claim the exemption only because the noncustodial parent can claim the child using the rule described later in Special rule for divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) under Exemptions for Dependents. Amending your tax return The general rules for claiming an exemption for a dependent are shown later in Table 3. Amending your tax return    If you were considered married for part of the year and lived in a community property state (one of the states listed later under Community Property), special rules may apply in determining your income and expenses. Amending your tax return See Publication 555 for more information. Amending your tax return Nonresident alien spouse. Amending your tax return   If your spouse was a nonresident alien at any time during the tax year, and you have not chosen to treat your spouse as a resident alien, you are considered unmarried for head of household purposes. Amending your tax return However, your spouse is not a qualifying person for head of household purposes. Amending your tax return You must have another qualifying person and meet the other requirements to file as head of household. Amending your tax return Keeping up a home. Amending your tax return   You are keeping up a home only if you pay more than half the cost of its upkeep for the year. Amending your tax return This includes rent, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, insurance on the home, repairs, utilities, and food eaten in the home. Amending your tax return This does not include the cost of clothing, education, medical treatment, vacations, life insurance, or transportation for any member of the household. Amending your tax return Qualifying person. Amending your tax return    Table 2, later, shows who can be a qualifying person. Amending your tax return Any person not described in Table 2 is not a qualifying person. Amending your tax return   Generally, the qualifying person must live with you for more than half of the year. Amending your tax return Table 2. Amending your tax return Who Is a Qualifying Person Qualifying You To File as Head of Household?1 Caution. Amending your tax return See the text of this publication for the other requirements you must meet to claim head of household filing status. Amending your tax return IF the person is your . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return AND . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return THEN that person is . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return   qualifying child (such as a son, daughter, or grandchild who lived with you more than half the year and meets certain other tests)2 he or she is single a qualifying person, whether or not you can claim an exemption for the person. Amending your tax return     he or she is married and you can claim an exemption for him or her a qualifying person. Amending your tax return     he or she is married and you cannot claim an exemption for him or her not a qualifying person. Amending your tax return 3     qualifying relative4 who is your father or mother you can claim an exemption for him or her5 a qualifying person. Amending your tax return 6     you cannot claim an exemption for him or her not a qualifying person. Amending your tax return     qualifying relative4 other than your father or mother (such as a grandparent, brother, or sister who meets certain tests) he or she lived with you more than half the year, and he or she is related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you in Publication 501 and you can claim an exemption for him or her5 a qualifying person. Amending your tax return     he or she did not live with you more than half the year not a qualifying person. Amending your tax return     he or she is not related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you in Publication 501 and is your qualifying relative only because he or she lived with you all year as a member of your household not a qualifying person. Amending your tax return     you cannot claim an exemption for him or her not a qualifying person. Amending your tax return   1 A person cannot qualify more than one taxpayer to use the head of household filing status for the year. Amending your tax return 2 See Table 3, later, for the tests that must be met to be a qualifying child. Amending your tax return Note. Amending your tax return If you are a noncustodial parent, the term “qualifying child” for head of household filing status does not include a child who is your qualifying child for exemption purposes only because of the rules described under Children of Divorced or Separated Parents (or Parents Who Live Apart) under Exemptions for Dependents, later. Amending your tax return If you are the custodial parent and those rules apply, the child is generally your qualifying child for head of household filing status even though the child is not a qualifying child for whom you can claim an exemption. Amending your tax return 3 This person is a qualifying person if the only reason you cannot claim the exemption is that you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return. Amending your tax return 4 See Table 3, later, for the tests that must be met to be a qualifying relative. Amending your tax return 5 If you can claim an exemption for a person only because of a multiple support agreement, that person is not a qualifying person. Amending your tax return See Multiple Support Agreement in Publication 501. Amending your tax return 6 See Special rule for parent . Amending your tax return Special rule for parent. Amending your tax return   If your qualifying person is your father or mother, you may be eligible to file as head of household even if your father or mother does not live with you. Amending your tax return However, you must be able to claim an exemption for your father or mother. Amending your tax return Also, you must pay more than half the cost of keeping up a home that was the main home for the entire year for your father or mother. Amending your tax return You are keeping up a main home for your father or mother if you pay more than half the cost of keeping your parent in a rest home or home for the elderly. Amending your tax return Death or birth. Amending your tax return   If the person for whom you kept up a home was born or died in 2013, you still may be able to file as head of household. Amending your tax return If the person is your qualifying child, the child must have lived with you for more than half the part of the year he or she was alive. Amending your tax return If the person is anyone else, see Publication 501. Amending your tax return Temporary absences. Amending your tax return   You and your qualifying person are considered to live together even if one or both of you are temporarily absent from your home due to special circumstances such as illness, education, business, vacation, or military service. Amending your tax return It must be reasonable to assume that the absent person will return to the home after the temporary absence. Amending your tax return You must continue to keep up the home during the absence. Amending your tax return Kidnapped child. Amending your tax return   You may be eligible to file as head of household even if the child who is your qualifying person has been kidnapped. Amending your tax return You can claim head of household filing status if all the following statements are true. Amending your tax return The child must be presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a member of your family or the child's family. Amending your tax return In the year of the kidnapping, the child lived with you for more than half the part of the year before the kidnapping. Amending your tax return You would have qualified for head of household filing status if the child had not been kidnapped. Amending your tax return   This treatment applies for all years until the earlier of: The year the child is returned, The year there is a determination that the child is dead, or The year the child would have reached age 18. Amending your tax return More information. Amending your tax return   For more information on filing as head of household, see Publication 501. Amending your tax return Exemptions You can deduct $3,900 for each exemption you claim in 2013. Amending your tax return However, if your adjusted gross income is more than $150,000, see Phaseout of Exemptions , later. Amending your tax return There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and exemptions for dependents. Amending your tax return If you are entitled to claim an exemption for a dependent (such as your child), that dependent cannot claim his or her personal exemption on his or her own tax return. Amending your tax return Personal Exemptions You can claim your own exemption unless someone else can claim it. Amending your tax return If you are married, you may be able to take an exemption for your spouse. Amending your tax return These are called personal exemptions. Amending your tax return Exemption for Your Spouse Your spouse is never considered your dependent. Amending your tax return Joint return. Amending your tax return   On a joint return, you can claim one exemption for yourself and one for your spouse. Amending your tax return   If your spouse had any gross income, you can claim his or her exemption only if you file a joint return. Amending your tax return Separate return. Amending your tax return   If you file a separate return, you can take an exemption for your spouse only if your spouse had no gross income, is not filing a return, and was not the dependent of another taxpayer. Amending your tax return If your spouse is the dependent of another taxpayer, you cannot claim an exemption for your spouse even if the other taxpayer does not actually claim your spouse's exemption. Amending your tax return Alimony paid. Amending your tax return   If you paid alimony to your spouse, you cannot take an exemption for your spouse. Amending your tax return This is because alimony is gross income to the spouse who received it. Amending your tax return Divorced or separated spouse. Amending your tax return   If you obtained a final decree of divorce or separate maintenance during the year, you cannot take your former spouse's exemption. Amending your tax return This rule applies even if you provided all of your former spouse's support. Amending your tax return Exemptions for Dependents You are allowed one exemption for each person you can claim as a dependent. Amending your tax return You can claim an exemption for a dependent even if your dependent files a return. Amending your tax return The term “dependent” means: A qualifying child, or A qualifying relative. Amending your tax return Table 3 shows the tests that must be met to be either a qualifying child or qualifying relative, plus the additional requirements for claiming an exemption for a dependent. Amending your tax return For detailed information, see Publication 501. Amending your tax return   Dependent not allowed a personal exemption. Amending your tax return If you can claim an exemption for your dependent, the dependent cannot claim his or her own exemption on his or her own tax return. Amending your tax return This is true even if you do not claim the dependent's exemption on your return. Amending your tax return It is also true if the decedent's exemption on your return is reduced or eliminated under the phaseout rule described under Phaseout of Exemptions, later. Amending your tax return Table 3. Amending your tax return Overview of the Rules for Claiming an Exemption for a Dependent Caution. Amending your tax return This table is only an overview of the rules. Amending your tax return For details, see Publication 501. Amending your tax return • You cannot claim any dependents if you, or your spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer. Amending your tax return • You cannot claim a married person who files a joint return as a dependent unless that joint return is only a claim for refund and there would be no tax liability for either spouse on separate returns. Amending your tax return • You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is a U. Amending your tax return S. Amending your tax return citizen, U. Amending your tax return S. Amending your tax return resident alien, U. Amending your tax return S. Amending your tax return national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico. Amending your tax return 1 • You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is your qualifying child or qualifying relative. Amending your tax return   Tests To Be a Qualifying Child   Tests To Be a Qualifying Relative 1. Amending your tax return     2. Amending your tax return       3. Amending your tax return    4. Amending your tax return    5. Amending your tax return    The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them. Amending your tax return   The child must be (a) under age 19 at the end of the year and younger than you (or your spouse if filing jointly), (b) under age 24 at the end of the year, a student, and younger than you (or your spouse if filing jointly), or (c) any age if permanently and totally disabled. Amending your tax return   The child must have lived with you for more than half of the year. Amending your tax return 2   The child must not have provided more than half of his or her own support for the year. Amending your tax return   The child is not filing a joint return for the year (unless that joint return is filed only as a claim for refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid). Amending your tax return   1. Amending your tax return    2. Amending your tax return       3. Amending your tax return    4. Amending your tax return The person cannot be your qualifying child or the qualifying child of anyone else. Amending your tax return   The person either (a) must be related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you in Publication 501 or (b) must live with you all year as a member of your household 2 (and your relationship must not violate local law). Amending your tax return   The person's gross income for the year must be less than $3,900. Amending your tax return 3   You must provide more than half of the person's total support for the year. Amending your tax return 4 If the child meets the rules to be a qualifying child of more than one person, only one person can actually treat the child as a qualifying child. Amending your tax return See Special Rule for Qualifying Child of More Than One Person , later, to find out which person is the person entitled to claim the child as a qualifying child. Amending your tax return     1 Exception exists for certain adopted children. Amending your tax return 2 Exceptions exist for temporary absences, children who were born or died during the year, children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), and kidnapped children. Amending your tax return 3 Exception exists for persons who are disabled and have income from a sheltered workshop. Amending your tax return 4 Exceptions exist for multiple support agreements, children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), and kidnapped children. Amending your tax return See Publication 501. Amending your tax return You may be entitled to a child tax credit for each qualifying child who was under age 17 at the end of the year if you claimed an exemption for that child. Amending your tax return For more information, see the instructions for your tax return if you file Form 1040A or 1040. Amending your tax return Children of Divorced or Separated Parents (or Parents Who Live Apart) In most cases, because of the residency test (see item 3 under Tests To Be a Qualifying Child in Table 3), a child of divorced or separated parents is the qualifying child of the custodial parent. Amending your tax return However, the child will be treated as the qualifying child of the noncustodial parent if the special rule (discussed next) applies. Amending your tax return Special rule for divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart). Amending your tax return   A child will be treated as the qualifying child of his or her noncustodial parent if all four of the following statements are true. Amending your tax return The parents: Are divorced or legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, Are separated under a written separation agreement, or Lived apart at all times during the last 6 months of the year, whether or not they are or were married. Amending your tax return The child received over half of his or her support for the year from the parents. Amending your tax return The child is in the custody of one or both parents for more than half of the year. Amending your tax return Either of the following applies. Amending your tax return The custodial parent signs a written declaration, discussed later, that he or she will not claim the child as a dependent for the year, and the noncustodial parent attaches this written declaration to his or her return. Amending your tax return (If the decree or agreement went into effect after 1984, see Divorce decree or separation agreement that went into effect after 1984 and before 2009 , later. Amending your tax return A pre-1985 decree of divorce or separate maintenance or written separation agreement that applies to 2013 states that the noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent, the decree or agreement was not changed after 1984 to say the noncustodial parent cannot claim the child as a dependent, and the noncustodial parent provides at least $600 for the child's support during 2013. Amending your tax return See Child support under pre-1985 agreement , later. Amending your tax return Custodial parent and noncustodial parent. Amending your tax return   The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights during the year. Amending your tax return The other parent is the noncustodial parent. Amending your tax return   If the parents divorced or separated during the year and the child lived with both parents before the separation, the custodial parent is the one with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights during the rest of the year. Amending your tax return   A child is treated as living with a parent for a night if the child sleeps: At that parent's home, whether or not the parent is present, or In the company of the parent, when the child does not sleep at a parent's home (for example, the parent and child are on vacation together). Amending your tax return Equal number of nights. Amending your tax return   If the child lived with each parent for an equal number of nights during the year, the custodial parent is the parent with the higher adjusted gross income. Amending your tax return December 31. Amending your tax return   The night of December 31 is treated as part of the year in which it begins. Amending your tax return For example, December 31, 2013, is treated as part of 2013. Amending your tax return Emancipated child. Amending your tax return   If a child is emancipated under state law, the child is treated as not living with either parent. Amending your tax return See Examples 5 and 6 . Amending your tax return Absences. Amending your tax return    If a child was not with either parent on a particular night (because, for example, the child was staying at a friend's house), the child is treated as living with the parent with whom the child normally would have lived for that night, except for the absence. Amending your tax return But if it cannot be determined with which parent the child normally would have lived or if the child would not have lived with either parent that night, the child is treated as not living with either parent that night. Amending your tax return Parent works at night. Amending your tax return   If, due to a parent's nighttime work schedule, a child lives for a greater number of days but not nights with the parent who works at night, that parent is treated as the custodial parent. Amending your tax return On a school day, the child is treated as living at the primary residence registered with the school. Amending your tax return Example 1 – child lived with one parent greater number of nights. Amending your tax return You and your child’s other parent are divorced. Amending your tax return In 2013, your child lived with you 210 nights and with the other parent 156 nights. Amending your tax return You are the custodial parent. Amending your tax return Example 2 – child is away at camp. Amending your tax return In 2013, your daughter lives with each parent for alternate weeks. Amending your tax return In the summer, she spends 6 weeks at summer camp. Amending your tax return During the time she is at camp, she is treated as living with you for 3 weeks and with her other parent, your ex-spouse, for 3 weeks because this is how long she would have lived with each parent if she had not attended summer camp. Amending your tax return Example 3 – child lived same number of days with each parent. Amending your tax return Your son lived with you 180 nights during the year and lived the same number of nights with his other parent, your ex-spouse. Amending your tax return Your adjusted gross income is $40,000. Amending your tax return Your ex-spouse's adjusted gross income is $25,000. Amending your tax return You are treated as your son's custodial parent because you have the higher adjusted gross income. Amending your tax return Example 4 – child is at parent’s home but with other parent. Amending your tax return Your son normally lives with you during the week and with his other parent, your ex-spouse, every other weekend. Amending your tax return You become ill and are hospitalized. Amending your tax return The other parent lives in your home with your son for 10 consecutive days while you are in the hospital. Amending your tax return Your son is treated as living with you during this 10-day period because he was living in your home. Amending your tax return Example 5 – child emancipated in May. Amending your tax return When your son turned age 18 in May 2013, he became emancipated under the law of the state where he lives. Amending your tax return As a result, he is not considered in the custody of his parents for more than half of the year. Amending your tax return The special rule for children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) does not apply. Amending your tax return Example 6 – child emancipated in August. Amending your tax return Your daughter lives with you from January 1, 2013, until May 31, 2013, and lives with her other parent, your ex-spouse, from June 1, 2013, through the end of the year. Amending your tax return She turns 18 and is emancipated under state law on August 1, 2013. Amending your tax return Because she is treated as not living with either parent beginning on August 1, she is treated as living with you the greater number of nights in 2013. Amending your tax return You are the custodial parent. Amending your tax return Written declaration. Amending your tax return    The custodial parent must use either Form 8332 or a similar statement (containing the same information required by the form) to make the written declaration to release the exemption to the noncustodial parent. Amending your tax return The noncustodial parent must attach a copy of the form or statement to his or her tax return. Amending your tax return   The exemption can be released for 1 year, for a number of specified years (for example, alternate years), or for all future years, as specified in the declaration. Amending your tax return Divorce decree or separation agreement that went into effect after 1984 and before 2009. Amending your tax return   If the divorce decree or separation agreement went into effect after 1984 and before 2009, the noncustodial parent may be able to attach certain pages from the decree or agreement instead of Form 8332. Amending your tax return To be able to do this, the decree or agreement must state all three of the following. Amending your tax return The noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent without regard to any condition, such as payment of support. Amending your tax return The custodial parent will not claim the child as a dependent for the year. Amending your tax return The years for which the noncustodial parent, rather than the custodial parent, can claim the child as a dependent. Amending your tax return   The noncustodial parent must attach all of the following pages of the decree or agreement to his or her return. Amending your tax return The cover page (write the other parent's social security number on this page). Amending your tax return The pages that include all of the information identified in items (1) through (3) above. Amending your tax return The signature page with the other parent's signature and the date of the agreement. Amending your tax return Post-2008 divorce decree or separation agreement. Amending your tax return   If the decree or agreement went into effect after 2008, a noncustodial parent claiming an exemption for a child cannot attach pages from a divorce decree or separation agreement instead of Form 8332. Amending your tax return The custodial parent must sign either a Form 8332 or a similar statement. Amending your tax return The only purpose of this statement must be to release the custodial parent's claim to the child's exemption. Amending your tax return The noncustodial parent must attach a copy to his or her return. Amending your tax return The form or statement must release the custodial parent's claim to the child without any conditions. Amending your tax return For example, the release must not depend on the noncustodial parent paying support. Amending your tax return    The noncustodial parent must attach the required information even if it was filed with a return in an earlier year. Amending your tax return Revocation of release of claim to an exemption. Amending your tax return   The custodial parent can revoke a release of claim to exemption that he or she previously released to the noncustodial parent on Form 8332 or a similar statement. Amending your tax return In order for the revocation to be effective for 2013, the custodial parent must have given (or made reasonable efforts to give) written notice of the revocation to the noncustodial parent in 2012 or earlier. Amending your tax return The custodial parent can use Part III of Form 8332 for this purpose and must attach a copy of the revocation to his or her return for each tax year he or she claims the child as a dependent as a result of the revocation. Amending your tax return Remarried parent. Amending your tax return   If you remarry, the support provided by your new spouse is treated as provided by you. Amending your tax return Child support under pre-1985 agreement. Amending your tax return   All child support payments actually received from the noncustodial parent under a pre-1985 agreement are considered used for the support of the child, even if such amounts are not actually spent for child support. Amending your tax return Example. Amending your tax return Under a pre-1985 agreement, the noncustodial parent provides $1,200 for the child's support. Amending your tax return This amount is considered support provided by the noncustodial parent even if the $1,200 was actually spent on things other than support. Amending your tax return Parents who never married. Amending your tax return   The special rule for divorced or separated parents also applies to parents who never married and lived apart at all times during the last 6 months of the year. Amending your tax return Alimony. Amending your tax return   Payments to your spouse that are includible in his or her gross income as either alimony, separate maintenance payments, or similar payments from an estate or trust, are not treated as a payment for the support of a dependent. Amending your tax return Special Rule for Qualifying Child of More Than One Person If your qualifying child is not a qualifying child of anyone else, this special rule does not apply to you and you do not need to read about it. Amending your tax return This is also true if your qualifying child is not a qualifying child of anyone else except your spouse with whom you file a joint return. Amending your tax return If a child is treated as the qualifying child of the noncustodial parent under the Special rule for divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), earlier, see Applying this special rule to divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), later. Amending your tax return Sometimes, a child meets the relationship, age, residency, support, and joint return tests to be a qualifying child of more than one person. Amending your tax return (For a description of these tests, see list items 1 through 5 under Tests To Be a Qualifying Child in Table 3). Amending your tax return Although the child meets the conditions to be a qualifying child of each of these persons, only one person can actually use the child as a qualifying child to take all of the following tax benefits (provided the person is eligible for each benefit). Amending your tax return The exemption for the child. Amending your tax return The child tax credit. Amending your tax return Head of household filing status. Amending your tax return The credit for child and dependent care expenses. Amending your tax return The exclusion from income for dependent care benefits. Amending your tax return The earned income credit. Amending your tax return The other person cannot take any of these benefits based on this qualifying child. Amending your tax return In other words, you and the other person cannot agree to divide these tax benefits between you. Amending your tax return The other person cannot take any of these tax benefits unless he or she has a different qualifying child. Amending your tax return Tiebreaker rules. Amending your tax return   To determine which person can treat the child as a qualifying child to claim these six tax benefits, the following tiebreaker rules apply. Amending your tax return If only one of the persons is the child's parent, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the parent. Amending your tax return If the parents do not file a joint return together but both parents claim the child as a qualifying child, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent with whom the child lived for the longer period of time during the year. Amending your tax return If the child lived with each parent for the same amount of time, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent who had the higher adjusted gross income (AGI) for the year. Amending your tax return If no parent can claim the child as a qualifying child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who had the highest AGI for the year. Amending your tax return If a parent can claim the child as a qualifying child but no parent does so claim the child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who had the highest AGI for the year, but only if that person's AGI is higher than the highest AGI of any of the child's parents who can claim the child. Amending your tax return If the child's parents file a joint return with each other, this rule can be applied by dividing the parents' total AGI evenly between them; see Publication 501 for details. Amending your tax return   Subject to these tiebreaker rules, you and the other person may be able to choose which of you claims the child as a qualifying child. Amending your tax return Example 1—separated parents. Amending your tax return You, your husband, and your 10-year-old son lived together until August 1, 2013, when your husband moved out of the household. Amending your tax return In August and September, your son lived with you. Amending your tax return For the rest of the year, your son lived with your husband, the boy's father. Amending your tax return Your son is a qualifying child of both you and your husband because your son lived with each of you for more than half the year and because he met the relationship, age, support, and joint return tests for both of you. Amending your tax return At the end of the year, you and your husband still were not divorced, legally separated, or separated under a written separation agreement, so the special rule for divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) does not apply. Amending your tax return You and your husband will file separate returns. Amending your tax return Your husband agrees to let you treat your son as a qualifying child. Amending your tax return This means, if your husband does not claim your son as a qualifying child, you can claim your son as a dependent and treat him as a qualifying child for the child tax credit and exclusion for dependent care benefits, if you qualify for each of those tax benefits. Amending your tax return However, you cannot claim head of household filing status because you and your husband did not live apart the last 6 months of the year. Amending your tax return And, as a result of your filing status being married filing separately, you cannot claim the earned income credit or the credit for child and dependent care expenses. Amending your tax return Example 2—separated parents claim same child. Amending your tax return The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that you and your husband both claim your son as a qualifying child. Amending your tax return In this case, only your husband will be allowed to treat your son as a qualifying child. Amending your tax return This is because, during 2013, the boy lived with him longer than with you. Amending your tax return If you claimed an exemption, the child tax credit, or the exclusion for dependent care benefits for your son, the IRS will disallow your claim to all these tax benefits, unless you have another qualifying child. Amending your tax return In addition, because you and your husband did not live apart the last 6 months of the year, your husband cannot claim head of household filing status. Amending your tax return And, as a result of his filing status being married filing separately, he cannot claim the earned income credit or the credit for child and dependent care expenses. Amending your tax return Applying this special rule to divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart). Amending your tax return   If a child is treated as the qualifying child of the noncustodial parent under the special rule for divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) described earlier, only the noncustodial parent can claim an exemption and the child tax credit for the child. Amending your tax return However, the noncustodial parent cannot claim the child as a qualifying child for head of household filing status, the credit for child and dependent care expenses, the exclusion for dependent care benefits, and the earned income credit. Amending your tax return Only the custodial parent, if eligible, or another eligible taxpayer can claim the child as a qualifying child for those four tax benefits. Amending your tax return If the child is the qualifying child of more than one person for those tax benefits, the tiebreaker rules determine which person can treat the child as a qualifying child. Amending your tax return Example 1. Amending your tax return You and your 5-year-old son lived all year with your mother, who paid the entire cost of keeping up the home. Amending your tax return Your AGI is $10,000. Amending your tax return Your mother's AGI is $25,000. Amending your tax return Your son's father does not live with you or your son. Amending your tax return Under the rules for children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), your son is treated as the qualifying child of his father, who can claim an exemption and the child tax credit for the child if he meets all the requirements to do so. Amending your tax return Because of this, you cannot claim an exemption or the child tax credit for your son. Amending your tax return However, your son's father cannot claim your son as a qualifying child for head of household filing status, the credit for child and dependent care expenses, the exclusion for dependent care benefits, or the earned income credit. Amending your tax return You and your mother did not have any child care expenses or dependent care benefits, but the boy is a qualifying child of both you and your mother for head of household filing status and the earned income credit because he meets the relationship, age, residency, support, and joint return tests for both you and your mother. Amending your tax return (Note: The support test does not apply for the earned income credit. Amending your tax return ) However, you agree to let your mother claim your son. Amending your tax return This means she can claim him for head of household filing status and the earned income credit if she qualifies for each and if you do not claim him as a qualifying child for the earned income credit. Amending your tax return (You cannot claim head of household filing status because your mother paid the entire cost of keeping up the home. Amending your tax return ) Example 2. Amending your tax return The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that your AGI is $25,000 and your mother's AGI is $21,000. Amending your tax return Your mother cannot claim your son as a qualifying child for any purpose because her AGI is not higher than yours. Amending your tax return Example 3. Amending your tax return The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that you and your mother both claim your son as a qualifying child for the earned income credit. Amending your tax return Your mother also claims him as a qualifying child for head of household filing status. Amending your tax return You, as the child's parent, will be the only one allowed to claim your son as a qualifying child for the earned income credit. Amending your tax return The IRS will disallow your mother's claim to the earned income credit and head of household filing status unless she has another qualifying child. Amending your tax return Phaseout of Exemptions The amount you can claim as a deduction for exemptions is reduced once your adjusted gross income (AGI) goes above a certain level for your filing status. Amending your tax return These levels are as follows:    Filing Status AGI Level That Reduces Exemption Amount Married filing separately $150,000 Single 250,000 Head of household 275,000 Married filing jointly 300,000 Qualifying widow(er) 300,000 You must reduce the dollar amount of your exemptions by 2% for each $2,500, or part of $2,500 ($1,250 if you are married filing separately), that your AGI exceeds the amount shown above for your filing status. Amending your tax return If your AGI exceeds the amount shown above by more than $122,500 ($61,250 if married filing separately), the amount of your deduction for exemptions is reduced to zero. Amending your tax return If your AGI exceeds the level for your filing status, use the Deduction for Exemptions Worksheet found in the instructions for Form 1040 or Form 1040NR to figure the amount of your deduction for exemptions. Amending your tax return Alimony Alimony is a payment to or for a spouse or former spouse under a divorce or separation instrument. Amending your tax return It does not include voluntary payments that are not made under a divorce or separation instrument. Amending your tax return Alimony is deductible by the payer and must be included in the spouse's or former spouse's income. Amending your tax return Although this discussion is generally written for the payer of the alimony, the recipient can use the information to determine whether an amount received is alimony. Amending your tax return To be alimony, a payment must meet certain requirements. Amending your tax return There are some differences between the requirements that apply to payments under instruments executed after 1984 and to payments under instruments executed before 1985. Amending your tax return The general requirements that apply to payments regardless of when the divorce or separation instrument was executed and the specific requirements that apply to post-1984 instruments (and, in certain cases, some pre-1985 instruments) are discussed in this publication. Amending your tax return See, Instruments Executed Before 1985 , later, if you are looking for information on where to find the specific requirements that apply to pre-1985 instruments. Amending your tax return Spouse or former spouse. Amending your tax return   Unless otherwise stated, the term “spouse” includes former spouse. Amending your tax return Divorce or separation instrument. Amending your tax return   The term “divorce or separation instrument” means: A decree of divorce or separate maintenance or a written instrument incident to that decree, A written separation agreement, or A decree or any type of court order requiring a spouse to make payments for the support or maintenance of the other spouse. Amending your tax return This includes a temporary decree, an interlocutory (not final) decree, and a decree of alimony pendente lite (while awaiting action on the final decree or agreement). Amending your tax return Invalid decree. Amending your tax return   Payments under a divorce decree can be alimony even if the decree's validity is in question. Amending your tax return A divorce decree is valid for tax purposes until a court having proper jurisdiction holds it invalid. Amending your tax return Amended instrument. Amending your tax return   An amendment to a divorce decree may change the nature of your payments. Amending your tax return Amendments are not ordinarily retroactive for federal tax purposes. Amending your tax return However, a retroactive amendment to a divorce decree correcting a clerical error to reflect the original intent of the court will generally be effective retroactively for federal tax purposes. Amending your tax return Example 1. Amending your tax return A court order retroactively corrected a mathematical error under your divorce decree to express the original intent to spread the payments over more than 10 years. Amending your tax return This change also is effective retroactively for federal tax purposes. Amending your tax return Example 2. Amending your tax return Your original divorce decree did not fix any part of the payment as child support. Amending your tax return To reflect the true intention of the court, a court order retroactively corrected the error by designating a part of the payment as child support. Amending your tax return The amended order is effective retroactively for federal tax purposes. Amending your tax return Deducting alimony paid. Amending your tax return   You can deduct alimony you paid, whether or not you itemize deductions on your return. Amending your tax return You must file Form 1040. Amending your tax return You cannot use Form 1040A, 1040EZ, or 1040NR. Amending your tax return Enter the amount of alimony you paid on Form 1040, line 31a. Amending your tax return In the space provided on line 31b, enter your spouse's social security number (SSN) or IRS individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Amending your tax return If you paid alimony to more than one person, enter the SSN or ITIN of one of the recipients. Amending your tax return Show the SSN or ITIN and amount paid to each other recipient on an attached statement. Amending your tax return Enter your total payments on line 31a. Amending your tax return If you do not provide your spouse's SSN or ITIN, you may have to pay a $50 penalty and your deduction may be disallowed. Amending your tax return Reporting alimony received. Amending your tax return   Report alimony you received as income on Form 1040, line 11, or on Schedule NEC (Form 1040NR), line 12. Amending your tax return You cannot use Form 1040A, 1040EZ, or 1040NR-EZ. Amending your tax return    You must give the person who paid the alimony your SSN or ITIN. Amending your tax return If you do not, you may have to pay a $50 penalty. Amending your tax return Withholding on nonresident aliens. Amending your tax return   If you are a U. Amending your tax return S. Amending your tax return citizen or resident alien and you pay alimony to a nonresident alien spouse, you may have to withhold income tax at a rate of 30% on each payment. Amending your tax return However, many tax treaties provide for an exemption from withholding for alimony payments. Amending your tax return For more information, see Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities. Amending your tax return General Rules The following rules apply to alimony regardless of when the divorce or separation instrument was executed. Amending your tax return Payments not alimony. Amending your tax return   Not all payments under a divorce or separation instrument are alimony. Amending your tax return Alimony does not include: Child support, Noncash property settlements, Payments that are your spouse's part of community income, as explained later under Community Property , Payments to keep up the payer's property, or Use of the payer's property. Amending your tax return Example. Amending your tax return Under your written separation agreement, your spouse lives rent-free in a home you own and you must pay the mortgage, real estate taxes, insurance, repairs, and utilities for the home. Amending your tax return Because you own the home and the debts are yours, your payments for the mortgage, real estate taxes, insurance, and repairs are not alimony. Amending your tax return Neither is the value of your spouse's use of the home. Amending your tax return If they otherwise qualify, you can deduct the payments for utilities as alimony. Amending your tax return Your spouse must report them as income. Amending your tax return If you itemize deductions, you can deduct the real estate taxes and, if the home is a qualified home, you can also include the interest on the mortgage in figuring your deductible interest. Amending your tax return However, if your spouse owned the home, see Example 2 under Payments to a third party, later. Amending your tax return If you owned the home jointly with your spouse, see Table 4. Amending your tax return For more information on a qualified home and deductible mortgage interest, see Publication 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction. Amending your tax return Child support. Amending your tax return   To determine whether a payment is child support, see the discussion under Instruments Executed After 1984 , later. Amending your tax return If your divorce or separation agreement was executed before 1985, see the 2004 revision of Publication 504 available at www. Amending your tax return irs. Amending your tax return gov/formspubs. Amending your tax return Underpayment. Amending your tax return   If both alimony and child support payments are called for by your divorce or separation instrument, and you pay less than the total required, the payments apply first to child support and then to alimony. Amending your tax return Example. Amending your tax return Your divorce decree calls for you to pay your former spouse $200 a month ($2,400 ($200 x 12) a year) as child support and $150 a month ($1,800 ($150 x 12) a year) as alimony. Amending your tax return If you pay the full amount of $4,200 ($2,400 + $1,800) during the year, you can deduct $1,800 as alimony and your former spouse must report $1,800 as alimony received. Amending your tax return If you pay only $3,600 during the year, $2,400 is child support. Amending your tax return You can deduct only $1,200 ($3,600 – $2,400) as alimony and your former spouse must report $1,200 as alimony received. Amending your tax return Payments to a third party. Amending your tax return   Cash payments, checks, or money orders to a third party on behalf of your spouse under the terms of your divorce or separation instrument can be alimony, if they otherwise qualify. Amending your tax return These include payments for your spouse's medical expenses, housing costs (rent, utilities, etc. Amending your tax return ), taxes, tuition, etc. Amending your tax return The payments are treated as received by your spouse and then paid to the third party. Amending your tax return Example 1. Amending your tax return Under your divorce decree, you must pay your former spouse's medical and dental expenses. Amending your tax return If the payments otherwise qualify, you can deduct them as alimony on your return. Amending your tax return Your former spouse must report them as alimony received and can include them in figuring deductible medical expenses. Amending your tax return Example 2. Amending your tax return Under your separation agreement, you must pay the real estate taxes, mortgage payments, and insurance premiums on a home owned by your spouse. Amending your tax return If they otherwise qualify, you can deduct the payments as alimony on your return, and your spouse must report them as alimony received. Amending your tax return If itemizing deductions, your spouse can deduct the real estate taxes and, if the home is a qualified home, also include the interest on the mortgage in figuring deductible interest. Amending your tax return However, if you owned the home, see the example under Payments not alimony , earlier. Amending your tax return If you owned the home jointly with your spouse, see Table 4. Amending your tax return Life insurance premiums. Amending your tax return   Alimony includes premiums you must pay under your divorce or separation instrument for insurance on your life to the extent your spouse owns the policy. Amending your tax return Payments for jointly-owned home. Amending your tax return   If your divorce or separation instrument states that you must pay expenses for a home owned by you and your spouse or former spouse, some of your payments may be alimony. Amending your tax return See Table 4. Amending your tax return   However, if your spouse owned the home, see Example 2 under Payments to a third party, earlier. Amending your tax return If you owned the home, see the example under Payments not alimony , earlier. Amending your tax return Table 4. Amending your tax return Expenses for a Jointly-Owned Home Use the table below to find how much of your payment is alimony and how much you can claim as an itemized deduction. Amending your tax return IF you must pay all of the . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return AND your home is . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return THEN you can deduct and your spouse (or former spouse) must include as alimony . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return AND you can claim as an itemized deduction . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return . Amending your tax return   mortgage payments (principal and interest) jointly owned half of the total payments half of the interest as interest expense (if the home is a qualified home). Amending your tax return 1   real estate taxes and home insurance held as tenants in common half of the total payments half of the real estate taxes2 and none of the home insurance. Amending your tax return     held as tenants by the entirety or in joint tenancy none of the payments all of the real estate taxes and none of the home insurance. Amending your tax return 1 Your spouse (or former spouse) can deduct the other half of the interest if the home is a qualified home. Amending your tax return  2 Your spouse (or former spouse) can deduct the other half of the real estate taxes. Amending your tax return Instruments Executed After 1984 The following rules for alimony apply to payments under divorce or separation instruments executed after 1984. Amending your tax return Exception for instruments executed before 1985. Amending your tax return   There are two situations where the rules for instruments executed after 1984 apply to instruments executed before 1985. Amending your tax return A divorce or separation instrument executed before 1985 and then modified after 1984 to specify that the after-1984 rules will apply. Amending your tax return A temporary divorce or separation instrument executed before 1985 and incorporated into, or adopted by, a final decree executed after 1984 that: Changes the amount or period of payment, or Adds or deletes any contingency or condition. Amending your tax return   For the rules for alimony payments under pre-1985 instruments not meeting these exceptions, see the 2004 revision of Publication 504 available at www. Amending your tax return irs. Amending your tax return gov/formspubs. Amending your tax return Example 1. Amending your tax return In November 1984, you and your former spouse executed a written separation agreement. Amending your tax return In February 1985, a decree of divorce was substituted for the written separation agreement. Amending your tax return The decree of divorce did not change the terms for the alimony you pay your former spouse. Amending your tax return The decree of divorce is treated as executed before 1985. Amending your tax return Alimony payments under this decree are not subject to the rules for payments under instruments executed after 1984. Amending your tax return Example 2. Amending your tax return The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that the decree of divorce changed the amount of the alimony. Amending your tax return In this example, the decree of divorce is not treated as executed before 1985. Amending your tax return The alimony payments are subject to the rules for payments under instruments executed after 1984. Amending your tax return Alimony Requirements A payment to or for a spouse under a divorce or separation instrument is alimony if the spouses do not file a joint return with each other and all the following requirements are met. Amending your tax return The payment is in cash. Amending your tax return The instrument does not designate the payment as not alimony. Amending your tax return The spouses are not members of the same household at the time the payments are made. Amending your tax return This requirement applies only if the spouses are legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance. Amending your tax return There is no liability to make any payment (in cash or property) after the death of the recipient spouse. Amending your tax return The payment is not treated as child support. Amending your tax return Each of these requirements is discussed next. Amending your tax return Cash payment requirement. Amending your tax return   Only cash payments, including checks and money orders, qualify as alimony. Amending your tax return The following do not qualify as alimony. Amending your tax return Transfers of services or property (including a debt instrument of a third party or an annuity contract). Amending your tax return Execution of a debt instrument by the payer. Amending your tax return The use of the payer's property. Amending your tax return Payments to a third party. Amending your tax return   Cash payments to a third party under the terms of your divorce or separation instrument can qualify as cash payments to your spouse. Amending your tax return See Payments to a third party under General Rules, earlier. Amending your tax return   Also, cash payments made to a third party at the written request of your spouse may qualify as alimony if all the following requirements are met. Amending your tax return The payments are in lieu of payments of alimony directly to your spouse. Amending your tax return The written request states that both spouses intend the payments to be treated as alimony. Amending your tax return You receive the written request from your spouse before you file your return for the year you made the payments. Amending your tax return Payments designated as not alimony. Amending your tax return   You and your spouse can designate that otherwise qualifying payments are not alimony. Amending your tax return You do this by including a provision in your divorce or separation instrument that states the payments are not deductible as alimony by you and are excludable from your spouse's income. Amending your tax return For this purpose, any instrument (written statement) signed by both of you that makes this designation and that refers to a previous written separation agreement is treated as a written separation agreement (and therefore a divorce or separation instrument). Amending your tax return If you are subject to temporary support orders, the designation must be made in the original or a later temporary support order. Amending your tax return   Your spouse can exclude the payments from income only if he or she attaches a copy of the instrument designating them as not alimony to his or her return. Amending your tax return The copy must be attached each year the designation applies. Amending your tax return Spouses cannot be members of the same household. Amending your tax return   Payments to your spouse while you are members of the same household are not alimony if you are legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance. Amending your tax return A home you formerly shared is considered one household, even if you physically separate yourselves in the home. Amending your tax return   You are not treated as members of the same household if one of you is preparing to leave the household and does leave no later than 1 month after the date of the payment. Amending your tax return Exception. Amending your tax return   If you are not legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, a payment under a written separation agreement, support decree, or other court order may qualify as alimony even if you are members of the same household when the payment is made. Amending your tax return Liability for payments after death of recipient spouse. Amending your tax return   If any part of payments you make must continue to be made for any period after your spouse's death, that part of your payments is not alimony whether made before or after the death. Amending your tax return If all of the payments would continue, then none of the payments made before or after the death are alimony. Amending your tax return   The divorce or separation instrument does not have to expressly state that the payments cease upon the