The Internal Revenue Service plans to add a question regarding divorce and separation information to Schedule 1 of the Form 1040 next year asking taxpayers who claim a deduction for paying alimony to provide the date of their divorce or separation agreement, according to a new report.
The report, from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, is mainly devoted to assessing the IRS’s overall implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It includes a single recommendation, suggesting the IRS revise Schedule 1 of the 1040 to obtain additional information regarding divorce or separation agreements for tax year 2019 and later.
IRS management agreed with TIGTA’s recommendation and plans to program and use filters to select tax returns for audit to determine if taxpayers are eligible for the deduction for alimony payments, and to revise Form 1040, Schedule 1 to request the date of divorce or separation agreements.
The 2017 tax overhaul eliminated or sharply limited various traditional tax deductions, including the alimony deduction. Only taxpayers who make payments under divorce or separation agreements entered into prior to January 1, 2019, can continue to claim a deduction for payments made, and individuals who receive alimony pursuant to these agreements are supposed to continue to report the payments as income on their tax return.
“The IRS currently only requires the individual claiming an alimony deduction to provide the Taxpayer Identification Number of the individual who received the alimony,” said the report. “Without the date of the alimony agreement, the IRS will be unable to determine whether individuals claiming an alimony deduction are eligible to do so. When we brought this concern to IRS management’s attention, management stated that the IRS’s current plan for determining if the taxpayer is eligible for the alimony deduction claimed after Dec. 31, 2018, is to program filters that evaluate a taxpayer’s filing history with regard to the alimony deduction to determine if alimony was paid prior to TY 2019. IRS management stated that they would use the filters to select tax returns for audit. The volume of tax returns selected will be dependent on available resources and appropriate dollar thresholds.”