Tax Treatment of Alimony in Massachusetts

by | Jul 24, 2023 | Alimony |

Alimony is a payment to or for a Massachusetts spouse or former spouse under a divorce or separation agreement. A divorce or separation instrument is one of the following:

  • A decree of divorce or separate maintenance or a written instrument incident to that decree
  • A written separation agreement
  • A decree or any type of court order requiring a spouse to make payments for the support or maintenance of the other spouse. This includes:
    • Temporary decree
    • Interlocutory decree
    • Decree of alimony

Change to Massachusetts Treatment of Alimony Payments as of January 1, 2022

Alimony Payments

Massachusetts legislation passed in 2022 provides that the Massachusetts personal income tax conforms to the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) in effect on January 1, 2022. Prior to this legislation, the Massachusetts personal income tax conformed to the Code as in effect on January 1, 2005. This updated Code conformity date resulted in Massachusetts picking up many changes to the Code between 2005 and 2022, including changes made to the federal tax treatment of alimony and separate maintenance payments. Effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, alimony and separate maintenance payments are not deductible by the payer and such payments are no longer included in the Massachusetts gross income of the recipient.  Following the federal treatment, these changes apply to payments made pursuant to a divorce or separation instrument executed after December 31, 2018, or under certain instruments executed on or before December 31, 2018, but later modified.

For tax years prior to 2022, Massachusetts conformed to the Code in effect on January 1, 2005, which allowed payers to deduct such payments, and included them in the gross income of the recipient.

Note: Alimony payments are not to be confused with child support payments. Child support payments are neither deductible by the payer nor taxable to the recipient, for both federal and Massachusetts income tax purposes.

Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.

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