There’s been some public speculation in Arizona that couples who want to get a divorce should rush to do so before 2019 rolls around. The reason is the GOP tax bill that has now become law. The new law contains an eyebrow-raising provision that will eliminate the tax deduction for alimony and spousal maintenance.
The Truth about the “Divorce Penalty” in the New GOP Tax Bill
The elimination of the tax deduction for alimony will only go into effect on December 31, 2018. That means couples who divorce before this date can still benefit from the tax deduction. In other words, no, you don’t have to rush to get a divorce before 2019. However, you might want to consider getting a divorce before 2019 to still benefit from the deduction. Seeing that most divorces can take a year or longer to complete, if you are a high net worth or high-income spouse with a long-term marriage and you are considering exiting the marriage, 2018 might be the best time to do it to preserve the tax deductibility of any spousal maintenance you are ordered to pay.
Once the new law goes into effect in 2019, taxpayers in Arizona will not be able to deduct any alimony payments from overall taxable income. Alimony recipients, on the other hand, will not need to report the payment as taxable income anymore. Put another way, spousal maintenance payments will simply be cash out from the payor spouse and cash into the recipient spouse with no impact on either party’s tax returns.
How will the Revised Tax Law Affect Your Divorce Settlement?
It’s important to keep in mind that the new law only affects those who get divorced after New Year’s Eve of 2018. If you are currently in the midst of a divorce negotiating alimony, the new tax law does not need to cause any disputes. Critics of the divorce penalty have argued that the new law would put an excessive financial strain on the ex-spouse that pays alimony or child support. However, these concerns should not affect those who plan to finalize their divorces in 2018.
According to a divorce lawyer in Scottsdale, if divorce settlements are renegotiated after the deduction extension period, the new settlements may be allowed under the tax bill to include language that still allows for the alimony deduction.
Divorcing in 2018 and Beyond
As we push into 2018, it is wise to consult with an attorney to carefully phrase the language in divorce settlements currently being negotiated. There could be additional laws in the future that addresses issues with child support if any arises because of the elimination of the spousal maintenance tax deduction.
In any case, it is not wise to rush a divorce settlement because of a single tax clause. Do consult with your attorneys to makes sure the final settlement is exactly what you need. If children are involved in the divorce, their well-being should be prioritized, as it would be by the courts.