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Filing your taxes with paper mail can be difficult and it could take weeks for your refund to arrive. IRS e-file is easy, fast and secure. There is no paperwork going to the IRS so tax refunds can be processed in as little as 7 days with direct deposit. As you prepare your taxes online, you can see your tax refund in real time.

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Online EIN: Frequently Asked Questions

If you are unfamiliar with the Online EIN application, you may find this section helpful in answering your questions.

Q. When can I use my Internet EIN to make tax payments or file returns?
A
. This EIN is your permanent number and can be used immediately for most of your business needs, including:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Applying for business licenses
  • Filing a tax return by mail

However, it will take up to two weeks before your EIN becomes part of the IRS's permanent records. You must wait until this occurs before you can:

  • File an electronic return
  • Make an electronic payment
  • Pass an IRS Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) matching program

Q. Sometimes I don't know all the information required on the application. Why do I have to complete the application online when I can send in paper or fax with missing information?
A. When paper or faxed Forms SS-4 are received by the IRS with information missing, additional time is needed to process that application, delaying the issuance of your Employer Identification Number. Applicants can get their EIN much quicker if all the required information is completed.

Q. The legal name of my business includes the symbol for a dollar sign ($). Does the IRS accept symbols as part of a business name?
A.
No. The only characters IRS systems can accept in a business name are: 1) alpha (A-Z), 2) numeric (0-9), 3) hyphen (-), and 4) ampersand (&). If the legal name of your business includes anything other than those listed above, you will need to decide how best to enter your business name into the online EIN application. Following are some suggestions:

If your legal name contains: Then:
A symbol or character, such as a “plus” symbol (+), “at” symbol (@), or a period (.) 1) Spell out the symbol or 2) drop the symbol and leave a space. Example: If the legal name of your business is Jones.Com, then input it as Jones Dot Com or Jones Com
Backward (\) or forward (/) slash Substitute a hyphen (-)
Apostrophe (') Drop the apostrophe and do not leave a space.

Q. What do I do if my entire address won't fit on your address line on the Internet application?
A
. IRS systems only allow 35 characters on the street address line. If your address does not fit in 35 characters, please make sure you provide the most essential address information (i.e., apartment numbers, suite numbers, etc). We’ll then validate the address you’ve provided with the United States Postal Service’s database and offer you an opportunity to make any changes to the address, if necessary.

Q. Are any entity types excluded from applying for an EIN over the Internet?
A
.  No. All customers whose principal business, office or agency, or legal residence (in the case of an individual) is located in the United States or in one of the U.S. Territories can apply for an EIN online. The principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, trustor etc. must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (Social Security Number, Employer Identification Number, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) in order to use the online application.

If you were incorporated outside of the United States or the U.S. territories, you cannot apply for an EIN online. Please call us at (267) 941-1099 (this is not a toll free number) between the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Q. What if I forget the number I obtained over the Internet?
A.
IRS records will be updated immediately with your EIN. Simply call (800) 829-4933 and select EIN from the list of options. Once connected with an IRS employee, tell the assistor you received an EIN from the Internet but can't remember it. The IRS employee will ask the necessary disclosure and security questions prior to providing the number.

Q. Do all the EINs obtained on the Internet start with 20, 26, 27, 45 or 46?
A.
Yes. The unique prefixes (20, 26, 27, 45 or 46) identify the EIN as a number issued via the Internet. Note: We cannot process your application online if the responsible party is an entity with an EIN previously obtained through the Internet. Please use one of our other methods to apply. See How to Apply for an EIN. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Q. Do I need a certain computer or software to obtain an EIN over the Internet?
A
. No. You can go to IRS.gov through any computer that has Internet access. You should have a current Internet browser, which will allow you to view and complete the application process. However, you will need Adobe Reader installed if you would like to receive a confirmation letter online.

Q. Now that I have my EIN, when can I use it to make tax deposits?
A.
Based on the information you submit on your application or if you indicate you will have employees, you will automatically be enrolled in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System—EFTPS—so you can make all your deposits online or by phone. Within a few days you will receive by mail your EFTPS enrollment confirmation, as well as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) and complete instructions for using EFTPS. You will need to wait until you receive your EFTPS information in the mail before you can make a payment electronically. Once you receive your EFTPS Confirmation Package, you can begin making EFTPS payments.

EFTPS is a service provided free by the U.S. Department of the Treasury that allows individual and business taxpayers to initiate all Federal tax payments using the Internet or phone. You can input your tax payments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using a secure government website or an automated voice response phone system. Refer to Publication 4275, EFTPS Express Enrollment for New Businesses for additional information about EFTPS.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 03-Jan-2014

The Irs Free File Tax Return

Irs free file tax return 18. Irs free file tax return   Alimony Table of Contents IntroductionSpouse or former spouse. Irs free file tax return Divorce or separation instrument. Irs free file tax return Useful Items - You may want to see: General RulesMortgage payments. Irs free file tax return Taxes and insurance. Irs free file tax return Other payments to a third party. Irs free file tax return Instruments Executed After 1984Payments to a third party. Irs free file tax return Exception. Irs free file tax return Substitute payments. Irs free file tax return Specifically designated as child support. Irs free file tax return Contingency relating to your child. Irs free file tax return Clearly associated with a contingency. Irs free file tax return How To Deduct Alimony Paid How To Report Alimony Received Recapture Rule Introduction This chapter discusses the rules that apply if you pay or receive alimony. Irs free file tax return It covers the following topics. Irs free file tax return What payments are alimony. Irs free file tax return What payments are not alimony, such as child support. Irs free file tax return How to deduct alimony you paid. Irs free file tax return How to report alimony you received as income. Irs free file tax return Whether you must recapture the tax benefits of alimony. Irs free file tax return Recapture means adding back in your income all or part of a deduction you took in a prior year. Irs free file tax return Alimony is a payment to or for a spouse or former spouse under a divorce or separation instrument. Irs free file tax return It does not include voluntary payments that are not made under a divorce or separation instrument. Irs free file tax return Alimony is deductible by the payer and must be included in the spouse's or former spouse's income. Irs free file tax return Although this chapter is generally written for the payer of the alimony, the recipient can use the information to determine whether an amount received is alimony. Irs free file tax return To be alimony, a payment must meet certain requirements. Irs free file tax return Different requirements generally apply to payments under instruments executed after 1984 and to payments under instruments executed before 1985. Irs free file tax return This chapter discusses the rules for payments under instruments executed after 1984. Irs free file tax return If you need the rules for payments under pre-1985 instruments, get and keep a copy of the 2004 version of Publication 504. Irs free file tax return That was the last year the information on pre-1985 instruments was included in Publication 504. Irs free file tax return Use Table 18-1 in this chapter as a guide to determine whether certain payments are considered alimony. Irs free file tax return Definitions. Irs free file tax return   The following definitions apply throughout this chapter. Irs free file tax return Spouse or former spouse. Irs free file tax return   Unless otherwise stated, the term “spouse” includes former spouse. Irs free file tax return Divorce or separation instrument. Irs free file 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. Irs free file 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). Irs free file tax return Useful Items - You may want to see: Publication 504 Divorced or Separated Individuals General Rules The following rules apply to alimony regardless of when the divorce or separation instrument was executed. Irs free file tax return Payments not alimony. Irs free file tax return   Not all payments under a divorce or separation instrument are alimony. Irs free file tax return Alimony does not include: Child support, Noncash property settlements, Payments that are your spouse's part of community income, as explained under Community Property in Publication 504, Payments to keep up the payer's property, or Use of the payer's property. Irs free file tax return Payments to a third party. Irs free file 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. Irs free file tax return These include payments for your spouse's medical expenses, housing costs (rent, utilities, etc. Irs free file tax return ), taxes, tuition, etc. Irs free file tax return The payments are treated as received by your spouse and then paid to the third party. Irs free file tax return Life insurance premiums. Irs free file 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. Irs free file tax return Payments for jointly-owned home. Irs free file tax return   If your divorce or separation instrument states that you must pay expenses for a home owned by you and your spouse, some of your payments may be alimony. Irs free file tax return Mortgage payments. Irs free file tax return   If you must pay all the mortgage payments (principal and interest) on a jointly-owned home, and they otherwise qualify as alimony, you can deduct one-half of the total payments as alimony. Irs free file tax return If you itemize deductions and the home is a qualified home, you can claim one-half of the interest in figuring your deductible interest. Irs free file tax return Your spouse must report one-half of the payments as alimony received. Irs free file tax return If your spouse itemizes deductions and the home is a qualified home, he or she can claim one-half of the interest on the mortgage in figuring deductible interest. Irs free file tax return Taxes and insurance. Irs free file tax return   If you must pay all the real estate taxes or insurance on a home held as tenants in common, you can deduct one-half of these payments as alimony. Irs free file tax return Your spouse must report one-half of these payments as alimony received. Irs free file tax return If you and your spouse itemize deductions, you can each claim one-half of the real estate taxes and none of the home insurance. Irs free file tax return    If your home is held as tenants by the entirety or joint tenants, none of your payments for taxes or insurance are alimony. Irs free file tax return But if you itemize deductions, you can claim all of the real estate taxes and none of the home insurance. Irs free file tax return Other payments to a third party. Irs free file tax return   If you made other third-party payments, see Publication 504 to see whether any part of the payments qualifies as alimony. Irs free file tax return Instruments Executed After 1984 The following rules for alimony apply to payments under divorce or separation instruments executed after 1984. Irs free file tax return Exception for instruments executed before 1985. Irs free file tax return   There are two situations where the rules for instruments executed after 1984 apply to instruments executed before 1985. Irs free file tax return A divorce or separation instrument executed before 1985 and then modified after 1984 to specify that the after-1984 rules will apply. Irs free file 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. Irs free file tax return   For the rules for alimony payments under pre-1985 instruments not meeting these exceptions, get the 2004 version of Publication 504 at www. Irs free file tax return irs. Irs free file tax return gov/pub504. Irs free file tax return Example 1. Irs free file tax return In November 1984, you and your former spouse executed a written separation agreement. Irs free file tax return In February 1985, a decree of divorce was substituted for the written separation agreement. Irs free file tax return The decree of divorce did not change the terms for the alimony you pay your former spouse. Irs free file tax return The decree of divorce is treated as executed before 1985. Irs free file tax return Alimony payments under this decree are not subject to the rules for payments under instruments executed after 1984. Irs free file tax return Example 2. Irs free file tax return Assume the same facts as in Example 1 except that the decree of divorce changed the amount of the alimony. Irs free file tax return In this example, the decree of divorce is not treated as executed before 1985. Irs free file tax return The alimony payments are subject to the rules for payments under instruments executed after 1984. Irs free file tax return Alimony requirements. Irs free file tax return   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. Irs free file tax return The payment is in cash. Irs free file tax return The instrument does not designate the payment as not alimony. Irs free file tax return Spouses legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance are not members of the same household. Irs free file tax return There is no liability to make any payment (in cash or property) after the death of the recipient spouse. Irs free file tax return The payment is not treated as child support. Irs free file tax return Each of these requirements is discussed below. Irs free file tax return Cash payment requirement. Irs free file tax return   Only cash payments, including checks and money orders, qualify as alimony. Irs free file tax return The following do not qualify as alimony. Irs free file tax return Transfers of services or property (including a debt instrument of a third party or an annuity contract). Irs free file tax return Execution of a debt instrument by the payer. Irs free file tax return The use of the payer's property. Irs free file tax return Payments to a third party. Irs free file 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. Irs free file tax return See Payments to a third party under General Rules, earlier. Irs free file 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. Irs free file tax return The payments are in lieu of payments of alimony directly to your spouse. Irs free file tax return The written request states that both spouses intend the payments to be treated as alimony. Irs free file tax return You receive the written request from your spouse before you file your return for the year you made the payments. Irs free file tax return Payments designated as not alimony. Irs free file tax return   You and your spouse can designate that otherwise qualifying payments are not alimony. Irs free file 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. Irs free file 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). Irs free file tax return If you are subject to temporary support orders, the designation must be made in the original or a later temporary support order. Irs free file 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. Irs free file tax return The copy must be attached each year the designation applies. Irs free file tax return Spouses cannot be members of the same household. Irs free file 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. Irs free file tax return A home you formerly shared is considered one household, even if you physically separate yourselves in the home. Irs free file 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. Irs free file tax return Exception. Irs free file 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. Irs free file tax return Table 18-1. Irs free file tax return Alimony Requirements (Instruments Executed After 1984) Payments ARE alimony if all of the following are true: Payments are NOT alimony if any of the following are true: Payments are required by a divorce or separation instrument. Irs free file tax return Payments are not required by a divorce or separation instrument. Irs free file tax return Payer and recipient spouse do not file a joint return with each other. Irs free file tax return Payer and recipient spouse file a joint return with each other. Irs free file tax return Payment is in cash (including checks or money orders). Irs free file tax return Payment is: Not in cash, A noncash property settlement, Spouse's part of community income, or To keep up the payer's property. Irs free file tax return Payment is not designated in the instrument as not alimony. Irs free file tax return Payment is designated in the instrument as not alimony. Irs free file tax return Spouses legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance are not members of the same household. Irs free file tax return Spouses legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance are members of the same household. Irs free file tax return Payments are not required after death of the recipient spouse. Irs free file tax return Payments are required after death of the recipient spouse. Irs free file tax return Payment is not treated as child support. Irs free file tax return Payment is treated as child support. Irs free file tax return These payments are deductible by the payer and includible in income by the recipient. Irs free file tax return These payments are neither deductible by the payer nor includible in income by the recipient. Irs free file tax return Liability for payments after death of recipient spouse. Irs free file 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. Irs free file tax return If all of the payments would continue, then none of the payments made before or after the death are alimony. Irs free file tax return   The divorce or separation instrument does not have to expressly state that the payments cease upon the death of your spouse if, for example, the liability for continued payments would end under state law. Irs free file tax return Example. Irs free file tax return You must pay your former spouse $10,000 in cash each year for 10 years. Irs free file tax return Your divorce decree states that the payments will end upon your former spouse's death. Irs free file tax return You must also pay your former spouse or your former spouse's estate $20,000 in cash each year for 10 years. Irs free file tax return The death of your spouse would not terminate these payments under state law. Irs free file tax return The $10,000 annual payments may qualify as alimony. Irs free file tax return The $20,000 annual payments that do not end upon your former spouse's death are not alimony. Irs free file tax return Substitute payments. Irs free file tax return   If you must make any payments in cash or property after your spouse's death as a substitute for continuing otherwise qualifying payments before the death, the otherwise qualifying payments are not alimony. Irs free file tax return To the extent that your payments begin, accelerate, or increase because of the death of your spouse, otherwise qualifying payments you made may be treated as payments that were not alimony. Irs free file tax return Whether or not such payments will be treated as not alimony depends on all the facts and circumstances. Irs free file tax return Example 1. Irs free file tax return Under your divorce decree, you must pay your former spouse $30,000 annually. Irs free file tax return The payments will stop at the end of 6 years or upon your former spouse's death, if earlier. Irs free file tax return Your former spouse has custody of your minor children. Irs free file tax return The decree provides that if any child is still a minor at your spouse's death, you must pay $10,000 annually to a trust until the youngest child reaches the age of majority. Irs free file tax return The trust income and corpus (principal) are to be used for your children's benefit. Irs free file tax return These facts indicate that the payments to be made after your former spouse's death are a substitute for $10,000 of the $30,000 annual payments. Irs free file tax return Of each of the $30,000 annual payments, $10,000 is not alimony. Irs free file tax return Example 2. Irs free file tax return Under your divorce decree, you must pay your former spouse $30,000 annually. Irs free file tax return The payments will stop at the end of 15 years or upon your former spouse's death, if earlier. Irs free file tax return The decree provides that if your former spouse dies before the end of the 15-year period, you must pay the estate the difference between $450,000 ($30,000 × 15) and the total amount paid up to that time. Irs free file tax return For example, if your spouse dies at the end of the tenth year, you must pay the estate $150,000 ($450,000 − $300,000). Irs free file tax return These facts indicate that the lump-sum payment to be made after your former spouse's death is a substitute for the full amount of the $30,000 annual payments. Irs free file tax return None of the annual payments are alimony. Irs free file tax return The result would be the same if the payment required at death were to be discounted by an appropriate interest factor to account for the prepayment. Irs free file tax return Child support. Irs free file tax return   A payment that is specifically designated as child support or treated as specifically designated as child support under your divorce or separation instrument is not alimony. Irs free file tax return The amount of child support may vary over time. Irs free file tax return Child support payments are not deductible by the payer and are not taxable to the recipient. Irs free file tax return Specifically designated as child support. Irs free file tax return   A payment will be treated as specifically designated as child support to the extent that the payment is reduced either: On the happening of a contingency relating to your child, or At a time that can be clearly associated with the contingency. Irs free file tax return A payment may be treated as specifically designated as child support even if other separate payments are specifically designated as child support. Irs free file tax return Contingency relating to your child. Irs free file tax return   A contingency relates to your child if it depends on any event relating to that child. Irs free file tax return It does not matter whether the event is certain or likely to occur. Irs free file tax return Events relating to your child include the child's: Becoming employed, Dying, Leaving the household, Leaving school, Marrying, or Reaching a specified age or income level. Irs free file tax return Clearly associated with a contingency. Irs free file tax return   Payments that would otherwise qualify as alimony are presumed to be reduced at a time clearly associated with the happening of a contingency relating to your child only in the following situations. Irs free file tax return The payments are to be reduced not more than 6 months before or after the date the child will reach 18, 21, or local age of majority. Irs free file tax return The payments are to be reduced on two or more occasions that occur not more than 1 year before or after a different one of your children reaches a certain age from 18 to 24. Irs free file tax return This certain age must be the same for each child, but need not be a whole number of years. Irs free file tax return In all other situations, reductions in payments are not treated as clearly associated with the happening of a contingency relating to your child. Irs free file tax return   Either you or the IRS can overcome the presumption in the two situations above. Irs free file tax return This is done by showing that the time at which the payments are to be reduced was determined independently of any contingencies relating to your children. Irs free file tax return For example, if you can show that the period of alimony payments is customary in the local jurisdiction, such as a period equal to one-half of the duration of the marriage, you can overcome the presumption and may be able to treat the amount as alimony. Irs free file tax return How To Deduct Alimony Paid You can deduct alimony you paid, whether or not you itemize deductions on your return. Irs free file tax return You must file Form 1040. Irs free file tax return You cannot use Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ. Irs free file tax return Enter the amount of alimony you paid on Form 1040, line 31a. Irs free file tax return In the space provided on line 31b, enter your spouse's social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Irs free file tax return If you paid alimony to more than one person, enter the SSN or ITIN of one of the recipients. Irs free file tax return Show the SSN or ITIN and amount paid to each other recipient on an attached statement. Irs free file tax return Enter your total payments on line 31a. Irs free file tax return You must provide your spouse's SSN or ITIN. Irs free file tax return If you do not, you may have to pay a $50 penalty and your deduction may be disallowed. Irs free file tax return For more information on SSNs and ITINs, see Social Security Number (SSN) in chapter 1. Irs free file tax return How To Report Alimony Received Report alimony you received as income on Form 1040, line 11. Irs free file tax return You cannot use Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ. Irs free file tax return You must give the person who paid the alimony your SSN or ITIN. Irs free file tax return If you do not, you may have to pay a $50 penalty. Irs free file tax return Recapture Rule If your alimony payments decrease or end during the first 3 calendar years, you may be subject to the recapture rule. Irs free file tax return If you are subject to this rule, you have to include in income in the third year part of the alimony payments you previously deducted. Irs free file tax return Your spouse can deduct in the third year part of the alimony payments he or she previously included in income. Irs free file tax return The 3-year period starts with the first calendar year you make a payment qualifying as alimony under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance or a written separation agreement. Irs free file tax return Do not include any time in which payments were being made under temporary support orders. Irs free file tax return The second and third years are the next 2 calendar years, whether or not payments are made during those years. Irs free file tax return The reasons for a reduction or end of alimony payments that can require a recapture include: A change in your divorce or separation instrument, A failure to make timely payments, A reduction in your ability to provide support, or A reduction in your spouse's support needs. Irs free file tax return When to apply the recapture rule. Irs free file tax return   You are subject to the recapture rule in the third year if the alimony you pay in the third year decreases by more than $15,000 from the second year or the alimony you pay in the second and third years decreases significantly from the alimony you pay in the first year. Irs free file tax return   When you figure a decrease in alimony, do not include the following amounts. Irs free file tax return Payments made under a temporary support order. Irs free file tax return Payments required over a period of at least 3 calendar years that vary because they are a fixed part of your income from a business or property, or from compensation for employment or self-employment. Irs free file tax return Payments that decrease because of the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the spouse receiving the payments before the end of the third year. Irs free file tax return Figuring the recapture. Irs free file tax return   You can use Worksheet 1 in Publication 504 to figure recaptured alimony. Irs free file tax return Including the recapture in income. Irs free file tax return   If you must include a recapture amount in income, show it on Form 1040, line 11 (“Alimony received”). Irs free file tax return Cross out “received” and enter “recapture. Irs free file tax return ” On the dotted line next to the amount, enter your spouse's last name and SSN or ITIN. Irs free file tax return Deducting the recapture. Irs free file tax return   If you can deduct a recapture amount, show it on Form 1040, line 31a (“Alimony paid”). Irs free file tax return Cross out “paid” and enter “recapture. Irs free file tax return ” In the space provided, enter your spouse's SSN or ITIN. Irs free file tax return Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications