In the divorce action at issue, petitioner was neither pursuing alimony from Ms [ ] nor resisting an attempt to interfere with his ongoing business activities.
Petitioner has not established that Ms [ ] claim related to the winding down of [the hedge fund]. Nor has petitioner established that the fees he incurred were “ordinary and necessary” to his trade or business.
NOTE: While this case did not involve alimony, let us point out that the taxation of alimony is changing in 2019. For many years, alimony – as long as the magic tax words were in the agreement – was deductible by the payor and taxable to the recipient. It has been that way for my entire professional career, but that is changing. Beginning in 2019, only grandfathered alimony agreements will be deductible/taxable, with “grandfathered” meaning the alimony agreement was in place by December 31, 2018.
Mind you, this does not mean that there will be no alimony for new divorces. What it does mean is that one will not get a deduction for paying alimony if one divorces in 2019 or later. Conversely, one will not be taxed upon receiving alimony if one divorces in 2019 or later.
The Congressional committee reports accompanying the tax change noted that alimony is frequently paid from a higher-income to a lower -income taxpayer, resulting in a net loss to the Treasury. Changing the tax treatment would allow the Treasury to claw back to the payor’s higher tax rate. Possible, but I suspect it more likely that alimony payments will eventually decrease by approximately 35% - the maximum federal tax rate – as folks adjust to the new law.