Question: Ethan and Olivia have been divorced since 2017. Ethan owns a house that Olivia lives in. Olivia has no ownership interest in the home. Ethan has been ordered to pay Olivia spousal support. Ethan subtracts from the spousal support the amount paid for the mortgage and real estate taxes and issues Olivia a check for the balance. Can Ethan deduct as alimony the monthly mortgage payment and real estate taxes he pays?
Answer: No, the payments to maintain the home are not considered alimony because Ethan owns the property. Any payments to maintain property owned by the payor spouse and used by the payee spouse (including mortgage payments, real estate taxes and insurance premiums) are not payments on behalf of a spouse even if those payments are made pursuant to the terms of the divorce or separation instrument. [Temp. Reg. 1.71-1T(b), Q&A-6].