By: Joemar Pasco
September 5, 2019
Share This Post
Are Divorce Lawyer Fees Tax Deductible?
IRS Publication 504
In the most general way, all fees that are associated with the legal proceedings associated with a legal divorce are considered personal expenses by the IRS. The IRS covers these tax deductions in their Document 504 which can be accessed here. However, there are certain exemptions to collecting alimony which can be used for tax deductions which are treated below. During your divorce proceedings, you may be wondering are divorce lawyer fees tax deductible, and below we will show how the IRS has answered this question.
Deducting Legal Fees on Tax
According to the IRS Document 504, you can’t deduct “legal fees and court costs” when it comes to getting a divorce. Divorce fees are considered a personal expense. For long and contested divorce cases that require lawyers, going to court, alimony fees, child custody, and its evaluation, the costs can be as much as $15K/person. A couple should choose to settle most of their divorce issues outside of court. In some states, the status of low-income to the court can help to reduce legal court costs in divorce cases. There will only be a necessary time of waiting for the divorce papers to be filed. After the required waiting time has been met by the divorcing couple, there will be no fees to be paid.
Associated Divorce Fees
However, as the IRS reports in their document 504, whether the fees are small or significant, they cannot be reported as a tax write off. Divorce is considered to be a personal matter. Additionally, the charges associated with getting advice from a tax lawyer for a divorce cannot be applied for tax filing. In document 504, the IRS also states other associated costs for a divorce, which may be questioned as to their ability to be used for tax purposes. The costs associated with the advice given to a person from a lawyer regarding their divorce falls under the same category and is seen as a personal expense by the IRS.
The IRS applies the same rule to the legal fees associated with a property settlement, which cannot be used when applying them to taxes. In response to the question whether the legal fees related to the proceeding of a divorce case can be deducted for taxes is universally no, since the IRS sees all related costs as constituting a personal expense by the person deducting expenses for fees. In this report, we have shown why the IRS shows that tax deductions for divorce are considered as personal expenses and answers the question is divorce lawyer fees tax deductible in the negative.
There are specific fees associated with getting alimony payment which fall under certain guidelines set up by the IRS, which they do allow to be used as a tax deduction, but they must show a specific use, and the amount must be specified in the documentation. For example, if a woman who is about to undergo a divorce receives alimony from her soon to be divorced husband, but the husband refuses to pay the alimony costs ordered by the court. The would have to hire a lawyer to represent her in a court order to request the alimony for herself in the court. Those fees can be used as a tax-deductible item for taxes.