Definition of Alimony Not Based on Intent of Parties.

The petitioner got divorced and the marital settlement agreement stated that the parties entered into it freely and voluntarily.  However, the agreement designated the divorce-related payments petitioner made to ex-spouse on behalf of child as child support rather than alimony, and court order validated the agreement.  Later, petitioner claimed that the agreement was in error and that payments should have been designated as alimony (deductible).  The court issued a ruling to correct its prior ruling, but IRS disregarded the ruling as controlling for federal tax purposes.  The Tax Court agreed with the IRS on the basis that the agreement was freely entered into by the parties and the divorce court was not making a retroactive judgment to correct a divorce decree that mistakenly failed to reflect the court's true intent at the time the decree was entered.  The Tax Court also applied the substantial understatement penalty.  Baur v. Comr., T.C. Memo. 2014-117.

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