In the past, alimony payments that met the tax-law definition of alimony could always be deducted by the payer for federal income tax purposes, and the recipient of the payments was obligated to report the payments as taxable income. This treatment of alimony will continue for any pre2019 divorce agreements. However, for any new divorces in 2019, these payments will no longer be deductible, and the recipients of affected alimony payments will no longer have to include the payments in their taxable income.
Older divorce decrees can be modified to line up with the new tax laws if both parties agree and modify their divorce agreement in 2019 or later. The taxpayers must include the date of their divorce or separation agreement on Schedule 1 of the 1040, beginning with the 2019 tax returns. The IRS will be cross-referencing the 2019 returns to see if the filer took an alimony deduction in 2018.