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Beware these 5 terrible tax surprises

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The IRS wants a piece of alimony
The IRS wants a piece of alimony | Krit of Studio OMG/Getty Images

The IRS wants a piece of alimony

Ending a marriage is never a happy event. If you got a good settlement, those regular checks from your ex-spouse are taxable.

Alimony, separate maintenance payments and similar compensation from your former spouse are taxable to you in the year you receive them. Child support money, however, is not taxable. If your divorce decree calls for alimony and child support and specifies amounts for each, you owe the IRS only for the alimony payments.

To avoid a big bill in April, make your IRS payments on alimony and other untaxed income via estimated tax filings.

In between these filings, you can park your cash in a high-yielding savings account.

The one good tax surprise here is for the ex who's paying spousal support. Those amounts are tax-deductible.

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