This Tax Tip Spotify Podcast and/or WordPress Blog Post is in response to inquiries regarding the federal income tax treatment of Transfers of Property Between Spouses or former spouses in the context of a divorce.
Generally, no gain or loss is recognized by either party on a transfer of property from an individual to a spouse, or a former spouse if the transfer is incident to divorce. When nonrecognition treatment applies under this rule, the spouse who receives the property in the transfer (the transferee spouse) is treated as acquiring the Property by Gift (rather than sale or exchange) and his or her basis in the property is equal to the transferor spouse’s adjusted basis in the property immediately before the transfer.
A transfer of property is treated as incident to divorce if:
A transfer of property is treated as related to the ending of the marriage if the transfer is pursuant to a divorce or separation instrument and the transfer occurs within six years after the date the marriage ends.
The nonrecognition rule does not apply if the transferee spouse is a nonresident alien. The nonrecognition rule also does not apply to a transfer of property in trust to the extent the amount of any liabilities assumed (or liabilities to which the property is subject) exceeds the adjusted basis of the property. The transferee spouse’s adjusted basis in the property must be adjusted to take into account any gain recognized under this exception to the nonrecognition rule.
The tax treatment of a Redemption of Stock depends on whether the transferee spouse is treated under applicable tax law as receiving a constructive distribution when the transferor spouse receives property for the redeemed stock. This may occur, for example, when the transferee spouse is under a primary and unconditional obligation to buy the transferor spouse’s shares. If the transferor spouse’s receipt of property for the redeemed stock is:
(1) Treated as resulting in a Constructive Distribution to the transferee spouse, then the redeemed stock is deemed first to be transferred by the transferor spouse to the transferee spouse, and then transferred by the transferee spouse to the redeeming corporation. Any property the transferor spouse actually receives from the redeeming corporation is deemed first to be transferred by the redeeming corporation to the transferee spouse in redemption of that spouse’s stock, and then transferred by the transferee spouse to the transferor spouse. The nonrecognition rule applies to the deemed transfers between the two spouses. However, it does not apply to the deemed transfers between the transferee spouse and the redeeming corporation.
(2) Not treated as resulting in a constructive distribution to the transferee spouse, then the transferor spouse is treated simply as having received a distribution from the corporation in redemption of stock, and the nonrecognition rule does not apply.
If a divorce or separation instrument or any other valid written agreement between the spouses expressly provides that both spouses intend for the redemption to be treated as resulting in a constructive distribution to the transferee spouse, then the treatment under:
- Above applies no matter what the applicable tax law provides. On the other hand, such an instrument or agreement expressly provides that both spouses intend for the redemption to be treated as a redemption distribution to the transferor spouse, then the treatment under
- Above applies no matter what the applicable tax law provides.
Please call me at your convenience so that we can discuss the rules regarding transfers incident to divorce as they apply to your particular situation.
Please contact the office of Don Fitch Accountancy at (760)567-3110 or Email Don.Fitch@CPA.com if you have any questions or would like additional information.
DON FITCH, CPA
74478 Highway 111 #3
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Toll Free: (877)CPA-Help or (877)272-4357
P.S. My firm is based upon referrals. Please feel free to refer my firm to anyone you know that is looking for a new CPA and/or tax preparer. Thank you in advance.
(Updated 05272021-1 320-585)