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michael.b  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, April 20, 2021 9:44:54 AM(UTC)
michael.b

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Hello,

I'm wondering if anyone may have some advice for me concerning court ordered benefits. In the Fall of 2019 I submitting a COAP (Court Order Acceptable for Processing) to OPM to split my pension between me and my Ex (50/50). So far, we have received nothing back from OPM to make this happen. We were told there is a 6 month delay in court ordered benefits, but now it is pushing 2 years. I am receiving the full retirement and writing a check to my ex for 1/2, but of course I pay taxes on the whole amount. I have used OPM support at least 6 times over the last year and a half, but keep getting "the issue has been forwarded to the specialist assigned", but I never hear back from anyone....I'm going to have to pay taxes on my ex's share for yet another full year at the rate things are going.

Does anyone know who I might be able to contact to have this issue moved forward? Is OPM totally broken?

Thanks for any advice!
Mike.
ex-military  
#2 Posted : Thursday, April 22, 2021 3:40:48 AM(UTC)
ex-military

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You may want to talk to a tax professional to verify this: Federal pension payments paid to an ex-spouse are considered alimony. Under the new tax laws, alimony is no longer deductible for the payor, nor is it taxable to the payee. In other words, you are going to be on the hook for taxes for the full amount of your pension regardless.

I hope I am wrong.
roger.d  
#3 Posted : Sunday, April 25, 2021 10:58:25 AM(UTC)
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When having issues with any federal agency, your representatives in Congress may get the ball rolling.

Edited by user Sunday, April 25, 2021 12:46:55 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Fat fingers.

Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. --Margaret Thatcher
TheRealOrange  
#4 Posted : Monday, April 26, 2021 2:49:24 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: ex-military Go to Quoted Post
You may want to talk to a tax professional to verify this: Federal pension payments paid to an ex-spouse are considered alimony. Under the new tax laws, alimony is no longer deductible for the payor, nor is it taxable to the payee. In other words, you are going to be on the hook for taxes for the full amount of your pension regardless.

I hope I am wrong.

It will depend on the date of the divorce; on, before or after December 31, 2018. From the IRS:

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, alimony or separate maintenance payments are not deductible from the income of the payer spouse, or includable in the income of the receiving spouse, if made under a divorce or separation agreement executed after Dec. 31, 2018.

This also applies to a divorce or separation agreement executed on or before Dec. 31, 2018, and modified after December 31, 2018, as long as the modification:

* changes the terms of the alimony or separate maintenance payments; and
* states that the alimony or separate maintenance payments are not deductible by the payer spouse or includable in the income of the receiving spouse.

On the other hand, generally alimony or separate maintenance payments are deductible from the income of the payer spouse and includable in the income of the receiving spouse, if made under a divorce or separation agreement executed on or before Dec. 31, 2018, even if the agreement was modified after December 31, 2018, so long as the modification is not one described in the preceding paragraph.
ex-military  
#5 Posted : Monday, April 26, 2021 5:00:54 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: TheRealOrange Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: ex-military Go to Quoted Post
You may want to talk to a tax professional to verify this: Federal pension payments paid to an ex-spouse are considered alimony. Under the new tax laws, alimony is no longer deductible for the payor, nor is it taxable to the payee. In other words, you are going to be on the hook for taxes for the full amount of your pension regardless.

I hope I am wrong.

It will depend on the date of the divorce; on, before or after December 31, 2018. From the IRS:

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, alimony or separate maintenance payments are not deductible from the income of the payer spouse, or includable in the income of the receiving spouse, if made under a divorce or separation agreement executed after Dec. 31, 2018.

This also applies to a divorce or separation agreement executed on or before Dec. 31, 2018, and modified after December 31, 2018, as long as the modification:

* changes the terms of the alimony or separate maintenance payments; and
* states that the alimony or separate maintenance payments are not deductible by the payer spouse or includable in the income of the receiving spouse.

On the other hand, generally alimony or separate maintenance payments are deductible from the income of the payer spouse and includable in the income of the receiving spouse, if made under a divorce or separation agreement executed on or before Dec. 31, 2018, even if the agreement was modified after December 31, 2018, so long as the modification is not one described in the preceding paragraph.


All of that is correct. I read the OP post to say he submitted paperwork in the fall of 2019. Presumably, he didn't sit on this for months after the effective date of the divorce, so his divorce would have been effective in the earlier part of 2019, which means the new tax laws would apply.

Edited by user Monday, April 26, 2021 5:01:45 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

TheRealOrange  
#6 Posted : Monday, April 26, 2021 5:19:36 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: ex-military Go to Quoted Post
All of that is correct. I read the OP post to say he submitted paperwork in the fall of 2019. Presumably, he didn't sit on this for months after the effective date of the divorce, so his divorce would have been effective in the earlier part of 2019, which means the new tax laws would apply.

I thought of that, but it wasn't clear when the divorce was and when the OP retired. The divorce could have been well before 2019, but 2019 was when the retirement occurred, thereby necessitating the paperwork for the COAP and FERS split. Chicken/egg thing. :-) I also thought others might be interested in the general rules.
thanks 1 user thanked TheRealOrange for this useful post.
ex-military on 4/27/2021(UTC)
michael.b  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, April 28, 2021 10:15:29 PM(UTC)
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Sorry it took me a while to get back...and thank you for the feed back! I had not heard of this new IRS rule, and in fact, had not even considered that the 50/50 split in my pension would be considered alimony---you had me shocked for a bit. I talked to some tax professionals and an attorney,and found that a court ordered split (50/50) of retirement assets, including a pension, is not considered alimony. Alimony would be payments that I make to her for spousal support until she can get back on her feet, or whatever the court decides. There was no alimony in our court proceedings....only a 50/50 split of marital assets (including retirement).

In my State, marital assets (assets that are accumulated during the marriage) are divided 50/50 upon divorce. My wife and I came to a mutual agreement about what the split would be on a spreadsheet, and the court looked at it and OK'd it. That included the house, bank accounts, property, and retirement(as I was married throughout my full Federal career, so both TSP and my Federal Pension were split 50/50).

I retired in Oct of 2018, and the official date of separation was March of 2019...the court order didn't happen until August of 2019, and the COAP (called a QRDO outside of Federal Govt.) was then submitted in Sept. 2019 to split the pension checks. OPM is supposed to process the COAP, and split pension payments as is it listed on the document (50/50). At that point, both me and my ex start getting a check from OPM each month, and the income would be reported to the IRS as hers and mine separately.

The problem is, it has been going on 2 years since the COAP was submitted, and the court ordered benefits branch at OPM will not return my calls, emails, or update me on the status (other than it is being processed). In the meantime, I am getting the full pension, and writing a check to my wife for 1/2. It's all kinds off messed up, because now we're wondering when OPM gets around to it, will they try to bill me for 50% of the pension I have gotten since the separation and send her that amount? If they would just talk to us, my ex and i could get a signed and notarized letter from the both of us giving them a start date for the division, and I would just keep paying her out of pocket up to that date.

That was a lot of words...hope it all makes sense. It actually helps me to write it out. To the fine person who mentioned getting help from my reps in congress, that might have to be the next step....i'll have to figure out how to do that though.

Edited by user Wednesday, April 28, 2021 10:21:08 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

10years2retire  
#8 Posted : Sunday, May 16, 2021 3:15:28 AM(UTC)
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If it's been two years of run around on the phone, then I'll bet that there are more people in the same boat due to a death, power struggle, headcount issues, or lack of training in the OPM office that does these things. Your only hope is to get higher ups at OPM aware of the problem by locating your senator or representative on google, call or email their Washington D.C. office and ask them to contact OPM and inquire about why OPM is not doing it's job for you. Squeakiest wheel gets the grease -- squeak louder

Edited by user Sunday, May 16, 2021 3:16:41 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

GWPDA  
#9 Posted : Monday, May 17, 2021 5:33:29 AM(UTC)
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The current (Acting) OPM Administrator's e-mail is Kathleen . [email protected] o p m . g v
The Assistant Inspector General for Investigations is Drew Grimm, 202-606-1200, drew . grim m @ o p m . g v

Some may recall my to-do with my retirement health insurance and OPM earlier this year. It was only resolved by dealing directly with these two folks. OPM is NOT in good shape just now, as the result of the previous four years' worth of tinkering around, personnel issues and training problems. Go to the top. They do respond. (You can, I'm sure figure out how to put those addresses back as they should be.)
michael.b  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, June 8, 2021 4:17:50 PM(UTC)
michael.b

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Thank you both for the info. Still no resolution....former spouse has reached out to our representatives, and I will try the contacts that GWPDA provided. I've also reached out to CPA Dan Jamison (https://fersguide.com), who is apparently the leading national expert in federal employee divorce proceeding to see if he might have advice. Hopefully we don't have to start over from square one.
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