Can I Write Off My Child Support Payments On My Taxes?


With tax season winding down, many still preparing returns consider taking every deduction and credit legally possible to minimize their tax liability. Those who are divorced may wonder about their situation and what tax benefits are available to them, particularly concerning the tax implications of child support. 

Child support payments are generally not taxable for the parent who receives them, nor are they tax-deductible for the parent who pays them. This means that the parent who receives child support payments does not have to include them as income on their tax return, and the parent who pays child support cannot write them off as a tax deduction on their return.

It's important to note that the tax laws regarding child support can vary depending on your location, so it's always a good idea to check with a tax professional or refer to the guidelines provided by your local tax authority. Likewise, it's important to keep accurate records of your child support payments in case of any disputes or questions regarding your taxes.

Is Child Support Considered Taxable Income?

Child support is considered tax neutral, meaning these payments are not taxable to the recipient. Therefore, recipients do not need to include these payments on their tax returns. This is because the IRS considers child support payments as a form of financial support for the child, rather than income for the parent.

Can I Deduct Child Support Payments on My Taxes?

Unfortunately, for those paying child support, the IRS does not allow deductions of those payments from their income. This means that you cannot claim them as a deduction on your federal income tax return or on your state income tax return.

The reason for there to be no deductions for child support payments can be explained in an example. Say, for instance, that an individual decided to buy his/her child a gift at the mall. The giving of that gift is not written off on his/her individual income tax return, and the gift itself is not considered taxable income by the recipient. The IRS views child support payments in a similar light.

Child support payments are considered a personal expense, rather than a business expense. According to the tax code, personal expenses are generally not tax-deductible, even if they are necessary or important for the well-being of your family.

The IRS considers child support payments to be a legal obligation that a parent has to support their child, rather than a voluntary expense that is eligible for tax deductions. Therefore, they cannot be claimed as a deduction on your federal or state income tax return.

It's important to note that this rule applies to child support payments specifically, and does not apply to other types of support payments, such as spousal support or alimony payments. These payments may be tax-deductible for the paying spouse under certain circumstances, and you should consult a tax professional for guidance on your specific situation.

Are There Deductions Available At All?

One may claim the child as a dependent, depending on the custody agreement. However, this arrangement depends on who is the custodial parent. The IRS allows one parent to claim the child in question as a dependent on a tax return, but they assume that the parent will be the custodial parent. If the non-custodial parent wishes to claim the child on his/her return, then the custodial parent will have to give written permission to be passed along with the non-custodial parent’s tax return.

In addition, the IRS allows alimony payments to be deducted by both the payer and recipient, but this only applies to divorces that occurred on or before December 31, 2018. Anyone who divorced after this date is not allowed to deduct alimony payments.

Seeking Modification

If you are concerned about your child support amounts and want to seek a lower payment amount, the team at Law Offices Of Mark M. Childress can help you understand your options.

Call our team at (817) 497-8148 to speak with an expert about your situation.

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