Can You Claim Child Support Payment on Taxes

Can you claim child support payment on taxes? This is a common question for divorced parents around tax time. If you make child support payments and are looking for possible tax deductions, you cannot receive a special tax credit or deduction. If you receive child support payments, the payments are non-taxable, but they do not qualify for any specific tax relief.

Understanding Child Support And Alimony
Although non-custodial parents cannot find tax relief for child support payments through deductions, there may be some exceptions. A separated or divorced parent is required to pay the other alimony or family support. Alimony may also include child support. Unlike child support, though, alimony is both tax-deductible and taxable income. In other words, the payer can receive a deduction for the alimony payments, and the payee must report all alimony payments as taxable income.

In most cases, after one parent takes physical custody of a child, the non-custodial parent will be required to make support payments. The court can classify these support payments as either child support or family support. If classified as family support, the payments become taxable.

Claiming The Child
Many separated or divorced parents are unsure of who has the right to claim a child as a dependent. Traditionally speaking, the IRS favors the custodial parent when claiming a child as a dependent. For parents with joint custody, it can be difficult to negotiate. Tax laws plainly state that the parent who provides at least 50% of a child's expenses is the custodial parent. Some parents choose to alternate who receives the tax break each year, to make it fair. For this reason, divorced parents may need to work together at tax time to resolve the situation.

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