If you are a parent and have been ordered by a court of law to pay, or receive, child support – you may have a long list of questions. If you have already reached the point of having child support established, then you must have gone through the court process from the initial calculation of support, to obtaining the court order, to making the payments. In this blog we will be concentrating on child support payments and their direct relation to taxes, i.e., is child support considered taxable income?
Is child support considered taxable income?
The straight forward answer – no. Child support payments are not subject to tax. “Child support payments are not taxable to the recipient (and not deductible by the payer.)”** When filing a tax return, you do not need to include any child support payments received, either. The main reason for it not being included as taxable income, is that it is not considered earned income in the first place.** It is for the sole benefit of the child, and not an extra income for the parent.
Is child support tax deductible?
Again, the answer, is no. Child support payments are not deductible, by either party, the payer or the recipient. As far as claiming the child as a dependent, there are specific rules to be followed and criteria to be met for a qualifying child, of either the custodial or non-custodial parent.** (Quick reference: the custodial parent is the term for the parent with whom the child lives with, for the longer number of nights during the year.)
Continuing the payments:
It is vital to remember the burden of paying child support always falls on the payer (or typically, the non-custodial parent) not the recipient. If your child support is ordered to be automatically withheld from a paycheck, or if it has been ordered to be paid directly through a county clerk – it is always up to you to make sure the payments are being correctly withheld and paid, fully and timely. Should the payer fall behind or altogether cease the child support payments, without an approved court order of terminating child support, there could be severe repercussions from the courts.
Supporting your child:
Child support payments are for the benefit of the child, or children, involved. Child support payments are not for additional income of the parents or spousal support, they are solely for the kids. If either parent wishes to modify the payments, or if one party has had a drastic change in income, they may always file a motion to modify child support into the court and have a judge revisit the case. Again, It is key to remember that child support payments should not be delayed or stopped or changed for any reason, unless there is a new court order signed and issued by a judge. For instance, even if one parent should find themselves in the midst of another legal matter, such as a bankruptcy case – the child support payments cannot be stopped or even discharged in this way.
Contacting a qualified attorney:
If you or someone you know is going through family law court for a child support case, and you wish to consult an experienced family law attorney, you can turn to the Law Offices of Eugene Mogilevsky, LLC. If you would like to schedule a consultation, you can contact our office online by submitting a Contact Form at Contact Us | The Law Offices of Eugene Mogilevsky (egmlegal.com) or by directly calling our office at (317) 743-7958. Our attorneys practice a variety of different laws as well, from immigration law and family law, to criminal law and litigation, probate, estates, wills, and more!
Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not to be taken as legal advice in any capacity. Reading this blog does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship.
**Useful links, references and in-text citations:
“Alimony, Child Support, Court Awards, Damages 1” IRS, 27 Oct 2023, https://www.irs.gov/faqs/interest-dividends-other-types-of-income/alimony-child-support-court-awards-damages/alimony-child-support-court-awards-damages-1.
“Dependents-6” IRS, 18 Oct 2023, https://www.irs.gov/faqs/filing-requirements-status-dependents/dependents/dependents-6.
“Taxable & Nontaxable Income” IRS, 15 Jun 2023, https://www.irs.gov/faqs/earned-income-tax-credit/taxable-nontaxable-income/taxable-nontaxable-income.
“Non-Custodial Parent FAQ” Indiana Department of Child Services, https://www.in.gov/dcs/child-support/faqs/non-custodial-parent-ncp-faqs/#What_happens_if_I_filed_a_joint_federal_return_with_my_current_spouse.
For more tax return specific information, please utilize the links provided or contact the appropriate agencies directly!