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Is Child Support Tax Deductible?

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 15-Nov-2016

Let's face it, raising a family is expensive. When children are young, the cost of healthcare, daycare, formula, diapers, and wipes adds up fast. As the children get older, they enroll in activities like the Scouts, soccer, dance, and cheer, karate, or music lessons.

Once they hit the sixth grade (or even earlier), they want the latest Nike or Converse shoes and smartphones. It can be hard for parents to keep up with all of the expenses of raising children and lawmakers are aware of that. After all, most of them are parents themselves.

If you're getting a divorce, surely you're thinking about all of your expenses as a single person and a parent. Of course, you're going to need every tax break you can get, whether you are the primary custodial parent or the noncustodial parent.

Are any tax breaks available to me?

Noncustodial parents generally bring up two questions about child support: Can the paying parent deduct their child support payments? If not, can the paying parent claim the dependency exemption for their children when tax time arrives?

Unfortunately, child support is NOT tax deductible for the paying parent, nor does the receiving parent count it as taxable income. Since you cannot deduct the child support payments that you make, can you at least claim your child as a dependent on your taxes?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, it's usually the custodial parent who claims the child as a dependent. For income tax purposes, the custodial parent is the one that the child lived with for the greater part of the year.

Just because you are the noncustodial parent, that does not mean that it's impossible for you to claim the dependency exemption for your children; there are exceptions that may apply.

If certain requirements are met and you are able to claim the dependency exemption, then the custodial parent would need to sign a Form 8332, Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent and you, the noncustodial parent, would have to attach the signed form to your tax returns.

When getting a divorce, spouses tend to have questions about how they will be filing their taxes differently. To get your questions answered, contact our Pennsylvania no-fault divorce attorneys.