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How does the IRS treat child support payments?

You might assume that child support payments are tax deductible. You are forced to give the money to another parent and you are deprived the use and enjoyment of it, why wouldn?t it be deductible? Unfortunately, the IRS disagrees, child support payments are not tax deductible. This post will go over the tax treatment of child support and how you can avoid getting in trouble.

Child support is neither a tax deduction nor is it taxed as income. That means, if you pay child support, it is not a deduction for you. Conversely, if you receive child support, you do not report it as income. This result may seem unfair, but the law treats child support as a replacement for the normal expenses you would have if you had primary custody.

Similarly, the payments you send are technical to the child because it is for the benefit of your child. In reality, you give the money to your ex-partner because children cannot receive child support payments directly. But the law presumes that the money is spent on things that support the child?s care and development. Under this reasoning, the way the law treats child support makes intuitive sense.

If you are engaged in a dispute over child support with you ex-partner, then you may want to speak to an attorney to discuss how best to approach the dispute. Failure to pay child support can result in a finding of delinquent payments and subject you to penalties, interest, or even garnishment of your financial assets and wages. You don?t want that hanging over your head because it can make coming into compliance nearly impossible. A lawyer can go over how to approach these issues and help you come up with a plan.