Does Child Support Count As Income?

Does child support count as income? This is a common question from our reader. The answer is that neither the payer nor the recipient of child support is able to deduct these payments from their taxes. We will detail it below!

Overview Child support vs income
Does child support count as income?

Child support vs income in tax season.

Child support is not taxable as income.

It can be challenging to understand the tax ramifications of a child support agreement on your own. Your understanding of how child support payments are categorized for both the payer and the recipient by the state and federal governments can be improved with the assistance of an expert attorney. 

Child support is not taxable as income

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) states that a recipient of child support is not required to report it as income. To put it another way, the beneficiary gets the money tax-free. Additionally, the payer cannot deduct child support payments. Payments made to a previous spouse for child support cannot be refunded or qualify for tax advantages.


Alimony payments are deductible for the payer and taxable for the receiver under divorce or separation agreements signed on or before December 31, 2018. You must factor in alimony payments received under such an instrument when figuring your gross income to determine whether you must submit a tax return.

However, alimony payments are neither deductible by the payer nor taxable to the recipient under divorce or separation documents issued after December 31, 2018, that under certain instruments performed on or before December 31, 2018 but later changed, if the modification specifically says the repeal of the alimony deduction applies to the modification.

If you received child support payments, do not count them as income when you file your taxes. Otherwise, your child support payments will be taxed by the federal government.

 When filing a tax return, gross income excludes child support. When computing the Earned Income Credit, don’t count child support as earned income. Because child support is a federal obligation, it is not taxable income regardless of where you live or where your divorce occurred.

Is spousal support regarded as compensation?

For reporting purposes, spousal support is different from child support. Following a divorce in San Diego, spousal support payments are taxable as income. 

The recipient must pay taxes on the support payments, and the payer is entitled to a deduction for the cost of providing spousal support. 

This means that during tax season and for other purposes, you should include the amount of spousal support you get in a lump sum or through monthly installments as part of your income.

Are there any further tax benefits?

8332 IRS Form. 

The child can generally only be claimed as a dependent by the parent who has primary custody of them. 

However, if the non-custodial parent has a written and signed statement from the custodial parent granting them that authority, they may declare the child to be their dependent. In this situation, the custodial parent only needs to sign IRS Form 8332, allowing the non-custodial parent to deduct the child from their income. 

When filing their tax return, the non-custodial parent thereafter encloses the completed Form 8332. They are now qualified to apply for both the child tax credit and the dependent exemption.

Tax credit for child and dependent care. 

Tax credit for child and dependent care.

In any tax year, only one parent may claim the child (along with any associated tax benefits). Thus, if it turns out that you may claim your children as dependents, the cost of childcare may also be written off. If your income is less than the benefit threshold, you may be eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.

 In this situation, a percentage of the necessary child care costs, such as daycare, babysitting, camps, and after-school care. This may result in an additional tax deduction.

Why isn’t child support tax deductible?

If you are the Payer, they will be treated exactly as if you had personally paid them. The main difference is that you give your ex money to pay for your child’s expenses rather than making the purchases yourself. They are not deductible since they are regarded as personal expenses for tax purposes.

Commonly Asked Questions

Is child support considered income in Texas?

For the parent who is receiving child support in Texas, it is not taxable income. It is not allowed to be claimed on either your federal tax return or your Texas state tax return.

Does child support count as income in California?

Since it is governed by federal law, child support is not taxable income regardless of where you live or how your divorce was finalized. Do not include child support payments as income when applying for financial aid programs such as CalWORKs or TANF.

Can I claim child support on my tax return?

Child support payments are not tax deductible. If you pay child support, the actual cost is substantially more than the stipulated amount since it is paid with after-tax money. This means you must make a larger gross income to have expendable after-tax money.

Now you know if child support counts as income or not. Censusoutreach hopes this information is useful for you. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions.

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