Child Tax, Families

Tax Tip: Claiming alimony or child support payments on your tax return

Spousal and child support can be claimed on tax returns. Alimony is always claimable as income for the recipient and as a deduction for the payer, as long as a court order exists that specifies the amount. Child support is only claimable if a court order exists dated before May 1997.

If a court order requires payment of both child and spousal support, child support takes priority. Only the portion of support intended for the spouse is claimable. If the full amount of support has not been paid, actual paid support goes towards child support first, reducing the amount of support claimable.

The support receiver claims eligible support payments on line 128, and the support payer deducts this amount on line 220. Total support — a combination of eligible support and ineligible support — should be claimed on lines 156 and 230 for the receiver and payer respectively.