When you get divorced, there are many firsts. Of course, there are the emotional firsts—the first Christmas not spent as a couple, the first wedding anniversary not celebrated, the first family vacation without your ex. But there are also financial firsts such as purchasing your first house alone or buying a car alone. One of the most important is the first tax return filed as a divorced citizen. You may worry how does child support affect tax return? The good news is that in general, it doesn’t affect your tax return.
How Child Support Affect Tax Return
Child support has no tax implication when it comes to stating your income.
If You’re Giving the Support
If you’re the person giving the support, you may wonder if it is a tax deduction. It’s not. Think of child support this way. You’re giving your ex-spouse money to take care of the kids. So, if she’s using child support to buy groceries for the kids, it’s no different than when you were together and she used your income to buy groceries. Just like you couldn’t claim money spent for basic living expenses on your tax return, the same is true for child support.
If You’re Receiving the Support
Those who are receiving the child support will be glad to know that it does not count as income. You will still use your income from your job to complete your tax return, but child support does not show up anywhere on your tax return.
Who Can Claim the Child as a Dependent
While giving or receiving child support does not affect your tax return, what can affect your return is who gets to claim the child as a dependent on the tax return.
Some may want to argue that the person paying child support should be able to claim the child as a dependent on his/her tax return, but that’s not the way it works.
Full Custody or Majority Custody
Typically, the person who the child lives with the majority of the year is the one who has the right to claim the child as a dependent. If your child lives with you 60% of the time and 40% of the time with your ex, you have the right to claim the child as your dependent.
If you split custody, the person with the highest income typically claims the child as a dependent.
Sometimes, the parent who is eligible to claim the child as a dependent can decide not to and let the other parent claim the child. To do this, the eligible parent must fill out Form 8332 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
While filing the first tax return as a divorced citizen can seem complicated, it’s not any more complicated than usual. If you wonder how does child support affect tax return, rest assured that it doesn’t. The only time being divorced may affect your return is considering who gets to claim the child as a dependent. However, the law clearly explains which parent gets that right.