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Family law: Are child support payments tax deductible?

Parents who are divorcing have many things to work out. One of those issues is who will be paying child support. These kinds of issues fall under family law in Alberta and the payor of child support may be wondering whether he or she can claim those payments on their income tax returns. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not allow for the inclusion of child support payments as deductions for the payor, nor as income for the payee.

Prior to May 1997, child support payments were deductible for the payor and regarded as taxable for the payee. There are some conditions, however, that green stamp court orders made before the date that changed the rules. A lawyer may be able to assist a client in determining what those are based on the client's personal circumstances. 

If any amendments were made to a child support order after May 1997, those changes update the agreement to the current rules. Since child support is administered by the federal government, guidelines are applicable to all provinces and territories. Anything children receive outside an agreement order -- such as gifts or an allowance -- does not have to be declared.

There are times when family law rules can be confusing. A lawyer experienced in these facets of the law in Alberta may be able to offer some clarification, particularly on issues as important as child support and its tax implications. It may be wise for someone in this situation to speak to a lawyer prior to filing his or her income tax return.

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