Every year in mid-April, Florida residents scramble to submit their state and federal tax returns before the due date. While some may happily await sizable refunds, others may have to come up with significant money to pay off their taxes due. For those who pay and receive child support, the question of how to factor in that money may be an uncertainty in their preparations.

The short answer to this question is that child support is considered neither income to the parent who receives it on behalf of their child nor a write-off for the parent who pays it. A parent who pays child support must include the total that they paid as income on their tax returns, and the parent who received it does not have to account for it on their documentation.

One way that child support and custody may influence how a person prepares their tax returns has to do with where a child primarily lives. It is often the case that a parent with primary physical custody of a child is the recipient of child support and is able to declare that child as a dependent on their tax returns; having a dependent may give that person a tax break for the year that the child is declared.

A non-custodial, support-paying parent may declare a child their dependent if the other parent agrees to such an arrangement or if an adjudication gives them that right. In general, one’s taxes should not be affected by their payment or receipt of child support, though readers of this post are reminded that its contents do not provide legal or tax advice.