Child Support and Taxes Q&A

Q: I am the recipient spouse. As my ex failed to pay child support, I reported him to the state child support agency and they have asked the IRS to withhold my ex’s tax refund. How can I collect or get the withheld refund?

A: The procedure will depend in the state you are located in. You should contact the Administration for Children & Families Office of Child Support Enforcement, US Department of Health and Human Service for the exact procedure.

Q: How can I find out whether I have to file an injured spouse claim prior to filing my return?

A: Contact the agency that is claim the past due debt refund or the Financial Management Service Help Desk at (800) 304-3107.

Q: I am filing Form 8379 Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation. Is it possible to file my returns over the internet?

A: Yes. You can file your returns electronically.

Q: Here’s my situation. I and the father of my child have never been married. We live together and provide equal support for the child. My question is who can claim head of household status?

A: To claim the head of household status, you must provide more than 50% of the cost of keeping the home for the tax year. If the cost is shared equally, then neither of you qualify. For more details, please see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

Q: Is it possible for me to claim my niece and her son as dependents? They have been living with us for the last 8 months? Her ex does not pay child support and she is unemployed and has no income.

A: A person need not live with you for the whole tax year to be claimed a dependent if the person passes the exemption tests beginning with the relationship test. The other tests are:

• Joint return test.
• Support test.
• Gross income test.
• Citizenship test

For more details, please see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

Q: I am paying child support to my ex. Can I deduct anything or claim the child as an exemption?

A: Paying child support does not entitle you to any deductions. It is not deductible to the payer and it is not considered a taxable income for the recipient. Generally the parent with custody of the child is entitled to claim the child as a dependent (subject to exemption tests) as that parent is considered as being the parent who gave more than 50% of the child’s support. If the parent with custody signs Form 8332 or any other statement releasing the exemption claim, the non-custodial parent will be considered as the parent who gave more than 50% of the child’s support.

Q: Do I have to pay taxes on the child support I receive from my ex?

A: No. Child support payments are not considered as taxable inform. It is not included in the calculation of gross income for tax purposes.

Q: Should I include child support in my income when I am determining the amount of Earned Income Credit?

A. No. Child support is not considered for calculating Earned Income Credit.

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