If you made support payments to financially help out your child and/or former spouse, you might be able to deduct these payments on your return. You can claim a tax deduction for the support payments you’ve made as long as:
- Payments are made under the terms of a court order or written agreement, which is registered with the CRA
- The recipient is your former spouse/common-law partner and you were living separately at the time of the payment because of a breakdown in the relationship; or, you’re the legal parent of a child or the recipient
- You’re paying support for the maintenance of the recipient, child of the recipient, or both, and the recipient can decide how to use the payments
- The allowance is paid on a periodic basis, as set out in the court order or written agreement
- You paid support directly to the recipient (child support can’t be made directly to your child)
Your tax deduction also depends on when your court order and written agreement was made.
What support payments can I claim?
Your spousal support payments will always be deductible by you and taxable to the recipient, regardless of when your order or agreement was made, as long as all payments for child support are fully paid for current and prior years.
Your tax deduction for child support payments depends on whether your court order or written agreement was made before May 1997 or after April 1997.
If your court order or agreement was made before May 1997, your child support payments are taxable to the recipient and deductible by you (the payer) unless:
- There were changes to the amount of child support payments after April 1997, in which case these payments are no longer taxable or deductible beginning on the date of the change.
Note: Automatic changes in the amount of support, based off of cost-of-living increases or changes in income, aren’t included in this rule.
- You have a new court order or written agreement made after April 1997 with the same person (but still have a valid order or agreement made before May 1997), and the new order changes your child support payments. The tax rules in effect after April 1997 will apply to both orders/agreements.
- The court order or written agreement specifically says your payments won’t be taxable or deductible (but this can’t be applied to payments made before May 1, 1997).
- You elected to have the tax rules in effect after April 1997 apply to your court order or written agreement, without having to change it, even though it was made before May 1997.
If your court order or agreement was made after April 1997, you won’t be able to deduct your child support payments, and they won’t need to be included in the recipient’s income.
For Québec residents, the same rules apply for support payments as they do for the rest of Canada. As someone who pays family support, visit the Revenu Québec website for information on your tax deductible, as you’ll need to complete Work Chart 225. Also keep in mind that, if you’re paying support for the benefit of more than one person, you’ll need to enter their names and social insurance numbers on a separate sheet and enclose it with your paper return.
Where do I claim this?
Follow these steps in H&R Block’s tax software to file your 2016 taxes:
- Under the PREPARE tab, click the OTHER icon.
- Under the SPECIAL SITUATIONS section, select the checkbox labelled Spousal support or child support payments made.
- When you arrive at the page for Spousal support or child support payments paid, enter your information into the tax software.