Taxes and child support vs. alimony


#1

my ex pays both child support and alimony. He also has agreed to pay an additional percentage of any income over 100k into child support. He’s been paying what he perceives to be the basic child support/alimony, but has not been paying the overage amounts due each quarter.

It is my understanding that the IRS requires all child support to be paid before alimony. So, in calculating taxes for 2010, are we correct if we designate the money that’s been paid as child support first?

I am sure that ex will try to claim the alimony deductions on his taxes…should we file our taxes with some sort of notation/proof of what’s due in alimony vs. child support and what has not yet been paid?


#2

No, you would need to pursue the unpaid child support. What he has paid as alimony is alimony.


#3

still not making sense – there has to be some sort of law about how to determine whether payments made are alimony vs. child support for purposes of taxation. If a man owes $1,000 in alimony and $1,000 in child support each month, but only pays $1,000 – how do you determine if the payments made are alimony or child support?

I found this on a state of ca government website:

“If your divorce decree or other written instrument or agreement calls for alimony and child support, and you pay less than the total required, the payments apply first to child support. Any remaining amount is then considered alimony.”

As taxes are a national issue, and not a state issue, would the same not be true in NC?


#4

till not making sense – there has to be some sort of law about how to determine whether payments made are alimony vs. child support for purposes of taxation. If a man owes $1,000 in alimony and $1,000 in child support each month, but only pays $1,000 – how do you determine if the payments made are alimony or child support?

I found this on a state of ca government website:

“If your divorce decree or other written instrument or agreement calls for alimony and child support, and you pay less than the total required, the payments apply first to child support. Any remaining amount is then considered alimony.”

As taxes are a national issue, and not a state issue, would the same not be true in NC?


#5

think there’s a glitch here…you just reposted my 2nd post, not an answer…

thanks…


#6

(Odd glitch.)

Be careful about applying other state’s laws to this state. Divorce laws can vary widely state to state. Just because the IRS considers it child support, doesn’t necessarily mean that the state will. Whereas the IRS will make decisions in favor of obtaining more taxable income, the state’s mission is to err in the direction of making sure that the children are not shorted their due support. Thus it is possible that unattributed funds would be considered child support (and therefore not taxable) by the feds and at the same time alimony (and thus not applicable to child support) by the state.

As someone else on this forum said, when paying child support, it is sometimes best just to let it go through the state because that way no one can ever accuse you of not paying. Just my 2 cents…


#7

don’t really understand what you are getting at…the IRS governs taxation issues at the national level, and that’s what my question was about – whether I call what’s been coming in as alimony or child support on my taxes.

Found IRS publication 504, which means the advice given on this board is wrong. The IRS says child support must be paid before alimony if there’s a shortage in what’s being paid.

From the publication-----------------------------------
Underpayment. If both alimony and child support payments are called for by your divorce or separation instrument, and you pay less than the total required, the payments apply first to child support and then to alimony.

Example.

Your divorce decree calls for you to pay your former spouse $200 a month ($2,400 ($200 x 12) a year) as child support and $150 a month ($1,800 ($150 x 12) a year) as alimony. If you pay the full amount of $4,200 ($2,400 + $1,800) during the year, you can deduct $1,800 as alimony and your former spouse must report $1,800 as alimony received. If you pay only $3,600 during the year, $2,400 is child support. You can deduct only $1,200 ($3,600 – $2,400) as alimony and your former spouse must report $1,200 as alimony received.


#8

My apologies, I didn’t read as well as I had thought. I looked at it in terms of filing for child support.

Offhand I’d say that tax-wise for federal taxes, you are correct, given the publication and the mission of the IRS. As for State income taxes, it may differ, though. You might want to contact someone at the NC Department of Revenue to ask that question.