Illinois Child Support and Taxes: How does child support affect tax filings?

Understanding Child Support in Illinois

In Illinois, child support is a payment made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to contribute to a range of expenses for their children. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) Division of Child Support Services helps parents establish and enforce child support orders. However, many parents may not know how child support payments affect their taxes.

Child Support Payments and Federal Taxes

At the federal level, child support payments do not directly affect your taxable income. The parent who makes child support payments cannot deduct those payments from their taxable income. Conversely, the parent who receives child support does not include these payments as part of their taxable income.

Tax Implications for the Payor

If you are a non-custodial parent paying child support, it's important to understand that these payments are not tax-deductible. This means that the amount of money you pay in child support each year cannot be subtracted from your gross income when you file your federal tax return. For example, if you earned $50,000 in a year and paid $6,000 in child support, you would still be taxed on the full $50,000 income.

Tax Implications for the Recipient

For the custodial parent receiving child support, these payments are considered tax-neutral. You do not have to declare child support as part of your income on your tax return. Therefore, if you received $6,000 in child support over the year, this amount would not affect your taxable income or tax bracket.

Claiming Dependents and Tax Credits

While child support itself doesn't change your tax filing in terms of income, it can be linked indirectly to who gets to claim the dependency exemption for the children. Generally, the custodial parent has the right to claim the child as a dependent on their tax return, which can result in significant tax benefits like the Child Tax Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit.

In some cases, however, the non-custodial parent might claim the child as a dependent if there is a written agreement or court order allowing it. It's essential to follow IRS guidelines when claiming dependents to ensure compliance with tax laws.

Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)

While child support payments don't impact your adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax purposes, they could affect your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). MAGI is used to determine eligibility for certain tax credits and deductions. Since child support isn't included in AGI or MAGI calculations, it won't affect this aspect of your taxes either.


In summary, when dealing with Illinois child support and taxes, remember that:

Understanding these principles will help you navigate through tax season without unexpected surprises concerning your child support arrangements. Always consult with a tax professional for personalized advice regarding your situation.