Tab E-1 Alimony vs. Child Support

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Many taxpayers are confused about the difference between alimony and child support.

It makes a big difference!

Alimony is deductible to the payer and taxable to the recipient.

Child support is not deductible nor taxable to anyone!

Frequently, a taxpayer will say, "Yes, I received alimony," or "Yes, I paid alimony," when they are really talking about child support.

Regardless of what the taxpayer calls it, it is important to ask enough questions to determine its true nature for tax purposes.  The chart at left can help.

Alimony (also called "spousal support") is increasingly rare these days, but for those taxpayers who do receive it, alimony received should be reported as income on line 11 of Form 1040.  For those taxpayers who pay it, alimony paid should be reported as an "Adjustment" (i.e., above the line deduction) on line 31a of Form 1040.