Lines 21999 and 22000 – Support payments made

Reporting support payments on your tax return

If you are claiming deductible support payments, enter on line 21999 of your tax return the total amount of support payments you paid under a court orders or written agreements. This includes any non-deductible child support payments you made.

Do not include amounts you paid that are more than the amounts specified in the order or agreement, such as pocket money or gifts that you sent directly to your children.

Enter on line 22000 of your tax return the deductible part of the support payments that you paid.

Make sure that both line 21999 and line 22000 are filled out correctly to avoid your claim being delayed or denied.

You also have to register your court order or written agreement with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). For more information, see Registering your court order or written agreement.

Example – How to report support payments on your tax return

Diane and Gene recently divorced. In their court order made in December 2019, Gene has to pay Diane $1,000 per month for their two children, and $500 per month for spousal support.

Gene started making monthly support payments of $1,500 in January. He paid a total of $18,000 for 2020.

Gene enters the total support payments amount of $18,000 on line 21999 of his 2019 tax return. On line 22000 of his 2020 tax return, he enters $6,000. This is the spousal support amount, which is the deductible part of his support payments.

 

Note

If your court order or written agreement includes support paid for your current or former spouse or common-law partner in a previous year for which you have already filed a tax return, you can ask for an adjustment. For more information, see How to change your return

Year of change in marital status

In most circumstances, you cannot claim a personal tax credit(s) for a particular person (spouse or common-law partner or child) if you had to make support payments for that person to your current or former spouse or common law partner. This rule applies in any of the following situations:

  • You lived separate and apart from your current or former spouse or common-law partner throughout the entire year because of the breakdown in your relationship.
  • You claimed a deduction for the deductible spousal support amounts paid in the year to your current or former spouse or common-law partner.

If you had to pay spousal support and you lived separate and apart from your current or former spouse or common law partner for only part of that year because of a breakdown in your relationship, you may claim the applicable personal tax credit(s) for your spouse or common-law partner or child. This will be the case as long as you do not claim a deduction for the deductible spousal support amounts paid in the year to your current or former spouse or common-law partner. This rule allows, for example, an individual who is entitled to a deduction for support amounts paid in the year in which the relationship breakdown occurs to claim the deduction for support amounts or the personal tax credit(s), whichever is more beneficial.

All other requirements to claim the applicable personal tax credit(s) for your spouse or common-law partner or child must be met. For more information, see the applicable lines of your tax return:

  • for your eligibility to claim the spouse or common-law partner amount, see line 30300
  • for the amount for an eligible dependant, see line 30400
  • for the Canada caregiver amount(s) when you calculate certain personal tax credits, see lines 30300, 30400, 30425, 30450, and 30500

If you reconciled before the end of that year and you choose to claim the spouse or common law partner amount on line 30300 of your tax return, you may also be able to claim an amount on line 32600, Amounts transferred from your spouse or common-law partner, of your tax return (Step 5 – Federal tax).

If you are claiming amounts for the applicable personal tax credit(s) instead of the support payments, enter the total support paid on line 21999, and enter zero on line 22000 of your tax return. Otherwise, the CRA will have no record of your payments.

Example 1 – How to report support payments on your tax return

Roger and Mary separated on September 1, 2020. Under the written agreement, beginning on that date, Roger pays $300 monthly in spousal support. Mary had no other income in 2020.

When filing his 2020 tax return, Roger could deduct one of the following:

  • the deductible spousal support he paid = $1,200 ($300 × 4 months)
  • the spouse or common-law partner amount for Mary (line 30300 of his tax return (Step 5 – Federal tax)

Since Mary had no other income, Roger would be able to claim the full spouse or common-law partner amount. Therefore, Roger decides to claim the spouse or common-law partner amount at line 30300 of his tax return since it is the most beneficial. He should enter the amount of support he paid on line 21999 and enter zero on line 22000 of his tax return.

Mary has to report the $1,200 she received in support payments on her 2020 tax return.

Example 2 – How to report support payments on your tax return

Lauren and Rosa separated on November 1, 2020 and Gabriella is their only child. Their court order, beginning on that date, states that Lauren has sole custody of Gabriella and has to make monthly spousal support payments of $800 to Rosa. Rosa had other income, exceeding Lauren’s basic personal amount, in 2020.

When filing her 2020 tax return, Lauren could deduct one of the following:

  • the deductible spousal support she paid = $1,600 ($800 × 2 months)
  • the spouse or common-law partner amount for Rosa (line 30300 of her tax return)

Due to Rosa’s other income, Lauren decides to claim the deductible support payments she made since it is the most beneficial. She should enter the amount of support she paid on line 21999 and $1,600 on line 22000 of her tax return.

Since Lauren does not have to pay a child support amount to Rosa for Gabriella, she may also be able to claim the amount for an eligible dependant for Gabriella.

Rosa has to report the $1,600 she received in support payments on her 2020 tax return.

Note

If you have more than one recipient to whom you are making support payments, your tax situation may vary. For more information, see Income Tax Folio S1-F3-C3, Support Payments.

Retroactive lump-sum payments

You have to give to the recipient a filled out Form T1198, Statement of Qualifying Retroactive Lump Sum Payment, if all the following situations apply:

  • You made one lump-sum payment of at least $3,000.
  • The lump–sum payment was made to bring the payments up to date.
  • You can deduct the amount.
  • The recipient has to report the amount as income.

Reimbursement of support payments

If support payments were reimbursed to you because of a court order, you may have to include the reimbursed amount in income on lines 12799 and 12800 of your tax return for the year it is received. It must be included in income if one of the following situations applies:

  • You deduct the amount on that tax return.
  • You deducted it in a previous year.

Legal and accounting fees

As the payer, you cannot claim legal and accounting fees on line 22000, 22100 or 23200 incurred:

  • to get a separation or divorce
  • to establish, negotiate, or contest the amount of support payments
  • to establish child custody or visitation rights

Supporting documents

When you file your tax return, do not send any supporting documents. Keep them in case the CRA asks to see them.

However, if the CRA asks for receipts, acceptable receipts must state your name, the date of payment, and the amount you paid.

Any of the following documents may be accepted to support your claim:

  • cancelled cheques or cheque images (copies of both sides of the cheque have to be legible)
  • bank and employer statements if they show a transfer of funds from the payer's account or paycheque to either the recipient's account or to a provincial agency and the amounts are equal or less than the amounts specified in the court order or written agreement
  • statement or letter from the maintenance enforcement program (for example, provincial agency) supporting the actual amount of support paid under the court order or written agreement
  • signed receipts from the recipient showing the total amount paid in the year
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