Lines 156 and 128 – Support payments received

Reporting support payments on your tax return

If you are reporting taxable support payments, enter on line 156 of your tax return the total amount of support payments you received under a court order or written agreement. This includes any support payments you received under a social assistance arrangement.

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

Enter on line 128 the taxable part of support payments you received.

Make sure that both line 156 and line 128 are filled out correctly to avoid a delay in assessing your tax return.

You also may have to register your court order or written agreement with us. 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 2016, 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, and paid a total of $18,000 for 2017.

Diane enters the total support payments amount of $18,000 on line 156 of her 2017 tax return. On line 128, she enters $6,000. This is the spousal support amount, which is the taxable part of the support payments.

 

Note

If you received a payment before the end of the year, you have to include it in income for that year, as long as it meets the conditions in What are support payments? are met. You cannot delay including a payment in income by not cashing the cheque.

Retroactive lump-sum payment

If you received a lump-sum support payment, parts of which were for previous years, you have to report the whole payment in the year the lump-sum payment is received.

However, you can ask us to tax the parts for the previous years as if they were received in those years if all of the following applies:

  • the amount that applies to previous years is $3,000 or more (not including interest)
  • you were resident in Canada
  • it is to your advantage for tax purposes

The payer of the support payments should give you a filled out Form T1198, Statement of Qualifying Retroactive Lump-Sum Payment. Include this form with your tax return to ask for this special tax calculation on a retroactive lump-sum payment. We will tell you the results on your notice of assessment or notice of reassessment.

Repayment of support payments

If you repaid support payments because of a court order, you may be able to claim a deduction on line 220 of your tax return for that year (or in either of the following two years). You can claim this deduction if both the following apply:

  • you reported the original support payments you received as income on that same tax return or on a previous year's tax return
  • you have not already claimed a deduction for the repayment

Legal and accounting fees

As the recipient, you can deduct, on line 221 of your tax return, legal and accounting fees incurred to:

  • collect overdue support payments owing
  • establish the amount of support payments from your current or former spouse or common-law partner
  • establish the amount of support payments from the legal parent of your child (who is not your current or former spouse or common-law partner) where the support is payable under the terms of a court order
  • try to get an increase in support payments

You can also deduct, on line 232 of your tax return, legal and accounting fees incurred to try to make child support payments non-taxable.

As the recipient, you cannot claim legal and accounting fees incurred to:

  • get a separation or divorce
  • establish child custody or visitation rights

Legal and accounting fees paid to collect a lump-sum payment are not deductible. The lump-sum also does not qualify as a support payment (see Lump-sum payments).

Have you transferred the rights to your support payments?

You may assign or transfer your rights to your support payments to your provincial government so you can receive social assistance. If you have transferred your rights to your support payments, report the total amounts you received on line 156 (and any taxable part on line 128). These amounts are not included in box 11 of Form T5007, Statement of Benefits.

Supporting documents

When you file your tax return, do not include your receipts or cancelled cheques, or your court order or written agreement. Keep them in case we ask to see them.

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