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Understanding the deductibility of legal fees associated to pursuing child support

    It is no secret, the rules for legal fee deductibility can be a bit confusing. As a parent seeking child support it is important to learn exactly what you are entitled to with regards to deductions, before filling out this year’s tax return.

    Those who are receiving child or spouse support from parents of the child, current or former spouse or common-law partners are permitted to deduct legal fees directly related to pursuing their child support payments. More specifically, these can be deducted if the fees were incurred in the establishment of amount of support owning from current or former spouse, in the collection of late support payments, or also in an increase of support payments.

    It is important to note that the recipient of support must be the one filling the tax report. To do this, enter the amounts paid to the attorney on line 221 of the T1 General form. Canada’s CRA will also request evidence of the claimed legal fee deduction. This typically is in the form of payment invoices, or a letter from the family attorney’s office. It is important to contact your law firm in advance, to avoid missing the tax return deadlines.

    It should also be noted that payers of child or spouse support, cannot claim legal fees paid during the negotiation of a child or spouse support amount. If you are required to pay the support, you are not entitled to deductions. Legal fees paid to get a divorce, separation or to establish custody or visitations are not deductible.

    For child support inquiries or consultations, please contact Clark Woods LLP at 604-330-1777 or through our website at