tug_of_warWhy do we say a child shown as “alternated” in the Tax Deduction To field will be ignored in calculating the Income Tax Considerations adjustment? Because the Kansas Child Support Guidelines (Administrative Order 284) provide guidance for the calculation ONLY when the parents DO NOT alternate the exemption.

Consider: tax deductions for a dependent child are allocated by the IRS on an annual basis to the custodial parent (the parent with whom the child lives the majority of the year, or the higher income parent). So for an “alternated” child, which parent’s tax rate should be used in calculating the value of the deduction?

It’s fairly easy to calculate the value of a dependent child tax deduction to a parent when you know a few key elements: the parent’s income, the child’s age, etc. But if you don’t know the parent’s income (and hence, the parent’s state and Federal tax rates), or the child’s age (and hence, whether the child qualifies for the Child Tax Credit for children under 17), it becomes impossible to determine the value of the deduction (and hence, the Income Tax Considerations adjustment) accurately.

Consequently, we recommend avoiding the “alternated” concept in designating which parent should receive the dependent child tax exemptionSince the exemption is an annual matter (and we all file our tax returns annually), just select the parent who should get the tax deduction this year (the current year). Then, rerun the child support calculation again early next year, selecting the parent who should receive the tax deduction next year.

If you run the child support calculation each year, in late December or early January, you’ll also have the benefit of updated program elements like income tax rates, and current data regarding the child’s age (for the Child Tax Credit and Child Care Tax Credit, for example), and parental incomes.

Simple, when you think about it!!

About Brad Short

CEO : Bradley Software; Of Counsel at Short, Borth & Thilges, Attorneys at Law, LLC, Overland Park, Kansas. Born Birmingham, Alabama, December 27, 1941; admitted to bar,1966, Kansas and U.S. District Court, District of Kansas; 1975, U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit; 1976, U.S. Supreme Court. Education: University of Colorado (B.A., 1963; J.D., 1966). Contributing Author, Practitioner's Guide to Kansas Family Law, Kansas Bar Association, 1997. Listed in: The Best Lawyers in America, Family Law, every year from 1987 through 2013. Member, Technology Advisory Committee, Kansas Judicial Council, 1991-1998. Member: Bourbon County, 1966-1977 (President, 1970-1971), Johnson County (Member: Ethics and Grievance Committee, 1984-1998; Family Law Bench/Bar Committee, 1984-), Kansas and American (Vice-Chair, Solo Practitioners and Small Firms Committee, Economics of Law Practice Section, 1984-1985) Bar Associations; Kansas Trial Lawyers Association, 1974-1984 (State Treasurer, 1975-76; Member, Board of Governors, 1974-1984). Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 1994-2013 . Practice areas: Family Law.
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