In general, the Child Support Standards Act includes all of the parties’ income for child support calculations, subject to appropriate child support limits and deductions. What happens in the situation when a party is receiving a tax refund for the taxes paid during the previous year? In Shelby T. v. Michael L., 2009 NY Slip Op 29075 (Fam. Ct. Clinton Co. 2009), Judge Lawliss overturned the support magistrate’s decision which included the tax refund as income in the child support calculation. The court held that since the party obligated to pay child support receives a tax refund on the taxes paid in 2008, in 2009, if the court were to include the tax refund in the child support calculation, then the money earned, and taxed, in 2008, would count as income for child support purposes once again in 2009. Clearly, that was not the result contemplated by the Child Support Standards Act.
If engaged in child support litigation, a lawyer must make sure that his client’s income is counted only once and that the client receives all applicable deductions and variances.