Maintenance payments

Produced by Tolley

The following Personal Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Maintenance payments
  • Conditions
  • Tax relief
  • Claiming the relief
  • Tax position of the recipient

Maintenance payments

Maintenance payments are payments made by a taxpayer to their former or separated spouse for the maintenance of that former spouse or their children. To obtain any tax relief for maintenance payments, one of the couple must have been born before 5 April 1935 and the payments must be made by virtue of a court order or an assessment by the Child Support Agency (CSA).

Maintenance payments are always paid gross (ie tax is not withheld at source by the payer) and they are not taxable in the hands of the recipient.

The payer receives tax relief via a 10% tax reduction on the lower of (a) the amount paid and (b) £3,530 for the 2021/22 tax year (£3,510 for 2020/21).

Note that although maintenance payments were considered by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) as part of its review of pensioner taxation, due to the natural decline in the number of claimants, it was decided that simplification of this relief was not a priority. Consequently, it has not been taken forward as part of the key recommendations.


The payer of a maintenance payment will only obtain tax relief if the

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