Maintenance payments

Legally enforceable maintenance payments

Legally enforceable maintenance payments are payments you make to a former partner periodically (annually, weekly or monthly) under:

  • a court order
  • a deed of separation
  • or
  • any other legal commitment (such as a covenant).

If the payment does not meet the criteria above, it will be treated as a voluntary maintenance payment.

Your former partner may be legally required to regularly pay an amount on your behalf (such as a mortgage payment). This is treated as a legally enforceable maintenance payment to you.

Payments can also be made in advance of the termination of your relationship being finalised if it is legally enforceable.

If you make maintenance payments rather than receive them, please see Overview page for more information. 

Tax treatment of legally enforceable maintenance payments

Legally enforceable maintenance payments must be paid in full. Your former partner cannot deduct an amount from the payment. You will pay the following on each payment you receive for your own benefit: 

You will not pay taxes on any amount paid for the benefit for your children.

How to declare maintenance payments as a PAYE taxpayer

To make a claim in the current tax year, using 'PAYE Services' in myAccount:

  1. Sign in to myAccount.
  2. Click 'Manage Your Tax 2024'.
  3. Click 'Add new incomes'.
  4. Select 'Maintenance Payments received'.
  5. Input all information about the maintenance payments you expect to receive in 2024.

If you have no Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income, you must pay the Income Tax, USC and PRSI due under self-assessment.

How to declare maintenance payments for previous years

For 2020 and subsequent years, please follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to myAccount.
  2. Click on the 'Review your Tax 2020-2023' link in 'PAYE Services'.
  3. Request a Statement of Liability.
  4. Click on 'Complete Income Tax Return'.
  5. On the 'Non-PAYE income' page, under the 'Other income' section, select 'Maintenance Payments received.'
  6. Complete and submit the form.

Your former partner's tax treatment

Your former partner can claim tax relief on the amount they have paid for your benefit. They cannot claim relief for maintenance payments made for the benefit of children.


You and your former partner must not be taxed as a married couple for this treatment to apply. If you are taxed as a married couple, all legally enforceable maintenance payments will be ignored for Income Tax purposes.

Next: Voluntary maintenance payments