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CSA Assets and Liabilities Form

Well, despite being a write-only client, I received a call from CSA today about entering into a payment plan.

SSAT Decision has been made and arrears have reduced by 3/4

I have yet to receive a statement of account from the CSA following the SSAT decision.

When asked why I was being telephoned instead of contacted in writing, I was told that since I am in Debt Collection, she "has to talk to me" - sounds like a load to me…

So when I said that now she has talked to me, she can send me a letter and we can deal with the matter in writing, she said that she would send me an Assets and Liabilities form.

Then told me that if I didn't get the form back to her within 14 days, she would continue her investigations (I guess that means look for unprotected bank accounts to steal money from)

Here is the online form:
https://www.csa.gov.au/forms/AssetsAndLiabilities.aspx

It looks like more of the same intrusive information gathering by the CSA.

Does anyone know whether I am required to fill in the form or can I simply write to them with an offer of a payment plan?

I'm somewhat tired of the bullying…
Seriously said
When asked why I was being telephoned instead of contacted in writing, I was told that since I am in Debt Collection, she "has to talk to me"

I believe that there is nothing in the legislation that requires that a collections officer has to make contact via the phone. As you have indicated contact by phone only the officer is in breach of the APS guidelines by disrespecting the contact methods that you have selected. I would advise making a complaint about the conduct of the officer.

As for filling out the form if you do not then they can only make arrears according to your income (or social security payments) and assuming that no S72A (collection from third parties, cannot be a joint account) exists, will have to take into consideration the protected earnings amount (PEA) for collection of arrears from your employer. Here's a little on the PEA:
The CSA Guide - 5.2.4: Employer Obligations for collection from salary or wages said
Protected Earnings

Employers should not deduct the full specified periodic deduction from a payer's salary or wages if that would leave the employee with less than the 'protected earnings amount' (section 46(4)).

The protected earnings rate is defined as the amount prescribed by regulation (section 4(1)). The weekly rate is prescribed as 75% of the maximum fortnightly basic rate of Newstart Allowance payable on 1 January each year, to a person who is over 21 and partnered, and has no dependent children (regulation 3). The protected earnings rate is used to calculate the amount of the deductions for salary or wage payments made in each respective calendar year (regulation 3). The protected earnings amount for recent years is:

Year    Amount
2010    $308.63 per week
2009    $304.05 per week
2008    $290.85 per week

The amount of salary and wages is the amount payable after the deduction of income tax deductions (section 46(8)).

Example

In March 2008 F earns $350 a week and pays tax of $26.00 a week. F's employer is required to deduct child support of $50 a week. F is paid after-tax wages of $324 a week. The protected earnings rate at 1 January 2008 is $290.85. To deduct $50 in child support would leave F with less than the protected earnings rate. For that week F's employer can only deduct $33.15 ($324 less $290.85).

If you are on social security payments then the following applies:

The CSA Guide - 5.2.5: Collection from social security pensions and benefits said
How much can be deducted?

Where there is an ongoing liability but no child support arrears, the prescribed periodic deduction is the lesser of either 3 times the minimum rate or the liability amount for the instalment period (regulation 5E(1)). The minimum rate is defined in regulation 5E(3) as the minimum annual rate of child support (section 66(5) of the Assessment Act).

Example
M is assessed to pay $30 per week child support under an agreement and has no child support arrears. M is now in receipt of a new start allowance. CSA is only entitled to ask Centrelink to deduct 3 times the minimum rate as this is less than the ongoing liability amount.

Where child support arrears exist, the prescribed periodic deduction is the lesser of either 3 times the minimum rate (less any amounts deducted for the ongoing liability) or the amount of the debt that has not been paid (regulation 5E(2)).

Example

F is assessed to pay $10 per week child support and has arrears of $60. F is in receipt of a sickness allowance. CSA is only entitled to ask Centrelink to deduct 3 times the minimum rate as this is less than the amount of child support outstanding. $10 is deducted for the ongoing liability, and the balance goes to the arrears.

CSA will not collect amounts of less than $1.00 per week from a persons pension or benefit. If a payers child support liability is less than one dollar per week, and there are no arrears, CSA will allow the amounts due to accumulate until it can instruct the Secretary to deduct an amount under regulation 5E(2).
MikeT said
Seriously said
When asked why I was being telephoned instead of contacted in writing, I was told that since I am in Debt Collection, she "has to talk to me"
I believe that there is nothing in the legislation that requires that a collections officer has to make contact via the phone. As you have indicated contact by phone only the officer is in breach of the APS guidelines by disrespecting the contact methods that you have selected. I would advise making a complaint about the conduct of the officer.
Complaint is already under way

MikeT said
As for filling out the form if you do not then they can only make arrears according to your income (or social security payments) and assuming that no S72A (collection from third parties, cannot be a joint account) exists, will have to take into consideration the protected earnings amount (PEA) for collection of arrears from your employer.
Self employed and moved to joint account some time ago.
Of course giving them less information is a good idea

Thanks Mike
Seriously, thinking about it you likely have two complaints. a) The fact that the officer disrespected you by making the call and then b) subsequently disrespected you when you brought their wrongdoing to their attention in which case the officer should have immediately desisted.
I did complain about the whole thing as you suggest.

I've decided that any future calls I get, when they ask if I have time to talk, I'll say that I never have time to talk to the CSA and to put their inquiry in writing - talking to the CSA officer upsets me too much.

When I receive my account statement, I'll send an offer of payment plan (in writing of course)

The complaints officer told me that the CSA person had to ring me because they want to negotiate a payment plan and it is too hard to negotiate in writing…
What a crock.
It's easier to for them to negotiate agreement over the phone so they can get straight onto the collection process. You will have little time to consider how they will take the funds off you if you tell them to p*ss off over the the phone.

Don't fill out the assets and liabilities form. This gives them further information of your circumstances that they will use against you later on.

You could ask them what they intend to do to enforce collection.
The amount of arrears is a fair bit less than $1000 so I don't know what sort of enforcement options would be available to them apart from stealing the money from an unprotected bank account (which I don't have any money in…)

I have no intention of filling in the form

All the information on the form has already been disclosed to them through the COA/SSAT process anyway.

Of course they want to get you to agree to a payment plan on the phone so they can limit you opportunity to properly consider your expenses as per the Collection Handbook.
They will most probably issue a garish order to your employer for that amount.
Fairgo said
They will most probably issue a garish order to your employer for that amount.
 I'm self employed (which is why I was deemed for destruction)
Well I would suggest you work out what you think is a reasonable amount, and fax it to them as an offer.  Quickly, because if you are negotiating a garnishee notice should not be an option.  
I sent a letter with an offer of a payment plan by mail the same day I got he letter notifying me that CSA had received the SSAT decision and had changed my assessment accordingly.

I don't think garnishee is an option since I am self employed and income is under $12k at the moment.
Like I have just mentioned in another post, C$A will go to the ATO to get the name of your accountant, and then get information from them about your business including clients who pay you for your services and serve them with an order to pay. They will also check if you are receiving Family benefits and take it from there.
Fairgo said
Like I have just mentioned in another post, C$A will go to the ATO to get the name of your accountant, and then get information from them about your business including clients who pay you for your services and serve them with an order to pay. They will also check if you are receiving Family benefits and take it from there.
  I guess so, but since I am (in writing) actively negotiating a payment plan for the arrears (well less than $1000) and continuing to pay the ongoing assessment, they would be hard pressed to justify moving to enforcement.
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