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Fixed annual rate not apply, then it does, then it doesn't, then it does, then it doesn't

Hi, I'll cut a long story short.

My 16 year old daughter lived with my wife and I from 9-14 when the difficult teenage years happened she went to live with her uncle, all hell broke loose for various reasons. My mental health suffered as did my wifes, we moved from VIC to QLD to get away from the difficult situation that was created and after 11 months my daughter uncle could not handle her for the same reasons we were struggling and sent her back to her mums.

I have 0% care, 1 due to living in QLD and 2 due to not wanting my daughter in my house until she has grown up a little.

My mental health issues mean I am not working half the time I was and only earning $424 per week before tax.
Child support have assessed me as being required to pay the fixed annual rate, now I would not be kicking up a stink about paying this amount if it weren't for various calls I've made where I've been told I should not be on the fixed rate.

On the first call I was told that since I am on genuinely low income below the self support amount I can apply to have the amount reduced.
I submitted the application and on the same day called csa just to confirm that I could have the amount reduced and was told again yes I could since I had provided payslips etc.

The application was of course rejected as they say I'm earning more than $18,000 which I am not denying.
I sent a complaint in response and was called up by yet another csa rep who told me once again that since I am earning less than the self support amount and have 2 dependants then I should be on the minimum amount, he said he would get someone else to call me and I would be reassessed, nobody has called.

If I am supposed to pay the fixed rate fine, but I'm a little annoyed that I keep getting told I shouldn't be paying the fixed annual rate.
Can anyone clarify for me?

Thanks.
Basically the legislation states that a person earning more than the maximum basic amount of parenting payment single ($18,728 for 2015) cannot have the fixed rate to not apply. However, likewise, the legislation (section 65A(1)(b) also restricts the registrar from making a determination if the income is below the maximum basic amount of PPS (ie the registrar is not given that authority by the legislation):


The Child Support Assessment Act 1989 - Division 8 - Subdivison B said
(1)  The Registrar must assess an annual rate of child support payable by a parent for a child for a day in a child support period as the rate specified in subsection (2) if:

                     (a)  the parent did not receive an income support payment during the last relevant year of income; and

                     (b)  the following amount is less than the pension PP (single) maximum basic amount:

                              (i)  if subparagraph (ii) does not apply the parents adjusted taxable income determined in accordance with section 43 for the last relevant year of income for the child support period;

                             (ii)  if the day occurs in the application period for an income election made by the parent the amount that applied under subsection 60(2) or (3), or that was worked out under subsection 62A(1); and

                     ©  the parent does not have at least shared care of the child during the relevant care period.

Note

65A(1)(b)(iii) covers income estimates. 65A(1)(b)(i) & (ii) collectively cover the income


As such I believe that the CSA are acting beyond, and thus abusing, their power to apply the fixed rate (as it is termed by the CSA Guide).

The CSA Guide also covers this:

The CSA Guide -2.4.11 Fixed annual rate of child support for certain low income parents - When does the fixed annual rate apply? said
When does the fixed annual rate apply?

The fixed annual rate is the rate payable by a parent for a child if:

    the parent did not receive an income support payment in the last relevant year of income; and
    that parent's adjusted taxable income for the last relevant year of income is less than the Parenting Payment (single) maximum basic amount OR the Registrar has accepted an estimate of the parent's current income and the estimated income is less than Parenting Payment (single) maximum basic amount; and
    that parent has less than shared care of the child.


I would suggest that instead the minimum annual rate should apply as per:

The CSA Guide - 2.4.12 The minimum annual rate of child support said
Where a child support formula produces an annual rate below the relevant minimum annual rate, and the fixed annual rate of child support does not apply, a minimum assessment will generally be payable.

This being, for 2015, $408 pa.

ie the last officer's advice appears to reflect the legislation.

You may wish to have a look at the relevant sections of the CSA guide so here's some links:
The CSA Guide - 2.4.11 Fixed annual rate of child support for certain low income parents
The CSA Guide - 2.5.3 Application to have the fixed annual rate of child support not used
The CSA Guide - 2.4.12 The minimum annual rate of child support
The CSA Guide - 2.4.2 Formula tables and values
Thanks, I'm still not sure if the fixed rate should apply or not. Just to clarify, my YTD until 16th Jan 2015 is
 $19,063. By 31st March which is when I finish with my VIC employer my total YTD should be around $23,300.

Which is more than the parenting payment but still I am below the self support amount or very close to it and all the calculators on the csa website say I should be paying a lot less than $110 per month.

Like I said if I have to pay that amount I don't care, it's a struggle but so be it, my issue is I keep getting told I shouldn't be.

Apparently this was introduced to stop people scamming yet people like me who are not scamming get punished. Meanwhile people can report $0 income, not put in tax returns and pay next to nothing.  Seems quite unfair that doing the right thing means you are punished.

Edited: OK just reread, so my adjusted taxable income for this year will be more than the parenting payment, hence I should not be on the fixed rate, someone at CSA has obviously messed up my assessment somehow or I have when I used the dodgy only system.

Last edit: by jbj4701

Follow up to previous post re fixed rate

Well, on the 20th I got things all sorted and put on the minimum rate of $33, I had $208 of excess cash in my account.

Yesterday however they have finally changed things so that the money is going to the correct person but in doing so they have reverted to my 2014 income of $38,000, expect me to pay $216 by the 7th Feb and the $208 excess appears to be gone.

Would the excess have been paid out? if so can I get this back considering they had my current income which is less on file but chose to revert back to my previous income?
Needless to say I'm quite annoyed that I spent two weeks getting things sorted and now they have just wiped it all and gone back to previous income which is wrong and that they had my current income updated the day before.
It appears that you may have got mixed up with what you were asking of the CSA.

If your 2013-2014 tax return was $38,000, then that would be used until you submit the 2014-2015 tax return. An exception to this would be if you applied for an income estimate to be taken into consideration. An income estimate allows you to cater for a decrease in your income. If your income estimate was for $18,000 and you already have an income that is greater then it would only be reasonable for the CSA to not consider the $18000 as likely:

The CSA Guide - 2.5.1 Income estimates for a year of income - Refusing to accept an income estimate said
The Registrar can refuse to accept an income estimate election for part of a year of income if satisfied that:

    the parent's partial year income amount is less than what the Registrar considers is likely to be the parent's actual adjusted taxable income for the remaining period in relation to the income election (section 63AA(2)(a)); or
    the total of the income component amounts for the year to date income amount is more than the amount that the Registrar considers is likely to be the total of the actual income component amounts (section 63AA(2)(b)).

I'd suggest, if you did/thought you did or want to submit an income estimate, thus reducing your liability that you do so with a realistic amount such as $23,300. Note that if you do submit such an income estimate that there are fines/penalties if the reconciled income is 110% or more than the last estimate. It is suggested that those who submit income estimates update them to ensure that they are not penalised.

You may wish to have a look at The CSA Guide - 2.5.1 Income estimates for a year of income
All sorted, it was because I'd done the assessment up until March which is when I finish up work, I did it to the end of June and all is sorted, I can assure you my income has actually decreased since last year with payslips etc to prove it.  My rate of pay decreased mostly due to health reasons and then due to moving 22 hours from my employer but negotiating to work remotely at reduced hours. The issue with reverting to previous income was a mistake on their end, instead of migrating he case (daughter move elsewhere) they started a new one.  I got a shock this morning though when I logged in and saw my $208 excess cash was gone and they said I had to pay $216 within two weeks. The 18,000 estimate I put in was my YTD not full year which matched up with my payslips ytd though doesn't account for leave loading, the full year is closer to $27,000 which is the info they have and have had since the 20th, before the 20th when I had messed up it would have been closer to 23,000 for the whole year.

Also I've never lied to child support, I even called them when I got a pay increase of $10 a week for the very reason of not being punished. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for my daughters mother who has not lodged a tax return since my daughter came to live with me . She's still claiming to only get the pension yet I know for a fact she works 2-3 days a week and has admitted to my daughter she wouldn't put in tax returns so she didn't have to pay any child support. It seems the trend will continue to extort as much out of me as possible.

As as you know CSA will only act if I can provide copies of her bank statements.

Last edit: by jbj4701

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