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How does CSA view contact costs

How does CSA legislation view contact costs? And how do they consider this within CSA procedures? I am very concerned my new assessment will not take into account the equal amount of contact costs I will incur just to see my child weekends. CSA have ignored my letters, won't give me point to start at even though I am asking to sort this out and make plans for future now.
Financial pressure of paying double will prohibit my contact and I will breach the orders that clearly state what contact is to occur. Will CSA respect the orders and give me an idea of what discount/consideration I can expect.

Will CSA respect the orders?
Hi GIMH544

Take a look at The Guide on CSA's website.

Read up on Reason 1 under Change of Assessment, and let us know if that helps.

Have you applied for a change of assessment?

What did you ask for in the letters you wrote?

AFraid this needs a Change of Assessment - reason number 1.  I lodged one a few weeks back and the CSA bod reckons that if it is to comply with orders it has a fair chance of success.  

They will also want you to provide a statement of financial circumstances to meet the just and equitable test.  Just be aware that completing that gives the ex a free look at your current circs.
The problem as I understand it, is that if the costs are equal/split between both parents, then the CSA are likely to advise the other parent to counter the reason 1 change of assessment with a reason 1 change of assessment for their costs (one could argue that they aren't actually costs for the other parent to have contact).

I'm in this situation myself, I purchase the flights for my son, but I then reduce the CS payments by half the cost of the flights (this not being true to the court orders, which state that the changeovers alternate between residences, however we use the last paragraph in the contact section, which says "or as agreed by the parent's in writing". I did write up orders that allowed the flight but the ex didn't want to lodge the changed orders. It would simply take a disagreement by either of us to end this and revert back, not that I can see that happening.

It does seem a bit ridiculous that if I were to pay the full cost then I could claim the full amount, but as I pay half I can claim nothing (I think), not that I would likely claim.

I'm not sure about this countering costs though, as I've never tried to claim for contact costs, but I thought it was mentioned on here some months ago.

Another issue, is that I think the CSA will say they require proof of the cost, which obviously you can't have until you've paid, so this approach will, for some, actually make it impossible or financially not viable.

Again I'm not that sure and would greatly appreciate being corrected if I'm wrong.

 There is an explanation in the guide about the way to handle an application when the costs have not yet been incurred.  Hopefully GIMH544 will let us know if he can't make sense of it.

There is also a comprehensive section on the types of decisions possible, and that addresses the issues you raised around counter claims and claiming half versus claiming the whole cost.

The way you have personally gone about sharing the costs through an agreement sounds like the best option, especially since the key factor is that the costs must be over 5% of the parent's adjusted taxable income.  My understanding of your situation is that you probably would not meet that threshold, so private agreement is the fairest and easiest option.


If you think you can get over the 5% threshold and need help with an application, let us know.


The more you reveal of the many wrinkles in your case, the more convinced I become that there should be two initial assessment processes - the short one for those wanting a simple formula assessment, and a more comprehensive one where all factors as considered right from the outset, including any applicable "change of assessment" factors which would then be "additional assessment" factors for the initial assessment. Additional meaning to be considered in addition, not necessarily additional sums payable.

Unless your contact costs are over 5% your gross income, the CSA will not give you a reduction under Reason 1.  If your costs are over 5%, they then work out how much you would need to earn to pay this excess (so if you pay $1000 above the 5% and are a 50% tax payer, they would say this was $2000) and add this to your exempt income before applying the standard admin calculation.  As the COA process is long and painful, I would try to avoid this route unless your costs are significantly higher than 5%, as your reduction is likely to be minimal. 
My case would be a cinch if the CSA had collected all the relevant facts on day 1 and made a just and equitable decision.  While there are 6 reasons for variations from the assessment, 4 are spelt out very clearly in orders.  To move to a change of assessment is an absolute waste of valuable time for myself and CSA.  

My current summary of disputes is 2 current objections, one rejected objection resulting in an SSAT case, one privacy complaint on soliciting irrelevant information, change of assessment on reasons 1,2 and 8, refund of 3 non agency payments, a customer complaint and a further demand they take certain action under the legislation.  And they have only known about me since April.  

Am now working on a letters Ludwig and Coonan, Obudsman and a Privacy Commissioner complaint.  
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