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View topic: Repayment of CSA Overpayments – Family Law Web Guide
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Repayment of CSA Overpayments

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I received a call from the CSA recently telling me that due to recent changes in legislation coming into affect in June (I think), I may have to pay back thousands of dollars because they used a default income for my ex, as he had not put in a tax return for years, and now he has skipped the country.

My son is over 18 now and I thought I would not have to deal with the CSA again. It is unfortunate that I had to deal with them at all as I did try my best to negotiate with my former husband without them.

I was in shock when they started with… you have been overpaid by x dollars. I didn't understand the full story as I was in a panic but I suspect that he owes tax and now the gov't is going to try to get their money back through me.

They did say that they will try to contact him o/s to see if he will GIFT the money to me! He has a new family and a new life and because my son elected not to go with him he chose to have no further contact with him. Can anyone shed some light on the CSA legislation they are talking about?
Hi Rosa

What a horrible shock for you! I can't shed any light on the situation and will leave that to those who can however can I suggest that you request the CSA to also put their request in writing and not just over the phone. This will put you in a much stronger position should you choose to fight their claim on the grounds of your ex husbands lack of compliance.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
Thanks for your reply Jadzia,

I thought it odd afterwards that the CSA  did not  put something as serious as this in writing to start with, it certainly wasn't a great way to start my working day! After my initial horror I went into denial hoping the matter would resolve itself; also I just didn't believe that this could be a real gov't policy in this day and age. When I suggested that I should contact a solicitor immediately, the CSA staff member said it was pointless as yet because they would try to contact my former husband first, that was a few weeks ago now and I haven't heard from them yet and as you can see by today's entry, it does play on my mind periodically.

It's just awful that the CSA confirmed their incompetence in both overcharging him and giving you too much money.

Think of the damage to him and his ability to meet his own costs? Who is going to recompense him?

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Next time C$A contact you by phone, do not discuss anything with them but tell them to put it in writing. That way you will have a record of exactly what they are on about and you will have something to show your solicitor or someone to help you make sense of it.

Jon how do you know they overcharged him? He hasn't put in a tax return in years and obviously hasn't complained about the amount requested from CSA. Regardless of this any request from them should be in writing so it can be dealt with fairly for ALL parties concerned.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
I think it is unfortunate that anyone needs to resort to dealing with a third party at all to sort out supporting children and unfortunately all parties suffer.

I'm going to spare you the details of the situation but Jadzia is correct, in these cases nothing can be assumed. There are different sides to every story and I'll spare you the details of mine but the most important thing I can say to anyone who finds themself in a broken family is to put the child/children first, and keep all communication lines open, children need both parents throughout their lives.

I'm particularly interested to know if anyone knows about this impending piece of legislation?
Uhhm as the CSA only act as an agent and do not actually pay, then I'm surprised that they are saying this, especially as by all accounts generally the opposite is the case, that is that they generally refuse to seek to redress overpayments and as I understand it they in fact go to great lengths to avoid such redress.

The handling of Liam McGill's case comes to mind where they likely spent hundreds of thousands, if not millions protecting their right not to redress Liam for the $70,000 that he won in compensation for not being the father of children he was made to pay CS for.

I've done a search through both the assessment and the registration and collection acts, for overpay, excess and refund. The latter being the only one that got any hits, 4 of them, all in section 72 of the latter act, but I don't know if this is relevant or not :
CS Registration and Collections Act 1988 said
72 Application of certain amounts to debts under this Act

(1) If, apart from this section:

a) the Commissioner would be required under section 8AAZLF of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 to refund an amount
(the refund amount) to a person (the creditor); and

b) the creditor owes a debt to the Commonwealth under this Act;
then, despite anything contained in any law of the Commonwealth apart from this Act (including section 8AAZLF of the Taxation Administration Act 1953):
c) the Registrar may require the Commissioner, at a particular time, to pay an amount to the Registrar not exceeding the lesser of the refund amount and the debt; and

d) if the Registrar so requires, the Commissioner must, as soon as practicable, pay the required amount to the Registrar.

(2) If the Commissioner pays an amount to the Registrar under subsection (1), the Registrar must:

a) apply the amount against the debt of the creditor; or

b) if the debt has been paid in full after the time mentioned in paragraph (1)c - pay the amount to the creditor; or

c) if the debt has been paid in part after the time mentioned in paragraph (1)c:

(i) apply the amount against the debt of the creditor; and

(ii) if, after the amount has been applied, the debt has been paid in full, pay any excess to the creditor.

(3) If the Commissioner pays an amount to the Registrar under subsection (1), the amount that the Commissioner is required to refund under section 8AAZLF of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 to the person is taken to be reduced by the amount paid to the Registrar immediately after the amount is paid.
However, I'm not at all conversant with reading legislation.

I'd suggest that you follow Jadzia's advice and get them to put it in writing asking them to explain under what part/sections of the legislation that they are acting.
Rosa, you may call me paranoid, but is it possible someone is trying to pull your leg here?

I would call CSA and get them to put their issues to you in writing (if they indeed exist), as everyone else has said.

Once you can calmly read and absorb what CSA is asking of you, you can proceed from there.


Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Many thanks to all who have replied I will get something from them in writing.
Good luck Rosa, and I hope this turns out to be a storm in a teacup for you.

The only time I've had a problem with overpayment to the government was Centrelink, because my income changed and I did not notify them quickly enough.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Jadzia.

The CSA system is very straightforward - it uses income estimates and tax returns to calculate MONEY to GIVE to the PAYEE from the PAYER. If the CSA got it wrong and have advised verbally to a client that they will have to repay money - that would suggest the other person has paid TOO MUCH. It's a formula.

I'm not sure what the issue is.

Is the issue that because he didn't complain about something he may not have known about that that's OK?

Or that because he did not put in a Tax Return (and there are TAX LAWS which describe the circumstances about when you have to submit a Tax return) that he somehow needs to PAY MORE?

Or is it that because he is overseas he should be treated like a criminal?

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
I am not suggesting he pays more Jon. I merely pointed out that he has accepted the amount to be paid based on an estimate of his wages made by CSA. An estimate forced by the lack of Tax Returns. He would have received letters from the CSA, has made payments and cannot claim ignorance of such (would you fail to notice missing $$ out of your pay).

Rosa2 has posted in here looking for advise to deal with her issue with CSA not debate wether her ex has been shafted by CSA or not and we don't need to digress into that do we?

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
It is typical of the CSA to mess people's lives up and unfortunate that Rosa is in a negative situation, not of her own making.

Rosa's issue, on the surface, would appear to be that she has been overpaid money from the child's father via the CSA and is being requested to repay that money.  She needs to get clarification of that, and details, in writing from the CSA.  If it is the case that she has been overpaid then she will need to comply with the repayment advice.  I do understand her feelings on this because, as stated above, we shouldn't be expected to be experts in the child support process and procedures; she was just minding her own business and "pow" the CSA slap her with this.
Jadzia said
 I am not suggesting he pays more Jon.
I'm reading your responses Jadzia as implying that the father shouldn't get a refund, which essentially means that you are suggesting he pays more than he should.
Jadzia said
I merely pointed out that he has accepted the amount to be paid based on an estimate of his wages made by CSA. An estimate forced by the lack of Tax Returns. He would have received letters from the CSA, has made payments and cannot claim ignorance of such (would you fail to notice missing $$ out of your pay).
He can claim ignorance of all the CSA nonsense.  He should not be expected to be an expert in the child support legislation and system.  Some might chose to be and that is their choice.  Why should a father be expected to know that child support is connected - by the Federal Government - with the taxation system.  Many fathers overpay due to the bias, vagries and inefficiences of the CSA.
Jadzia said
Rosa2 has posted in here looking for advise to deal with her issue with CSA not debate whether her ex has been shafted by CSA or not and we don't need to digress into that do we?
It IS a Federal Government and the CSA responsibility that they connect and involve the taxation system with child support and seek to impose that on payers.  If the CSA gets it wrong due to its processes and procedures then it IS relevant to talk about the CSA and it's actions and performance.

I'm a bit taken aback by your comment about digression, given how so many other topics on this forum quickly digress, and that you are one of the people involved in some of those digressions.  I struggle to understand why it's OK for some topics to digress but others not.  And that you do have not complained about those digressions.

Personally, I feel each thread should stick closely to the initiating topic, and if people identify a related issue they want to share they should start a new thread.  In this case Jon may have been better to start a new topic/thread.  Sisyphus has have touched on the issues of topic creep and being off-topic.
Jon Pearson said
Jadzia.

The CSA system is very straightforward - it uses income estimates and tax returns to calculate MONEY to GIVE to the PAYEE from the PAYER. If the CSA got it wrong and have advised verbally to a client that they will have to repay money - that would suggest the other person has paid TOO MUCH. It's a formula.

I'm not sure what the issue is.

Is the issue that because he didn't complain about something he may not have known about that that's OK?

Or that because he did not put in a Tax Return (and there are TAX LAWS which describe the circumstances about when you have to submit a Tax return) that he somehow needs to PAY MORE?

Or is it that because he is overseas he should be treated like a criminal?
No one is suggesting he be treated like a criminal.

It appears he was over assessed because he did not put in a Tax Return - what the Father does know is that he should put in a Tax return (wherever he works or lives) - unless he is working overseas and is confused about an Overseas lodgement. Possibly the payment was being collected from 'overseas'.

To date the most sensible advice is that Rosa waits for the CSA to put it in writing - that way; there is no way for the CSA to seek an 'easy out' for themselves by somebody verbally agreeing to something they have few details of.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Jadzia - no-one is suggesting the ex was shafted - this discussions is about overpayments - I don't think anyone was suggesting that he agreed with what was taken out either. You expressed shock that someone who was overpaid money actually had to repay it.

I find that position a little strange - as it seems quite a fundamental legal principle.

Without having the full details of the case its hard to see - but I assume if they were happy and had made private arrangements then CSA WOULD NOT BE INVOLVED. One can only assume that money was taken - probably forcibly, by CSA.

I am surprised that you don't seem to appreciate the impact of that lost money on the father and his new family as you seem to be concerned about the impact of the mother having to repay the money - are you suggesting that the child support formula is wrong?

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Jon Pearson said
One can only assume that money was taken - probably forcibly, by CSA.
Jon,

Some balance please.

'Forcibly' and in a previous post 'being treated like a criminal' are pretty emotive words since the original topic starter has yet to get back with more details.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

The Force / Enforcement of the State

"Force" is at the very basis of what the CSA does … sort of like it's reason for being: they forcibly take money from people.

If it was otherwise, and Dads wanted to pay for children forcibly removed from them against their will, and that enforced by the State (police, courts, govt depts), then those Dads would be voluntarily making the payments.

But not many people want to pay for what is a) stolen from them,  and b) not guaranteed to be used only for the benefit of his children.

So the State created the CSA to enforce child support collection.
Agog - there is balance.

The topic has eloquently been discussed on this thread. The question is about ROSA's personal situation but also about CSA processes. Quite clearly there are simple matters of competence of CSA but also the impact on the people involved.

Some posters have focussed on the impact on ROSA . I OFFERED balance by looking at the impact on the other "victims".

The question of basic legal principles to do with money seems straight forward. The questions is do you deny those principles to people based on some sort of assumption that the person is some sort of criminal and therefore to be denied any rights. Is that the logic that some people use? That was the question. It seems a fairly simple and unbiased question. I am sorry anyone misunderstood and assumed I was being "emotive". I hope this clears up that issue.

It also seems to be that the discussion of the instance that a story represents also allows for discussion on the law, the principles, the impacts and related issues (without going too far off the track). AGOG are you saying that some other sort of conversation should take place - I'm not quite sure what your preferred model for everyone is.

I recognise that a number of people and groups have their own sensitivities - I have no desire to personally attack or upset anyone.

And once again , I make it quite clear, I was not being "emotive" simply pointing out the issues. I didn't think "Criminal" or "forcibly" were emotive terms so I APOLOGISE if anyone was upset or confused by my post.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
From what you have said Rosa, I think you should object to their decision, on the grounds that it is not your mistake but theirs.

Your ex hasn't lodged tax returns for years, which is against the law anyway, and if the CSA are collecting on your behalf, it is their responsibility (their duty of care) to see that they are collecting the right amount from your ex.

I cannot see where the CSA got an overpayment from if they still don't have your ex's tax from years back.
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