Donate Child Support Calculator
Skip navigation

tax return csa information

My husband did make a tax return 07/08 a while ago and csa send his ex a letter saying how much he should pay childsupport. But they have a privat agreement and no one of them applied for childsupport or for the privat agreement through csa ever. So how come they just send her a letter like this? She was angry saying oh did u try to pay less and apply through csa. Everyone got a bit confused. We never recieved anything from csa. They told her he would have to pay 1200 monthly but they don't know the ammount of care he has or what he pays for. So she gets information send about what he earns and how much he should pay. We did not recieve anything with her tax return. Why do they send those letters to her? Can u do something against it? I mean it's ok if both enrol childsupport through csa and have am assesment. But they don't. So how do they have the right to send her a figure without knowing how much progeny of care he has? Can someone tell me what happened? His ex is thinking he trys to pay less and gives me stress paying those extra 200 bucks even though he pays 1500 overall including travel costs. And my husband is worried to lodge his tax return as he doesn't want to get in trouble and long disgustions with her again. So how does that work? No one gave details to csa before.
Secnodwife, if neither parent has applied for CS, then I believe the CSA have breached the privacy laws. I'd suggest that you (the parent) ask them to provide the application for the assessment that was made. If they cannot then you should make a complaint to the CSA, also to the ombudsman and also to the privacy commissioner. Perhaps you should also seek compensation from the CSA for the breach of duty, for the breach of privacy. You may also be able to seek compensation from the commonwealth through what is termed as CDDA ('Compensation for detriment caused by defective administration') for the defective administration.

Perhaps have a read of the following :-

The CSA Guide - 6.11.1: Compensation said
6.11.1: Compensation

Version 2.1, Last updated 30 June 2008 9:00pm
Information in this version of The Guide applies from 1 July 2008
Refer to the previous Scheme Guide for information until 30 June 2008


If a customer suffers a loss due to inadequate service or advice CSA will do all that it can to redress the issue and remedy the loss. Compensation may be payable where there is no other remedy available.

CSA will advise customers when its actions or inaction have caused them to suffer a loss and it appears that compensation could be payable. An invitation to apply for compensation does not, in itself, constitute an admission of liability, nor does it guarantee that compensation will be paid.

Legislative references

Privacy Act 1988

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, section 33

Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1977, regulation 9

Discretionary Compensation Mechanisms, Department of Finance and Deregulation Finance Circular 2006/5

Commonwealth policy for handling monetary claims (Attorney General, December 1997)


There are a number of reasons why compensation may be payable by a Commonwealth agency such as CSA. CSA may pay compensation if:

    * it would be likely to be found to have a legal liability to pay compensation;
    * there has been a breach of privacy;
    * its administration has been defective; or
    * an act of grace payment is appropriate.

If compensation is payable, CSA will compensate for loss suffered as a result of its action/inaction.

Further information is available about:

    * How to make a claim; and
    * Settlement of claims.

Legal liability

If a decision maker believes that a court would be likely to find CSA liable for negligence, CSA will consider trying to settle the matter. CSA may try to avoid unnecessary litigation by offering an appropriate amount as compensation.

The most usual claim for legal liability is a claim of negligence. The concept of negligence is not defined or regulated by legislation. Ultimately a court must decide whether or not a legal liability for negligence exists. The circumstances which give rise to negligence are generally serious. Provided that CSA has acted reasonably and in good faith it will be rare that its actions will constitute negligence.

Three elements are needed to establish a legal liability for negligence:

A legal duty of care;

A breach of the duty of care; and

Loss or detriment suffered as a direct result of the breach.

Duty of care

Whether a duty existed will depend on the circumstances of each case. However, a legal duty of care does not equate to any general obligation or responsibility to be careful. A duty to exercise reasonable care arises where it is reasonably foreseeable that a customer may suffer some harm as a result of CSA's advice or actions. A duty does not exist if a person seeks general advice or where the reasons for seeking compensation are sufficiently remote from CSA's actions or involvement.

A legal duty of care can be expressly excluded by statutory provisions.


Section 91 of the Assessment Act provides that CSA can act on the basis of an application for acceptance of an agreement and accompanying documents without conducting any further investigations.

Legislation may also provide specific remedies in particular circumstances, such as a right of review or appeal.


Section 107 of the Assessment Act gives a payer the right to seek a declaration from a court that they are not a person from whom child support can be sought.

Where a right of review exists, courts have ruled that the exercise of the power in good faith will not give rise to a legal duty of care. In these cases, using the right of review is the appropriate remedy provided the customer was made aware that the remedy existed.

Breach of duty

A lapse on CSA's part does not necessarily mean a breach of duty. Negligence is a failure to meet a standard of care that a court considers to be reasonable in the circumstances.

Whether or not a breach occurred is often determined hypothetically by considering what a 'reasonable person' would have done in similar circumstances.


It is not unreasonable to assume that any competent officer processing a large number of forms may make one error in the processing of one form.

Loss or detriment

The loss suffered must be direct and foreseeable and a result of a breach of a duty of care. There has to be a causal link between the loss suffered and CSA's actions, and the loss must be in the nature of something which CSA should have reasonably known or expected to occur.

The types of loss or detriment which may be compensable are set out below.


Loss is the damage or detriment suffered by the claimant as a result of the wrongdoing claimed.

Financial or 'pure' economic losses are relatively straightforward and readily quantifiable. They can include:

    * actual costs incurred (legal costs, out of pocket expenses, travel costs, medical expenses);
    * loss of wages for necessary time off work; and
    * loss of opportunity to receive money, or interest incurred on money borrowed.

In relation to loss of opportunity to have child support collected, a claimant must demonstrate that they have lost a real opportunity, not merely a speculative one. The likelihood of recovery or amounts already recovered must also be taken into account.

Losses in relation to personal injury can be physical or psychological. Medical evidence will almost always be necessary to establish the extent of the injury and to prove that it occurred as a direct result of CSA's actions.

A claim for non-economic loss cannot stand alone. It must be related (or consequential) to some other form of loss (aggravated damages). Claims for non-financial loss can take many forms, but can include such things as stress, distress, vexation, anger and embarrassment.

Amounts payable for personal injury and non-financial loss will be considered carefully in accordance with legal precedents, principle and practice.

In assessing the type and extent of any loss, CSA may also consider to what extent, if any, the claimant contributed to the loss, or what reasonable steps they took to minimise or contain the loss. Did the claimant tell CSA about the loss as soon as they were able? Where a claimant caused, contributed to or was able to avoid a loss, a portion or all of that loss may be attributed to the claimant.

Breach of privacy

The Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act) requires that agencies like CSA observe strict privacy safeguards in handling personal information. These obligations are legally enforceable.

If the Privacy Commissioner upholds a complaint under the Privacy Act he can award a specified amount of compensation. This amount is recoverable from the Commonwealth. It can include reasonable expenses incurred in making the complaint and compensation for injury to personal feelings or humiliation.

Where a decision maker feels that the Privacy Commissioner would be likely to find that CSA is legally liable for a breach of privacy, CSA can try to settle the matter by offering an appropriate amount as compensation.

Defective administration

The Commonwealth has a scheme called 'Compensation for detriment caused by defective administration' (sometimes called the CDDA scheme) that was established in 1995. It provides an alternative method of compensating customers who have been adversely affected by the administration of Commonwealth agencies where no legal liability exists. A legal liability is only likely to arise in the most serious of cases.

The scheme is administrative only. It is not regulated by legislation. The criteria and limitations for paying compensation under the scheme are set out in the Department of Finance and Deregulation Finance Circular 2006/5.

Compensation for defective administration may be paid where CSA:

    * unreasonably failed to follow appropriate procedures;
    * unreasonably failed to institute appropriate procedures in the first place;
    * gave incorrect or ambiguous advice; or
    * unreasonably failed to give advice that should have been given.

The scheme:

    * does not apply where there is a legal liability; and
    * cannot be used to offset debts owed to the Commonwealth.

The Secretary of the Department of Human Services or an authorised officer can make a decision to pay an amount for defective administration. The decision maker does not have to approve a payment, but the decision to approve or refuse a payment must be publicly defensible.

Act of grace payments

An act of grace payment is a special 'gift' of money from the Commonwealth which may be made where there is no other right of redress available, but there remains some moral obligation on the Commonwealth to satisfy the claimant.

Act of grace payments are extremely rare. One of the principles in establishing the defective administration scheme was to ensure that an act of grace payment was not sought simply as another method of compensation where no legal liability existed. The criteria for act of grace payments are set out in the Department of Finance and Deregulation Finance Circular 2006/5.

Circumstances where an act of grace payment may be appropriate are where:

    * the application of the legislation produces unintended, anomalous, inequitable, unjust or otherwise unacceptable results in particular circumstances;
    * the matter is not covered by legislation but it is intended to introduce such legislation and it is considered desirable in the particular case to apply the benefits of the proposed legislation retrospectively by act of grace; or
    * the particular circumstances of the case lead to the conclusion that there is a moral obligation on the Commonwealth to make a payment.

The Minister for Finance and authorised officials of the Department of Finance (DoFA) can approve act of grace payments (section 33, Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997). CSA can only make proposals in relation to act of grace payments.

How to make a claim

If a customer believes that they are entitled to compensation they need to state in writing:

    * what happened;
    * why they believe CSA's actions caused them to suffer a loss; and
    * what that loss was i.e. where possible quantify the loss and give evidence such as receipts, invoices or medical reports.

A claim is managed and investigated by a Compensation Officer. The Compensation Officer is a point of liaison with a customer whilst a claim is being considered.

Each claim will be evaluated and decided on its merits by authorised officers. CSA will use Commonwealth policies and guidelines to make the decision. The customer will be given reasons for the decision.

CSA aims to advise customers of the outcome of their claim within six weeks of receiving the claim. The Compensation Officer will advise the customer if this timeframe cannot be met.

Settlement of claims

CSA can only spend public monies in the ways specified by the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and Regulations. Regulation 9 requires any expenditure to be in accordance with Commonwealth policy. The policy for payment of legal claims is set out in the Commonwealth Policy for Handling Monetary Claims. The principles for deciding and settling claims are set out in Attachment A of the policy The Commonwealth as a model litigant.

The factors that must be taken into account are:

    * the likelihood of success of the claim in court;
    * costs of defending the claim; and
    * any other prejudice in defending the claim.

External legal advice must be obtained where CSA intends to pay more than $25,000 in settlement of a claim.

Full and final settlement can only be made on the basis of a deed of release indemnifying the Commonwealth against owing any further liability for that particular matter.

In settling claims for defective administration the Commonwealth should not take advantage of its relative position of strength. The decision making process and the decision have to be transparent. Claimants should be advised of adequate details of any offer. They should not be required to waive all of their rights if a partial settlement offer is made and they should be advised that the Ombudsman can review the decision.

Secretary_SPCA, if the CSA are touting to increase the amounts collected or transferred in this way, disregarding parents coming to their own agreements and potentially causing unnecessary conflict, then I believe such activity must be stopped. As can be seen from the writings of Secondwife, such unsolicited interference can very easily result in the deprivation of a child's or children's humane rights.
There was no assesment made at all his ex did not and we did not. Maybe I don't understand as I am not Aussie English isn't my mother language. If that's so I am sorry. But they just send her what he would has to pay and what he earns after he did his tax return. The letter is clearly from the csa. That's the first tax return he did after they got devirced. So first we thought its the tax appartment but she said it was from the csa. Now we are in hell as she thinks we tried to go through csa to pay less. A similiar thing happened to a friends ex wife recurving support in a verbal agreement but she actually tried to find out if age would get more and asked csa but never did make an assesment.
Secondwife, I believe that there was likely no assessment (application for CS). So in response to the letter you ask them to show you the application (there won't be an application).

When they can't provide the application ,then that is proof that there was no application and thus the proof that the CSA have breached your husband's privacy, breached their duty and have been defective in their administration.

With that proof, I believe that you then have the right to complain bitterly as a breach of privacy is a very serious matter and as happened defective administration can have serious implications, very easily potentially resulting in inhumane child abuse.
My husband will call them and ask them. He wants to do his new tax and doesn't want them to send any information as his ex is going to be a pain again for the next few month then as she thinks she should get more even though he pays the full travel costs of 300-500 and her 10000 part of the loan over a few years. They tool the loan together she pays 1/3 he pays 2/3 but she kept it all so the difference for her stuff on top is ten grand. Anyway she still thinks she should get the whole ammohnt they asssest without them knowing the level of care or those things. And the worst she gets the kids involved saying daddy doesn't give her enough money for them to have their own room holiday and stuff. All after that letter.
Quite frankly, from the sounds of it, I'd have your partner apply for an assessment, and have CSA take over the payments - it sounds like a mess and if you can both explain that the government decides how much daddy pays and when it is paid - then the kids would understand that it is no longer something for mum to be getting upset about.
From what you have said - he would end up paying a little less in the child support - the loan thing i think would have to be a separate thing unless they both agreed to it being part of the assessment.
Wiccapixie, the problem with what you advise, is that Secondwife and her husband are, I believe, fearful of the actions that the other parent would take. I believe I read that the all too usual and frequent, denial of contact, threat has been implied or made. It's very easy to be "matter of fact" and from such a stance I'd applaud your advice, however I believe it would be very hard for those that have not suffered the damage such a realistic threat does, to understand the devastation or power of such a threat and from the stance of considering that threat(s) as factors I would stay well away from taking that action until the possibility of the threat being enacted is removed or can be countered.

In this situation I'd personally investigate getting court orders covering care first (I think I recall that not being the case, sorry if I got it wrong) and then proceed to the CS issue. In fact calmly explaining that you are paying over and above in CS and other matters, could be an advantage in regard to court orders, demand as such could be disadvantageous for the other parent.
Mike T - Yes I was being simplistic, I also assumed that court orders regarding visitation were already in place.
Yes I would also get the FL matters in place as soon as possible, and agree with what you said… I'd love your opinion on my own situation….

View topic: Help with objection to CSA - Family Law Web Guide
1 guest and 0 members have just viewed this.

Recent Tweets