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My Husband started a small business last year with another person on advise of their accountant they both set up family trusts to protect their families should the worst happen being sued or insolvency.  Last week we where sent an assets and liabilities form by CSA as according to them my husbands name came up from Tax records because he has an ABN and is a business owner.

Having initially been told that the Ex would receive the fairly detail information they requested as well I told then that we wouldn't be giving them anything other than tax return information if that is the case as we have been receiving threats from the Ex and their is no telling what she could or would do with any sensitive personal or company information .  Then all of a sudden its not the case the information is kept by them …. seems a bit suspect to me.  They said that they would need to fill in the form send it in along with his personal bank statements for the last three months and other supporting statements/documents. Thats all fine as long as they keep the information to themselves.


The information they wanted from his business sent me I have been trawling through the Child Support Act trying to find out if they can legally request all that information on a joint ownership company it is a proprietary limited company.

They want bank statement for the last three months for his joint partnership company, the Annual financial statements for the previous tax year and this tax year we are currently in. 
I am not too sure how we are supposed to provide a Annual financial statment for this current tax year as it is still in progress so you can't send them something that does not exist.

I have not come across any part of the act that says they can do this or I possibly did not understand the part of the act that allows them to do this.  Would somebody be able to shed some light on the subject or point me to relevant part of the Child Support Act that (that I have probably already read) allows them to request this as I would have thought they should have to ask both of the people involved in the business partnership for the information as my husband is not the sole owner and therefore cannot give out sensitive company information without the permission of the other person involved.

Thank you for your time.
I think that section 161 of the Child Support Assessment Act is the relevant section, this says :-

Section 161 of the Child Support Assessment Act said
161  Obtaining of information and evidence
   (1)   The Registrar may, where it is reasonably necessary for the purposes of this Act, by written notice, require a person:
   (a)   to give to the Registrar, within a reasonable period (being a period of not less than 7 days), and in a reasonable manner, specified in the notice, such information as the Registrar requires; and
   (b)   to attend before the Registrar, or before an officer authorised by the Registrar for the purpose, at a reasonable time and place specified in the notice, and then and there answer questions; and
   ©   to produce to the Registrar, at a reasonable time and place specified in the notice, any documents in the custody or under the control of the person.
   (2)   The regulations must prescribe scales of expenses to be allowed to persons required to attend under this section.
   (3)   A person who refuses or fails to comply with a requirement made under subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months.
   (3A)   Subsection (3) applies only to the extent to which the person is capable of complying with the requirement.
   (3B)   Subsection (3) does not apply if the person has a reasonable excuse.
   (3C)   Subsection (3) is an offence of strict liability.
   (4)   It is a reasonable excuse for a person to refuse or fail to comply with a requirement under subsection (1) if complying with the requirement may tend to incriminate the person.
   (6)   This section does not apply in relation to a person:
   (a)   in respect of whom an international maintenance arrangement applies; and
   (b)   who is a resident of a reciprocating jurisdiction.

The CSA will most likely refer to the Guide and here's what I think is the relevant section of the guide :-


The CSA Guide - Section 6.2.3: Information gathering powers under the Assessment Act said

6.2.3: Information gathering powers under the Assessment Act

Version 2.0, Last updated 17 March 2008 5:00pm
Information in this version of The Guide applies from 1 July 2008
Refer to the previous Scheme Guide for information until 30 June 2008

Context

CSA has statutory powers to obtain information for the purposes of making and varying child support assessments.

Legislative references

Sections 160, 161 and 162A Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989

Regulation 10 Child Support (Assessment) Regulations 1989

Explanation

CSA can give a notice to a person requiring them to notify CSA within 14 days, and in the manner specified in the notice (section 160), if:

    * a specified event or change of circumstances happens; or
    * the person becomes aware that a specified event or change of circumstances is likely to happen.

Only events that might affect the payment of child support or the rate at which it is payable can be specified in the notice.

CSA can also require a person to:

    * provide information (section 161(1)(a));
    * attend and answer questions (section 161(1)(b)); and
    * produce documents (section 161(1)©).

These powers must be exercised for the purposes of the Assessment Act.

Example

CSA must not use the powers contained in the Assessment Act to obtain information to enforce payment.

A person who is required to attend under section 161(1)(b) (other than a payer, payee, or their representative) is entitled to expenses (section 161(2) and regulation 10).

A notice must give the person a reasonable time to comply. What is a reasonable time will depend on the type and extent of the information sought. CSA will not collect information that is not necessary for its purposes or intrudes unreasonably on a persons privacy (see information about the Privacy Act).

Whilst it can be appropriate to seek information from other departments via informal arrangements, a notice can be issued to another government department. However, there will be instances where secrecy provisions and/or privacy obligations will prevent other departments from disclosing information in the absence of legal authority to do so.

A notice must also be properly served on the person (see chapter 6.7).

Obtaining information from residents of reciprocating jurisdictions

Where a person is or was resident in a reciprocating jurisdiction, and CSA does not have sufficient information to determine that persons overseas income, CSA may send a notice to the person to to the relevant overseas authority requesting any information or documents that are necessary to enable the persons overseas income to be determined (section 162A(1)).

Where the payer or payee is resident overseas in a reciprocating jurisdiction, a notice can be given to the person who is resident overseas or to the overseas authority in the relevant reciprocating jurisdiction requesting them to notify CSA within 60 days and in the manner specified in the notice (section 162A(2)), if:

    * a specified event or change of circumstances happens; or
    * the person becomes aware that a specified event or change of circumstances is likely to happen.

Only events that might affect the payment of child support or the rate at which it is payable can be specified in the notice (section 162A(3)).

The CSA have to provide the other parent the information that they gather to allow them fairness, however they also have to adhere to the Privacy Act, which I believe only applies to personal information not business information. The whole area is very complex as it would appear that this would be CSA initiated change of assessment (see section 2.6.6 of the Guide and the underlying legislation).

A word of warning, the CSA, when making change of assessments have been known to do some very scurrilous things e.g. I know of two examples where after their accounting practices have been shown to be grossly flawed (over inflated), they then resorted to manipulating years old business loan applications to conjure up income that matched the successfully contested flawed accounting.

The CSA Guide can be found at The CSA Guide
How about this section from the R&C act. The definitions specify that a "person" includes a company.



CHILD SUPPORT (REGISTRATION AND COLLECTION) ACT 1988 - SECT 120

Obtaining of information and evidence

             (1)  The Registrar may, for the purposes of this Act, by notice in writing, require a person:

                     (a)  to furnish to the Registrar, within a reasonable period, and in a reasonable manner, specified in the notice, such information as the Registrar requires;

                     (b)  to attend before the Registrar, or before an officer authorised by the Registrar for the purpose, at a reasonable time and place specified in the notice, and then and there answer questions; and


                     ©  to produce to the Registrar, at a reasonable time and place specified in the notice, any documents in the custody or under the control of the person.

          (1A)  A court having jurisdiction under this Act may, in a proceeding instituted in the court by a payee of a registered maintenance liability under section 113A to recover a debt due in relation to the liability, exercise all the powers of the Registrar under subsection (1).

             (2)  The regulations shall prescribe scales of expenses to be allowed to persons required to attend under this section.

             (3)  A person who refuses or fails to comply with a requirement made under subsection (1), or by a court in accordance with subsection (1A), is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding $2,000.

             (4)  Subsection (3) applies only to the extent to which the person is capable of complying with the requirement.

             (5)  Subsection (3) is an offence of strict liability.

             (6)  This section does not apply in relation to a person:

                     (a)  in respect of whom an international maintenance arrangement applies; and


                     (b)  who is a resident of a reciprocating jurisdiction.
I suggest you and hubby make an appointmnet with local CSA and go and ask them to explain why they need to information.  Hint: juniour public servants often ask for information they don't need because they don't understand what they are doing.  Be honest, answer any questions and be reasonable while looking after your own rights.
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