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CSA new tool - that seems to fall outside the COA legislation

I have a dilema in such that I have been given 9 days to compile 4 years worth of financial records both business and company for CSA in relation to "a review of" my assessment. I will come off a COA in December that has had me paying $400+ above my current income liability to repay a debt as CSA determined that my Capacity to Earn 4 years ago was some $45,000.00 over what i actuially earn.

It took 2 years to fight and I got sick and sick of fighting and just paid the debt (under a payment arrangemnt) I still have the debt as the difference between what I had to pay $920 (liability) and what I actually pay is about (liability and payment arrangment) is about $60 - $57 of which is chewed up in late fees. CSA have taken my new income over the past 3 years (i year they took my tax return and my liability dropped to $650) the next year they determined that my income should be $65000 and it went up again. I changed job due to documented chronic fatigue from nearly 200+ hours a month working. CSA did not care.

So on a lower salary I have struggled to pay both my set liability and the arrears for 4 years. This year is the final year of a 4 year fiasco and I am due to return to the "normal" process in December - OR SO I THOUGHT!

I have just received a please provide letter complete with Asset and Liability form to provide yet again 3 years worth of company and personal details (regardless that I have been paying a higher amount and regardless of the fact that they have used int he past actual tax assessments for their formulas) and it is all disguised under a "review".

I have been ploughing through the web and can see NO legislation under "capacity to pay" that entitles them to fish for information. I do see the Capacity to Earn but that actually appears to be a formal process that CSA must follow. This document does state that CSA has the right to invoke the "get it from your bank or accountant" standard threat from CSA but does not stipulate what legislation they are using. I have read that Capacity to Pay is where CSA believes that a person is hiding their income, but for the past 3 years they have done nothing. I have asked for evidence of what they suspect but have recieved no reply -except once again the demand for the infromation iwthin 9 days.

They are asking for company credit cards statements, name and details of creditors and debtors, loan documents and other financials that my board of Directors is saying no to providing. I am a director of the company but am not the only one so provision of the information will also be providing personal infromation about other directors.  I have no access to this infomration without permission and do not see the relevance of it or how it can assist them in determining my (as they state) "true financial position of parents". We have had CSA in the past call and threaten clients with legal action if information is not supplied. But this was done under COA legislation. I am about to be dumped from the board unless i can resolve this - and CSA do not want to listen. So my financial future is being put in jepardy and I get the feeling they dont care as they will just invoke a COA and set my "taxable income" themselves.

I belive that I am being predjudiced here just because I pay child support and i operate in a company. I am a legal employee of the business, we pay all relvant taxes and report on all expenses and reporting is as per tax office requirements, we do not operate outside of tax rulings and all functions have had the "arms length" test applied to them for the tax office. I also note that CSA are engaging in Intelligence gathering using new software and am concerened that any information provided will be fed into this system to track habits that can be then used to conduct surveillance on me. How is all this legal?

Why is it that without any evidence CSA can invade a company.

Do i have any right to refuse this information as this is not a COA? Do i have the right to demand a COA and therefore due process?

Is this legal under both CSA legislation and the constitution. Is this new "capactiy to pay" just a way for CSA

Hope some one can help.
nxus,
       as you are unsure of the legality of the requested information, perhaps you should ask them under what legislation are they requesting the said information and perhaps also ask them why they are demanding information without the respect demanded of them according to the legislation that they work under, by expecting the information in an unreasonable amount of time.

Likely way beyond myself, but I would suspect that your company could not provide any information that would contravene the privacy act and perhaps for them to try to bypass the privacy act is a breech of the act in itself. Perhaps they would be able to explain how they are outside of the law and can ask for this.
I would do 4 things:

1. lodge a privacy complaint

2. make an FOI request

3. ring the ombudsmans office

4. refuse to supply the information without a full explnation of why it is required

Also, do everything in writing.
Thanks guys…

I have done all this apart from BigRed point as the OO is not open on Saturdays. Have asked both what I an company have done to make them think there is "hidden income" and have asked for legislation that relates to this, am assuming that COA will be the answer at which point will demand that they use proper COA process… afford me the 28 days and then send everything they want with black felt pen through just about every line.
and don't forget the Acts Interpretation Act allows for the course of normal mail deleivery.  Under common law that means 28 days becomes 35 days.
Am happy with the 28 days.....only need a day or 2 of it to "black out" all credit card purchases, bank statement entries and any refences to client, debtors, loans, logos... oh well lets just say I need 1 black sheet of paper, 1 photocopier - cover page with black sheet and copy. Seems all CSA do with a FOI request. I have even had CSA remove derogitory comments from COA items sent by the other party... got to love "duty of care"...

Rules of natural justice

I often quote this common law principle in dealing with the CSA. It works a treat.

"The rules of natural justice require that, when a decision may deprive a person of some right, interest or expectation of a benefit, he/she is entitled to know the case against him/her and be given the opportunity of replying to it." Lord Denning.

In your case the decision is to review you. Compliance to their request would deprive you of time, either work or social and money, egs; copying, postage, accountancy fees, etc;. It also denies you freedom of fiscal movement beyond taxation compliance without scrutiny. Therefor you are entitled to know the case against before replying. My advice is find out exactly what they are looking for and reply to only specifics, no more. (Don't provide evidence for them to build a case.)

In light of company details I would only provide details of transactions between you and the company and claim privacy re: customers, employees, etc; That if the CSA wanted their details of transactions they would have to chase up permission and you won't do their job for them. If the company has shareholders other than yourself, I would question the legitimacy of you having to providing company details when others are involved and if the CSA should be approaching the company directly.(Perhaps run this by an accountant and/or lawyer.) The CSA is a nothing but sneaky and cunning, if they can con you into providing more than necessary, they will on complaint, blame your ignorance. And your ignorance could land you in hot water.

(One thing I have discovered with the CSA, if the costs far outweigh the potential rewards, then they won't pursue. They have a budget. If one is in a position to ensure the costs will outweigh they will generally back off.)

 I successfully used the abovementioned common law principle when I was given a "review" last year for personal and business income. The CSA wanted me to provide records back to July 1, 2000, 7 years in total. Basing arguement on the principle I asked as to why I was being reviewed and was told "An interested party has made a complaint" , that under privacy laws they couldn't divulge who the party was (didn't take a brain surgeon to work this one out).

Further questioning revealed they really wanted to review two brief estimate periods, but my providing more information would "help my case" (As if.). I offered them paperwork only for these estimate periods on the proviso they provided the precise reason, exact dates and details of what they wanted in writing. That I would forward the requested paperwork 28 days after receipt. They agreed and I told them if they wanted any more they would have to get a court order.

Given the tax laws regarding record keeping I questioned them about having to produce records beyond these timelines. Their answer was, "As a CS payer, you are required to keep records from the commencement of assessments". Of course, I asked for the legislation that backed up this statement of which the officer couldn't provide, backpedaled and then stated "I believe you need to" (CSA officers are fed propaganda too.). She went on to say they will use "available paperwork" ie tax records.

Some four months later the 'review' found I had over estimated my income twice and paid more child support than I would have been assessed at.  Of course, I wouldn't see the overpayment returned, yet had I underpaid no doubt I would have had to pay the difference, probably interest and/or penalties.

As far as BigReds options go - 1, 2 & 3 take time which you may not have. Option 4 I think you will find is against legislation introduced in 2006/07.

In regards to the time factor, bluff and delay, "waiting on bank statements" "my accountants on holidays" , "trouble locating archives", etc; worked for me. Gives you time to 'review' what you send them.

" Perspective depends on which side of the barbed wire fence you sit, or indeed if you are sitting on it! "
"An interested party has made a complaint" , that under privacy laws they couldn't divulge who the party was (didn't take a brain surgeon to work this one out). Jesus!

Hope you found out who this was…. As the COA legislation state that only u, the other party and CSA have the right to invoke a COA and that under the rules they have to identify the complaint against you
Hey zoehasrights.

How do you think quoting Lord Denning has any sway?

Maybe if you quoted Sir Morris, or Lord Nambour, or 'Tash' .

Most people don't think - they just do what their boss wants them too.

Do you think if we had people who had any experience or brains that we would end up with the system we have?

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
zoehasrights why would asking why be illegal?

Moderator Note

Big Red you are no longer a new user. Would you please read the site rules and moderator policies about one liner posts.

income

nxus said
"An interested party has made a complaint" , that under privacy laws they couldn't divulge who the party was (didn't take a brain surgeon to work this one out). Jesus!

Hope you found out who this was…. As the COA legislation state that only u, the other party and CSA have the right to invoke a COA and that under the rules they have to identify the complaint against you
 

It wasn't a COA but a CSA review of my past income under the legislation that commenced last year, a review they claimed came about due to a complaint by an interested party. COA legislation was not applicable.



Jon Pearson.  My quote of Lord Denning is related to a court case that has set precedence. Denning is perhaps one of the most quoted and referenced Court of Appeal judges in the 20th century. As Australia is a commonwealth country many of his rulings have 'sway' here. His rulings have been quoted with success a number of times in the High Court of Aust.


Bigred. Non compliance would be illegal.

Last edit: by zoehasrights


" Perspective depends on which side of the barbed wire fence you sit, or indeed if you are sitting on it! "
Same situation I am in.... just a review which may lead to a COA.... or in other words we dont know anything but will trawl through your life in the hope of finding something...
nxus said
Same situation I am in…. just a review which may lead to a COA…. or in other words we dont know anything but will trawl through your life in the hope of finding something…
 

You have hit the nail on the head nxus. Be careful. Possibly I would argue that during times COA's were enforced the need for review is inapplicable and therefor the information during these periods is not required to be forwarded. If they did find something worthy, a change would render the COA's null and void, which I would question the legality.

" Perspective depends on which side of the barbed wire fence you sit, or indeed if you are sitting on it! "
Let us not forget the onus is actually on the CSA to establish that the information sought is relevant to the matter at hand.  In my view (I emphasise my view here) a COA is a 2 stage process.  Stag 1 is to test if the information is valid and a solid reason to depart from the formula.  This does not require financials.

The second part of the test is once the trigger is established is to ascertain whether it would be just and equitable to depart from the assessment.  People, the CSA has turned into one step for their own administrative convenience and these invasions of privacy need to be resisted.
Bigred said
…….. a COA is a 2 stage process.  Stag 1 is to test if the information is valid and a solid reason to depart from the formula.  This does not require financials.


The second part of the test is once the trigger is established is to ascertain whether it would be just and equitable to depart from the assessment.  People, the CSA has turned into one step for their own administrative convenience and these invasions of privacy need to be resisted.
 

Bigred… nxus is not being subjected to a COA but a back dated 'capacity to pay review'. Just like what happened to me last year. If the CSA find financial information worthy to make changes it may lead to a CSA initiated COA.

" Perspective depends on which side of the barbed wire fence you sit, or indeed if you are sitting on it! "
It is still a registrar initiated COA - reason 8.  Capacity to pay is just a CSA term for looking for grounds for a backward COA.   For the subject it could be a daunting expereince I imagine.  From my reading a lot of these are happening becuase they arent finding enough easy cases to justify the $$$ the Howard govt gave them.
BigRed… unfortunately this is true… confusing but true. Capacity to Pay from what I understand is being bandied to redily to possibly looking at adding it as another reason under the COA Act.

That is Reason 9 or 10 etc. etc
ANd my point here is if they open the door make sure they do it on solid grounds, and if they seek to change your liability retrospectively you need to tally up all the other reasons why your liability is too high.  Always answer a question with at least one question and make it drag on and on. If tey don't answer your questions make a customer complaint or a privacy complaint.  You have rights - exercise them all.   And do it politely.  
yes and I will make sure that they present a full and unedited account of ALL my payments, adjustment for the retrospective years….and the interview will be a full accounting of all CSA decisions over the past 3 years…. if they can review me, then I will return the favour….

oh and regardless of what they state, will be taking my lawyer with me…. wont be coerced into giving away any info again. In light of any rule of law… the grounds under Capacity to Pay state that a person assessed under these grounds is viewed as being in breach of the act… and as such is entitled to representation due to possible incrimination.
Just a hint here in dealing with the CSA at interview, whether its's for a COA or other reason. Don't let them set a time limit, you demand the time you estimate when confirming the appointment. I know with COA's the CSA try to restrict each parent to 45 - 60 mins. Under legislation you have a right to be heard in full, so if you think it will take say two hours, request as much. They will resist, suggest you forward everything in writing prior to, but if you escalate it with reason, you will be be granted your limit. My last COA was 2.5 hrs.

" Perspective depends on which side of the barbed wire fence you sit, or indeed if you are sitting on it! "
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