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Change of Assessment application

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I had made a post but was asked to edit to make it easier to read and add further information, but I was not able to edit my last post so hope it is ok to re post.

In December last year I applied for change of assessment as my ex's taxable income is now reduced to 17,000 so in turn the amount of child support he was paying is now an over payment and will be in credit for nearly two years if working with his taxable income.  

So the CSA gave me the option of the change of assessment using reason 8 after some consideration I choose to applied as he owns his own business and pays himself a very minimum wages to avoid paying child support, but has continually told me the business is making so much money and he even admits that this is why he want to have his own business, to avoid paying child support as much as he can.  

I have heard from CSA and they have told me I will be having the case worker assigned to the case ring me the first week of April.  So I am  wanting to be prepared as much as possible and wondering if there is any advise that can help me prepare.  

My taxable income is 48 000 and I have 100% care as he only has my daughter when it suits him.  He did actually try and have the care percentage change as he was trying to say he had the 52 nights of care per year.  I obviously disputed this and was told to get statements from friends/family they both knew my daughter and I and what they believed the care to be.  He was asked to do the same but never provided any statements so the care percentage remained unchanged.

I am not wanting or expect an assessment that is out of reach I am just looking for a fair and equitable assessment as I don't think the current assessment of $30 a month is fair.

While he was paying 70 per a week in the financial year that he had a taxable income of 17, 000 he was able to purchase a shack at 190,000, a motor bike and another car.  He uses a credit card to fund holidays and all expenses such as phone, internet, petrol and then the business pays for the credit card bill.  These are some the things I was told that the CSA will take into consideration along with his ability to pay himself more in wages.

I am not sure what to expect when the case worker assigned calls me.  I am open to hear of any advise or others experiences.

Thanks
I would suggest you jsut be honest with CSA and ask lots of questions. Provide as much proof as you can, real proof to assist their enquiries.

Good luck

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure"
Bubbles said
I had made a post but was asked to edit to make it easier to read and add further information, but I was not able to edit my last post so hope it is ok to re post.
That's much better, thank you. I will lock or delete the other post (done).

Bubbles said
I have heard from CSA and they have told me I will be having the case worker assigned to the case ring me the first week of April.  So I am  wanting to be prepared as much as possible and wondering if there is any advise that can help me prepare.
My understanding is that a new process has been introduced, after trials, that an SCO (Senior Case Officer) should contact you within 3 weeks. The first part of the process to see if there are grounds to continue, basically that the "special circumstances" exist. If my understanding is correct, this process will normally be done by staff lower in the chain than the SCO.

I believe that the CSA are losing ground work-wise and this may be why they have given you a time frame that is longer than the deadlines that were introduced. Although highly unlikely I've included the gumpf regarding rejection of a COA application from the CSA Guide below.

Note to Secretary_SPCA

Perhaps this 4 week rather than 3 week until the SCO is involved could be raised with the CSA.


Bubbles said
I am not wanting or expect an assessment that is out of reach I am just looking for a fair and equitable assessment as I don't think the current assessment of $30 a month is fair.
Unfortunately it is very likely that the result will be an unfair and inequitable decision. There are many topics that highlight what some term as "Deem and Destroy". Only today another first time poster has posted about his small business being brought down by what appears to be an COA that did not provide procedural fairness; the result appears to be a section 72A notice (take money from third parties, Paypal in this case) that means that the person cannot trade and thus the business will fail. The person would likely be unable to submit an estimate for being unemployed due to the CSA's actions and thus be paying far in excess of what he is capable of paying.

You may wish to consider the potential to reach some sort of agreement as covered in the section from the guide below regarding the COA process.

Bubbles said
While he was paying 70 per a week in the financial year that he had a taxable income of 17, 000 he was able to purchase a shack at 190,000, a motor bike and another car.  He uses a credit card to fund holidays and all expenses such as phone, internet, petrol and then the business pays for the credit card bill.  These are some the things I was told that the CSA will take into consideration along with his ability to pay himself more in wages.
They will very likely do a lot more. Another example was a liable parent and partner running two businesses. The SSAT (Social Securities Appeals Tribunal) made a finding that they both contributed equally to the business but very much adjusted the pay so that the CS liable parent was paid 10 times the partner's. To magically hit exactly the same amount.

Bubbles said
I am not sure what to expect when the case worker assigned calls me.  I am open to hear of any advise or others experiences.
You should have no worries the SCO will likely assist you a great deal. However, here's what the Guide says about the process:

The CSA Guide - 2.6.5: Change of assessment process (application from payer or payee) said
Explanation

Change of assessment application must be in writing

A person cannot apply for a change of assessment by phone. CSA requires that a change of assessment application be made in writing on the appropriate form (sections 98D and 150A).

The form (Your Application: changing your child support assessment in special circumstances) is available from CSA offices or on CSA's website at www.csa.gov.au. The form can be lodged by mail, in person or by facsimile.

In order to make a valid change of assessment application, the person must complete and sign the form.

CSA may make a decision not to change the assessment without taking any further action if:

    the application does not disclose any of the 10 change of assessment reasons (section 98F(a)); or
    a change of assessment reason exists, but it would not be just and equitable or otherwise proper to make a decision to change the assessment (section 98F(b))

It is therefore important that an application contains enough information to allow CSA to be satisfied about those matters.

CSA will not consider an application that includes obscene or otherwise offensive material. Such applications have not been made in the manner specified by the Child Support Registrar (section 150A) and no further action will be taken on them. CSA will contact the applicant to provide them an opportunity to re-submit the application and supporting documents without the offensive material, if they choose to.

The form asks the applicant to identify the period for which a change is sought. CSA has limited powers to make a retrospective change of assessment decision.

Parties to a change of assessment

The parties to a change of assessment application are the liable parent and the carer entitled to child support (section 98B(2)). All the parties to the assessment (including non-parent carers) are parties to the change of assessment.

Copy of application to the other parent

When CSA receives a change of assessment application, it will send a copy of the application and any documents that accompanied the application to the other party (section 98G) provided that CSA has no reason to believe a person's last known address is inaccurate. However, CSA is not required to send a copy of the application or supporting documents to the other party if a decision is made to refuse the application after making initial contact with the applicant (section 98G(1)) or if the applicant withdraws at this time.

CSA will not send a copy of the application or accompanying documents to the other party if those documents include obscene or otherwise offensive material.
Right to respond to application

CSA must give the other party an opportunity to respond to the application (section 98G(2)). CSA does this by sending the other party (the respondent) a form (Response - changing your child support assessment in special circumstances) along with a copy of the application and accompanying documents (section 98G(1)). However, CSA is not required to give the other party an opportunity to respond to an application if it decides to refuse to make a determination (section 98G(1)) or the applicant has withdrawn their application.

If the respondent completes the response form, CSA will send a copy of that response and any documents that accompanied it to the applicant (section 98G(3)).

CSA will not send a copy of the response or supporting documents to the other party if those documents include obscene or otherwise offensive material. CSA will contact the respondent and give them an opportunity to re-submit the response and supporting documents, without the offensive material, if they choose to.

Each party entitled to be heard

All parties must be given an opportunity to be heard by the Senior Case Officer, except where CSA decides to refuse to make a determination under sections 98E, 98F or 98J(2).

Each party to the assessment must be provided with an opportunity to discuss the initial application with the Senior Case Officer as well as an opportunity to discuss the response and/or further information received and the likely outcome. In some circumstances, additional discussions may take place during the decision making process.

CSA will generally have contact with each party by telephone. A customer may, in certain circumstances, be able to attend a CSA office to personally meet with the Senior Case Officer.

Unlike a court hearing, CSA cannot take evidence under oath, or cross examine a party about the evidence they give during their discussions with the Senior Case Officer, or in their application.

No party can have a representative appear for them during the change of assessment process (section 98Q(5)). In limited circumstances, the involvement of a third party may be appropriate to facilitate the change of assessment process. For example, an interpreter may be required or a parent may request an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Liaison officer.
CSA not obliged to conduct investigations

CSA can make a change of assessment decision on the basis of the application, the other party's response and any supporting documents that the parties provided (section 98H(1)(a)).

CSA can conduct further enquiries, but is not obliged to do so (section 98H(1)(b)). If CSA requires further information from a party, or from third parties, it can issue a notice requiring a person to provide that information (section 161).

The prescribed change of assessment application form requests that an applicant provide documents in support of their application. The response form also requests supporting documentation. The Senior Case Officer will examine and weigh the evidence presented by the parties, which includes their written and oral statements, as well as the supporting documents. The Senior Case Officer may request that the applicant or respondent provide further information or documents before making a decision on the application.

CSA will require a person to provide evidence in support of a claim that they cannot work, or have a reduced capacity to work, because of a medical condition. The usual acceptable form of medical evidence is by way of a written report or medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner. The evidence provided needs to establish that the person is suffering from a medical condition that will affect the person's ability to work. It should state the manner and the period for which that condition will affect the person's capacity to work. CSA may also require medical evidence of a child's special needs; or of the medical condition of a person for whom the applicant provides care, or has a duty to maintain.

Procedural fairness

CSA must manage the change of assessment process in a way that is procedurally fair. A decision-maker must ensure that a person is aware of any adverse information and that they have an opportunity to be heard and make submissions in support of their case. In addition to providing each party with a copy of the other party's response or application and supporting documents, CSA will also advise each party of any additional information that it intends taking into account in a way that is adverse to them, and invite them to comment upon that information. This would include information provided by the other party during conversations with the Senior Case Officer, or by a third party.

Agreements made during a change of assessment

Parties can make an agreement while CSA is considering a change of assessment application (section 98T). CSA must accept the agreement if it is satisfied that it is a child support agreement (section 98U(1)). However, if the agreement is not a binding agreement, CSA can only accept the child support agreement if it is satisfied that it would be just and equitable to do so (section 98U(2)).

If an agreement is accepted while CSA is considering a change of assessment application, the assessment will be based on the agreement rather than on a change of assessment decision, although the change of assessment process may continue for the purpose of varying a provisional notional assessment and therefore the notional assessment amount. The notional assessment is used to determine the receiving parent's entitlement to Family Tax Benefit (section 146D(3)). Where parents already have an assessment based on an agreement, they may generally request a change of assessment in relation to this notional assessment. If the agreement ends and the assessment is based on the administrative formula or a new agreement, any change of assessment decision affecting the previous notional assessment will not affect the assessment or new notional assessment  parents can apply for a new change of assessment decision if they still require a change due to special circumstances in the case.

CSA must give written notice of the decision

CSA must give the parties written reasons for the decision to change an assessment, including the reasons for establishing that special circumstances existed in the case (section 98S(4)). This provides the parties with a clear understanding of the relevant considerations and decision making process. CSA will also document its reasons for the type and duration of the decision in the notice of decision. If CSA fails to give written reasons to either party this does not affect the validity of the decision (section 98S(5)).

CSA must also amend the administrative assessment to give effect to the change of assessment decision and give the parties a written notice of the assessment (sections 75 and 76). The assessment notice must include, or be accompanied by, information about the parties' right to object to CSA's decision, and to apply to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal if they are aggrieved by CSA's decision on the objection (section 76(3)).

If CSA refuses to make a change to the assessment, it must also provide the parties with written reasons for that decision.
WA ex-nuptial cases and applications made prior to 6 January 2009

The Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Further 2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008 amended sections 80E and 98U from 6 January 2009. Those amendments apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from a later date.

See Chapter 1.4.3 for details of the date from which various provisions had effect for WA ex-nuptial cases.

Here's a link to the section of the guide that is specific to Reason 8 Reason 8 - a parent's income, property, financial resources, or earning capacity


The CSA Guide - 2.6.3: A decision to refuse to change an assessment said
Explanation

In some circumstances, CSA has no power to make a change of assessment decision. Further, in some circumstances CSA has discretion to refuse to change an assessment.

    Power to refuse to change an assessment
    CSA must give written notice of the decision

No power to make a change of assessment decision

CSA cannot make a change of assessment decision varying an assessment:

    for any day that is more than eighteen months before the day upon which a person lodged his or her application for a change of assessment (section 98S(3B)(a)) unless a court has granted leave to make a change for an earlier period under section 112 (a court may not grant leave to depart from the assessment for any day that is more than seven years before the lodgement date of the departure application); or
    for any day that is more than eighteen months before the day upon which CSA notified the payer and payee of its proposal to change the assessment in a CSA-initiated change of assessment (section 98S(3B)(b)) unless a court has granted leave to make a change for an earlier period under section 112 (a court may not grant leave to depart from the assessment for any day that is more than seven years before the lodgement date of the departure application); or
    for any day outside the period for which a court has granted leave for CSA to make a determination (and which is more than eighteen months before the date upon which the application for change of assessment was lodged, or the CSA notified the payer and payee of its proposal to change the assessment in a CSA-initiated change of assessment) (section 98S(3C)); or
    to an amount lower than the minimum annual rate of child support for a particular child support period unless the payer has at least regular care of at least one of the children in that child support case (section 98SA).

If a person seeks a change to the assessment for a period that is wholly more than eighteen months (or such time as granted by a court) before the lodgement date of the application, CSA must not make a decision to depart from the assessment (section 98S). CSA will therefore make a decision refusing to change the assessment. As the application cannot result in a change to the assessment, CSA will not exchange the application or other accompanying documents with the other party or otherwise involve the other party prior to the decision.

If the application seeks to depart from the assessment for a period that is only partially more than eighteen months (or such time as granted by a court) before the lodgement date of the application, CSA will consider the application for as much of the period as is less than eighteen months before the lodgement date. As above, CSA will not make a decision that affects the assessment for any of the days more than eighteen months before the lodgement date unless leave is granted by a court to do so.

Example

M and F have one child, A. M seeks a change to the assessment on the basis that F has a greater capacity to pay child support for A than that indicated by their adjusted taxable income. M asks that the assessment be changed for the last two years. M has not sought leave of the court to allow CSA to make a decision for any day more than eighteen months prior to the lodgement date of the application. CSA considers the application and agrees that F has a greater capacity to pay and makes a decision to vary the assessment by setting F's adjusted taxable income for the last eighteen months; the six months prior to that period remain unchanged.


Power to refuse to change an assessment

CSA can refuse to change an assessment in the following situations.

    A parent's financial circumstances, or the issues associated with the case, are too complex to be decided by CSA (section 98E). CSA will recommend that the parent make an application to a court for a departure from the assessment.
    The application does not disclose any of the 10 change of assessment reasons (section 98F(a)).
    A change of assessment reason exists, but it would not be just and equitable or otherwise proper to make a decision to change the assessment (section 98F(b)).
    A person makes a new change of assessment application after CSA has refused a prior change of assessment application lodged by that person and CSA is satisfied that the later application doesn't include any new issues (section 98J(2)).
    The issues involved in a CSA initiated change of assessment are too complex to be decided by CSA (section 98R). In these cases, CSA will recommend that either party make an application to a court for a departure from the assessment.
    The requirements to change an assessment in a CSA-initiated change of assessment are not satisfied (section 98L(1)).

CSA must give written notice of the decision

CSA must notify both the payer and payee when it refuses an application to change the assessment (section 98JA(1)), or if it decides not to proceed to make a change in a CSA-initiated change of assessment (section 98RA(1)).

CSA's notice must include information about the parent's right to object to CSA's decision. If CSA has refused to change the assessment because the issues are too complex to be decided by CSA, the notice must advise the parents that they can apply to a court for a departure from the assessment if they are aggrieved by CSA's decision on the objection. If CSA has refused to change the assessment for any other reason, the notice must advise the parents that they can apply to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal if they are aggrieved by CSA's decision on the objection (see sections 98JA and 98RA.)
MikeT, I did just read this, thank you. It outlines that I change of Assesment can be applied for the past 18 month. That is a huge shock for me. If the ex would say, that DH has the capacity to pay an extra 500 per month and CSA agrees (whatever reason, capacity to pay or earn), that the payer would go into arrears for 9k on top of his increasing lability?
SM10, yes the arrears would be increased. Although I believe the CSA have now introduced a policy that they aren't called arrears now but are now a debt. I also believe that they have introduced a macro that I believe is under CMA (something like collection Management Approach) that works out what amounts should be repaid under various scenarios. It's apparently been touted as being fairer as it removes the jiggery-pokery of the non accountant qualified CSA employee implementing a botch job of accounting (if only the macro, if it is really what it's apparently made out to be, were applied to reason 8 COA)).

Note to Secretrary_SPCA

I think that it would be in the public interest to be supplied details down to the specifics of what this macro does and also a detailed report on CMA, it's past, present and future.

Thanks MikeT, that's good to know, sure the ex will try in future lol
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