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Changes made to estimate of income after 18 months

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csa making CHANGES TO YOUR ESTIMATE OF INCOME after 18 months

hi , received letter from csa last week the letter started out with  CHANGES TO YOUR ESTIMATE OF INCOME .the period they are talking about is for the 2003 /2004  year, i dont have any paper work or letters from that far back but the letter goes onto say  i owe like $1300 because my estimate was less than my actual income amount. can they do this being more than 18months ago. i have heard the need the ok from the courts, any help would be good. i have not yet rang csa to speak to them, what would be my next step??
They can go back 7 years. If they can't collect the arrears from you then they will advise the payee to take you to court at which point you can challenge the decision.
do the csa need permission or waver from the court to go back 18 months-7 years or keen the just send you a letter and bill
Molly - C$A need to take it to a court before they can go beyond 7 years for anything.
Hi there,

I am currently going through the same hassels with the CSA. They originally wanted over 3,000 dollars for estimate reconcilliations dating back to 2001.

Lucky for me I have lept all my old paper work and found most ofthe demands for money over inflated, from what I have calculated I owe approx 300, less than 10x what the CSA claimed when you include their added fines.

I strongly suggest you dig out the old paper work and do the calculations and dont allow the CSA to rip you off.

It appears to me that they send out an over inflated fishing letter asking you if you agree with the amount,and if you do or cant prove otherwise they create a false debt against you.

The letters sent to me were riddled with faults for example, CSA claimed I had 55,000 dollar income is 8 month period when my total for that income year was only 48,000.

My advise is dont trust the letters, do the homework and save yourself some cash.

Regards B… (Name withheld)

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

yeah dont have any letters of much use, looks as if ill just have to pay up. will be sure to keep all csa letters from now on as you would not now when they will try this again, one would only think the csa would have been able to tell me about this when they received my tax return which they get every year, thanks
Silly question.... would csa have a copy of all letters sent to customers going back 7 years??
they do have all letters and are able to send out but they say that this is the first time the have roconciliated and picked up the debt . have now spoken to them over the phone but have had no luck resolving the matter as my first estimate i gave them was actually less for the total days in that period once the ran it against my tax return, even tho i had also gave them more up to date estimates as my circumstances changed as i was only casual at the time. Not sure what to do now
Is there a onbudsman( or should that be onbudsperson?) you could explain your case to and work out a deal of some sort?
yes i guess there would be no harm in trying, do you no of anyone who has had any luck by going this way, it all seems  a bit hard and unfair to try and get your head around something this many years ago . e.g  trying to work out when you gave estimates and for what period and for how much they were for. also any changes csa have made along the way is going to be a real headache to get my head around once i get the letters, if  they are of any use, thanks
The ombudsman will usually refer you to the C$A.

Regarding C$A's review process where they reconcile income estimates with taxable income assessments, I was advised by a magistrate in a recent departure application hearing that it was an unfair process.

If C$A can't take the trumped up arrears from you without a court order, don't give them anything. If they file for and enforcement order, you can fight it with a departure order application.

If they do take the $$$ without your consent then go through the appeals process to get to a court with a departure order application. It is worth the extra work.
 
Molly127,
              here's a link to the Ombudsman's office website
ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.
The Ombudsman's website, another channel available is to object to the decision that the CSA have made, knowing full well that they will very likely, even if wrong, turn down the objection, you can the take the matter to SSAT (Social Security Appeals Tribunal). You can also take a matter to court and there is no court fee.

Here's a link to SSAT's website SSAT's website

I also believe that the CSA should be able to provide you with all the financial amounts to enable you to have their calculations checked indepenently. If they quote FOI, ask them to confirm with the FOI officer, they use this excuse all the time. If the information has been made available to you, as all amounts would have been, then you are allowed to and have a right to review that information.
MikeT said
…You can also take a matter to court and there is no court fee….
Just be aware you can only argue on a point of law at the Federal Magistrates Court in relation to an SSAT decision. You cannot simply rock up and say they made a bad call because you didn't like the call. You need to be well prepared. If anyone has been on to the Federal Magistrates process after an SSAT decision they will be publishing in our SSAT forums. We have had some good decisions at SSAT and in one case we were involved in the CSA officer determining the COA decision had additional evidence provided just after making the determination and they should have changed the decision at that time. However they didn't and said that they (The CSA) had no power to do so (It was argued they did) but SSAT took the evidence in that case and altered the assement.




Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Sec - You are very correct with your advice. One needs to follow the legislation very carefully when preparing a court application, especially the time limitations for taking action. Section 117 of the CS Assessment Act caters for many different situations and the applicant needs to be sure of what they are doing.
Secretary_SPCA said
Just be aware you can only argue on a point of law at the Federal Magistrates Court in relation to an SSAT decision.

Secretary_SPCA, I'm wondering if this is true. Whilst doing the above, I came across the following in the CSA guide :-

The CSA Guide - 4.3.1 (extract) said
In some circumstances a parent may apply directly to a court if dissatisfied with some CSA decisions under the Assessment Act and the Registration and Collection Act. In other cases a parent may be able to appeal to court after having the decision reviewed by the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) where the SSAT has made an error of law.

On a direct application, Courts may make a range of orders affecting the child support case including orders under the Family Law Act. On an appeal from the SSAT about an error of law, the Courts may generally make orders about how the SSAT should review the case.

This implies that there are two different court processes, I looked into this the other day as I was particularly disturbed to see the following :-

The CSA Guide - 4.3.7 (extract) said
The AD(JR) Act applies to all CSA decisions under the Registration and Collection Act and all Assessment Act decisions except for those made under Part 6A of the Assessment Act (i.e. decisions on a parent's application to change a child support assessment or on a Registrar-initiated change of assessment).

The implication being that you cannot take a change of assessment decision to court. I thought that that cannot be fair or be the case. As such I did some more looking around and it does seem that there are two paths to court the AD(JR), which is based upon points of law and via the Family Law Courts where it would appear to imply that it doesn't have to be on a point of law and could be based upon merit.

I actually did have the point of law in my post but removed it as I felt that I might have been saying the wrong thing (still think this needs to be looked into further) as I've always been under the impression that point of law only.

In regard to point of law the CSA Guide has the following, which may be of use :-

The CSA Guide - 4.3.7 (extract) said
The court's review

The AD(JR) Act provides that the court will review a decision by considering whether the decision-maker has properly made that decision according to law. The court cannot review the merits of the decision, by considering whether the decision was the best exercise of the decision-maker's discretion. A merits review can be pursued by objecting to the decision and subsequently applying to the to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal for a review of the objection decision if dissatisfied with that decision

Decision-making according to the law

The court can conclude that a decision was not made according to law if satisfied that any of the following circumstances apply (section 5 AD(JR) Act).

    * The decision was made in a way that was not procedurally fair e.g. the decision-maker failed to provide either parent with an opportunity to comment on the information that was taken into account in a way that is adverse to them; or if the decision-maker was biased;
    * The decision-maker did not follow procedures that were required by law when they made the decision;
    * The person who purported to make the decision did not have the power to make the decision;
    * The decision could not be made under the relevant legislation;
    * The decision-maker used the decision-making power in an improper way and not for the purpose intended by the relevant legislation;
    * The decision-maker made a mistake about the law that applied to the facts of the case;
    * The decision was made or affected by fraud;
    * There was no evidence or other material to justify the decision; or
    * The decision was otherwise contrary to law.

Using a decision-making power in an improper way

A decision-maker will use their power in an improper way if they:

    * take something into account that was not relevant to the decision;
    * fail to consider something that was relevant to their decision;
    * make the decision for a different purpose than the one conferred by the legislation;
    * make a decision involving discretion in bad faith;
    * make a decision involving discretion at the direction or request of another person,
    * make a decision according to a policy without taking into account the circumstances of the case;
    * make a decision that no reasonable person could have made;
    * make a decision that leads to an uncertain outcome; or
    * abuse their power in some other way.

No evidence to support a decision

A decision will have no evidence to support it if:

    * the decision-maker could only make that decision if a particular matter is established and there is no material from which they could reasonably be satisfied that the matter is established; or
    * the decision-maker based the decision on a particular finding of fact and that finding was wrong.

The court's power to change a decision

The court can set aside the original decision, in whole or in part, if it is satisfied that the decision was not made according to law. The court cannot replace the decision with a preferable decision. If the court sets CSA's original decision aside, it will return the matter to CSA for it to make a new decision, subject to directions, if appropriate.

Effect of application on the original decision

CSA's decision continues to have effect after a parent makes an application under the AD(JR) Act until the court makes a decision on that application. CSA or the other parent may take action to enforce the decision unless the court issues a stay order in relation to that decision.

I have to say that I am completely at a loss as to why there is the protection (i.e. AD(JR) cannot be for a decision under 6A) for the area where the CSA are very likely the most prevalent in making decisions which should be subject to the toughest of scrutiny as I believe it is the area where the legisaltion, especially the object of the legislation, is discounted simply to further careers, ego's and perhaps even personal ideologies. Perhaps I simply misunderstand or have come to the wrong conclusions from what I've read.
From my expereince of using ADJR actions, in a completely unrelated field, FMC or Federal Court are very reluctant to make a call unless the decision making is entirely farcical.  They will happily provide an injunction until the hearing though, which was very handy for irritating the opposition.  I suggest best approach is to rely on avenues of administrative/merits review for outcome in CSA matters and structure affairs to avoid extrme outcomes.
Mike, You have posted some very interesting info.

If my memory serves me correct the introduction of the SSAT to review C$A decisions from the beginning 2007 resulted in access to the court being restricted unless appealed on a point of law.

For a successful departure application the legislation states that special circumstances must be present and the departure must be fair and equitable to all involved.

Am I correct in saying that these are points of law?

If so then as along as we can establish that the decision was not fair and equitable or the circumstances were not special, then we may have a case for appeal.

Section 116 below outlines 5 scenarios that lead to court.

I recently used (1)(b)(i)(ii) as the ex had filed an enforcement order. My application was considered under sections 111 to 120, however the magistrate did not grant leave as too much time had passed before filing.

Despite this situation and to my surprise the magistrate made a discretionary decision and reduced the liability by 66% for the reasons that the C$A review process was unfair, and the decision was fair to both parties given their current circumstances.

A good result after all and much learnt.

Perhaps we need to develop a flow chart that clearly shows the options available to people for example, if the issue is about care percentages then the flowchart would be C$A-SSAT-AAT.

What do you think?



"116  Application for order under Division
   (1)   A liable parent or a carer entitled to child support may, in respect of an administrative assessment of child support for a child, apply to a court having jurisdiction under this Act for an order under this Division in relation to the child in the special circumstances of the case if:
   (a)   all of the following apply:
   (i)   the Registrar has, under section 98E or 98R, refused to make a determination under Part 6A in respect of the administrative assessment;
   (ii)   an objection to the refusal has been lodged;
   (iii)   the Registrar has disallowed the objection; or
   (aa)   all of the following apply:
   (i)   a decision has been made in respect of the administrative assessment;
   (ii)   an objection to the decision has been lodged;
   (iii)   in making a decision on the objection, the Registrar has, under section 98E or 98R, refused to make a determination under Part 6A in respect of the administrative assessment; or
   (ab)   the SSAT has, under section 98E or 98R, refused to make a determination under Part 6A in respect of the administrative assessment; or
   (b)   both of the following apply:
   (i)   the liable parent or carer entitled to child support is a party to an application pending in a court having jurisdiction under this Act;
   (ii)   the court is satisfied that it would be in the interest of the liable parent and the carer entitled to child support for the court to consider whether an order should be made under this Division in relation to the child in the special circumstances of the case; or
   ©   in the case of a liable parentthe administrative assessment of child support payable by the liable parent for the child is made under subsection 66(1).
Note 1:   For the orders that a court may make under this Division see section 118.
Note 2:   With a courts leave, a court may make an order under this Division in respect of a day that is more than 18 months earlier than the day on which the relevant application was made (see subsection 118(2B)). A person is taken to have applied under this section if leave is granted.
Note 3:   A court may make an order under this Division if the court sets aside a child support agreement under section 136.
116  Application for order under Division
   (1)   A liable parent or a carer entitled to child support may, in respect of an administrative assessment of child support for a child, apply to a court having jurisdiction under this Act for an order under this Division in relation to the child in the special circumstances of the case if:
   (a)   all of the following apply:
   (i)   the Registrar has, under section 98E or 98R, refused to make a determination under Part 6A in respect of the administrative assessment;
   (ii)   an objection to the refusal has been lodged;
   (iii)   the Registrar has disallowed the objection; or
   (aa)   all of the following apply:
   (i)   a decision has been made in respect of the administrative assessment;
   (ii)   an objection to the decision has been lodged;
   (iii)   in making a decision on the objection, the Registrar has, under section 98E or 98R, refused to make a determination under Part 6A in respect of the administrative assessment; or
   (ab)   the SSAT has, under section 98E or 98R, refused to make a determination under Part 6A in respect of the administrative assessment; or
   (b)   both of the following apply:
   (i)   the liable parent or carer entitled to child support is a party to an application pending in a court having jurisdiction under this Act;
   (ii)   the court is satisfied that it would be in the interest of the liable parent and the carer entitled to child support for the court to consider whether an order should be made under this Division in relation to the child in the special circumstances of the case; or
   ©   in the case of a liable parentthe administrative assessment of child support payable by the liable parent for the child is made under subsection 66(1).
Note 1:   For the orders that a court may make under this Division see section 118.
Note 2:   With a courts leave, a court may make an order under this Division in respect of a day that is more than 18 months earlier than the day on which the relevant application was made (see subsection 118(2B)). A person is taken to have applied under this section if leave is granted.
Note 3:   A court may make an order under this Division if the court sets aside a child support agreement under section 136."

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