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CSA has destroyed my business...

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Hi all, I'll try to make a long story short.

I am self employed.

I had a debt to CSA which was due to a bunch of lies my ex told CSA whilst I was overseas (conveniently). My assesment was changed without my knowledge and no way to refute their claims. I am now waiting for an appeals tribunal hearing regarding this matter.

However the problem I am facing is this: I run an online based business, 95% of my clients pay me via Paypal.
Last friday CSA placed a levy on my paypal account, which resulted in my paypal account being closed permanently and NO chance of opening another one ! (as confirmed by email from Paypal).

By placing this levy CSA has utterly DESTROYED my business in one swoop. No paypal = no clients = NIL income.

I'm hoping someone with some knowledge on this matter may inform me if i have a leg to stand on in taking CSA to court for destroying my business and my livelihood ? Loss of income etc…

How exactly do they also expect me to continue paying my child support now ?

Frustrated as hell and no idea as to what to do now…
Martin71 said
Hi all, I'll try to make a long story short.

I am self employed.

I had a debt to CSA which was due to a bunch of lies my ex told CSA whilst I was overseas (conveniently). My assesment was changed without my knowledge and no way to refute their claims. I am now waiting for an appeals tribunal hearing regarding this matter.

However the problem I am facing is this: I run an online based business, 95% of my clients pay me via Paypal.
Last friday CSA placed a levy on my paypal account, which resulted in my paypal account being closed permanently and NO chance of opening another one ! (as confirmed by email from Paypal).

By placing this levy CSA has utterly DESTROYED my business in one swoop. No paypal = no clients = NIL income.

I'm hoping someone with some knowledge on this matter may inform me if i have a leg to stand on in taking CSA to court for destroying my business and my livelihood ? Loss of income etc…

How exactly do they also expect me to continue paying my child support now ?

Frustrated as hell and no idea as to what to do now…
 
Welcome to my world. Ihad to go cash only for nearly 7 years,siply because every time Iopened a bank account it would be garnished. I estimate this has cost me about $500,000 in lost sales, since many clients will not deal in cash. That has translated into about $100,000 that was not available to be spent on my children over the past 7 years.

In the same period my ex has received around $100,000 in government handouts…

Makes ya proud to be an Aussie…

Somuch for the best interests of the children
Martin

To me what the CSA have done is put you into a bankruptcy situation.

I cant see why you couldnt sue the asrse of the CSA.

There must be some kind of application that the Family courts have so you can stop the CSA doing what they had done and then have it all reversed and not some drawn out 12 - 18 month process.

Keep us informed on how you are progessing with this battle.





Martin71 said
I'm hoping someone with some knowledge on this matter may inform me if i have a leg to stand on in taking CSA to court for destroying my business and my livelihood ? Loss of income etc…

My guess from what you have said is that you have been subject to a change of assessment (COA) by way of reason 8 (a parent's income, property, financial resources, or earning capacity) and have then had a section 72A notice (collection from third parties i.e. Paypal) as the "3 calls" to discuss arrears has failed to reach a solution. Note that there called also be a Departure Prohibition Order (DPO) against you (i.e. to stop you leaving Australia), the CSA are required to inform you, in writing, of all three (COA, S72A & DPO).

If there has been a COA then you have a strong chance of objection due to a lack of procedural fairness as the CSA (registrar) must give, under section 98(G)(2), the other party an opportunity to reply and that under section 98(H) the registrar must give an opportunity to be heard to the applicant and the other party.

Unfortunately the CSA will likely abuse their power and say that you have been given opportunities.

I'd suggest that you make your plight know to other interested parties. You local Federal Minister, the DHS minister (Brendan O'Connolly), your State's small business minister (probably get a "Federal Issue" response but who knows, the Ombudsman, perhaps Alby Schultz may have an interest.

You aren't clear about the basis of the income change and thus the ensuing arrears. If the income was changed through COA and you haven't supplied business accounts then I cannot see how an SCO could be satisfied of any finding other than by simply taking the word of the other parent and perhaps obtaining access to your business's bank accounts. However, this would very likely not have taken into consideration business costs.

I and others often say that it is inadvisable being a liable parent and running a small bushiness or being self-employed as the CSA are very likely to jump at any opportunity to run a reason 8 and basically make that business non-viable. The CSA are without doubt very unfair towards the liable parent and biased against the liable parent, as proven by the Ombudsman and as evidenced by published proceedings and also from anecdotal evidence such as COA findings that we have been provided with (but are unable to provide due to legal restrictions) and especially so to small-businesses and the self-employed.

You may wish to consider relocating to a non-reciprocal jurisdiction to run the business. I'd then suggest, if you take this option, that you use the CS calculator on here, available from the home page, or the CSA's estimator to then pay CS privately to the other parent.

Are there other options regarding Paypal. Perhaps someone, with a suitable Paypal account could take over the business and employ you to do the actual work.

It really is a drastically fundamentally flawed system when it contributes so much to destroying the backbone of Australia as small business is often said to be. SMALL BUSINESS STILL THE BACKBONE OF ECONOMY 31 Oct 2011. If people or a person were to do the equivalent then it is without doubt that words along the lines of "Financial Terrorists" would flood the media.
Australian Consumer Law contains provisions against businesses acting unconscionably. From the ACCC's website:

ACCC said
Unconscionable conduct is difficult to describe or define as it varies on a case-by-case basis. As a general rule it is conduct that is so harsh or oppressive that it goes against good conscience. The ACL's unconscionable conduct provisions do not apply to financial services, however, the Australian Securities and Investments Commissions Act 2001 contains similar provisions that apply to financial services.

Unfortunately however, Government Departments such as Human Services are not bound by the ACL and so they are free to act without any consideration of whether their actions offend good conscience.

If I, as a business, acted in the way that the CSA does to both assess and collect debts, I'd be fined heavily and put out of business.
Stupid question, but isn't there some kind of postal rule (like in contract law)? See, i have no idea about family law or child support laws, i am afraid, but if he didn't receive any of this, something should be done.
The payee, in our situation, provided wrOng contact details on purpose, so we weren't aware of many things until last minute until we got a phone call, as why hubby does not respond on anything they emailed or sent via post. We never provided an email and we moved (the ex knew about this as we were living there for the past year) and we were lucky that CSA called as a few days before the time frame of 28 days was over.
Martin 71

You need to provide more info. What contact details for you do the CSA have? When you deal with the CSA in regards this matter do it in writing only.

REQUEST FREEDOM OF INFORMATION SO THAT YOU CAN SEE YOUR FILE

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
Hi guys…

MIKE - I was not aware of the '3 calls', I received ONE phone call in the week prior and explained that I am taking the matter to SSAT mid March and wish to act further regarding the arrears after the hearings decision.  This did not go down well with them I think as it was a few days later they placed the levy.  I have not been advised in writing on anything other than the original COA when I returned from overseas (July). The COA was based on my ex telling CSA I was earning XXXX per week, based on NO evidence other than her word.
I appealed the decision and furnished tax returns and all paperwork (bank statements) to prove that in fact I earn more like XX rather than an XXXX amount. The appeal was rejected claiming capacity to earn, even though a tax assessment notice and tax returns show a very vulgar difference.  The appeal officer even made note that I am not claiming an excessive amount of my deductions or write-downs at all, yet the decision stood.

There is simply no way I could afford these plucked out of thin air payments, therefore the arrears. Even though I kept paying in every month that which I could (approx 50%).

Thank you for the advice, I shall make contact with those you recommended, it may not solve my problem but it just 'may' stop someone else having to go through this.  (wishful thinking).

MONTEVERDI - I have a copy of my file, it was supplied to me for the purpose of the SSAT hearing, CSA has my phone number and email address, during the original COA they only attempted to contact me via phone, I was away for 3 months and obviously not home to answer. Not once did they make contact via email.  They adjusted my payments and I only found out when I got home to find a nice fat envelope waiting for me.

Would legal aid be of any use in this matter ? 

Yes, I have been placed into a bankruptcy situation…:(
Martin - Your ex would have had to show some sort of financial hardship for various reasons with one being that you have not finalised your property settlement for them to increase your liability outside the normal administrative assessment.

Whilst the info you have provided is unclear about what has actually happened to you, when all is resolved, you can make a claim against C$A for defective administration through the CDDA scheme. So therefore make sure you keep records of all your costs and loses in dealing with this issue.
Thank you Fairgo - I will…

As for her financial hardship - she earns $85K working a 4 day week, has minor liabilities only, in her original application for a variation she only put forward that I was earning $2000 nett per week (I wish !) with no further evidence to support her claim.

She did not claim hardship.

Waiting for the SSAT hearing now in mid March.
The C$A has to determine if there are special circumstances to depart from the normal assessment process. There must be also a difference in lifestyle when the children lie with either parent.

I guess they decided that you had an unfair advantage due to being self employed over the ex, who is probably a PAYE, in determining adjusted taxable incomes for you both in working out child support liabilities.

Re the SSAT make sure you present you evidence in simple clear forms as you cannot appeal a SAT decision if they facts wrong.
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