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Late returns net huge bill for child support

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The Federal Government has "intercepted" the late tax returns of 27,000 people to uncover $32 million in child support payments.

The Sydney Morning Herald
8 July 2009

Late returns net huge bill for child support
By Stephanie Peatling Social Affairs Correspondent

One person who put in 20 years' of tax returns in order to claim the $900 tax bonus payment has ended up with a bill for $18,000 in unpaid child support.

The Federal Government has "intercepted" the late tax returns of 27,000 people to uncover $32 million in child support payments.

The Minister for Human Services, Chris Bowen, said a byproduct of the rush to lodge tax returns was the recovery of some of the child support debt.

"We found a big increase in the number of people lodging tax returns and that allowed us to track down a number of those difficult clients who had previously been very difficult for the child support program to recover debt from," Mr Bowen said.

There is $795 million in outstanding child support payments.

The Federal Government has wide powers to intercept the money from welfare payments, tax refunds and wages to try to ensure money is paid to parents. It can also stop people with debts leaving the country.

Because of people's eagerness to claim the tax bonus the Government has almost doubled the number of what it calls "intercepts" from tax returns. Last year it recovered $14.6 million from 13,880 tax returns. This year that has risen to $32.4 million from 26,797 tax returns.

Mr Bowen denied the bonus payments were a tricky way of recovering child support debts.

"There are a number of parents who manage to rack up a significant amount of debt and part of our job to help the family - and at the end of the day the money goes to the kids - is to recover the debt whatever way is possible," he told ABC Radio.

Tax Office figures show a jump of 700,000 in the number of people filing tax returns for 2007-08 compared with the previous financial year.

There was also a spike in late lodgments - 22 per cent more returns filed between February and June this year than last.
"There is $795 million in outstanding child support payments."  Mmm, last figure I heard was of the order of $1.1 billion?  Why the sudden drop?

When talking about Billions of dollars are we talking about An English billion which is 1000000000000, where as an American billion which is 1000000000.  Two totally different figures with a lot of zero's in between.   Sorry, a bit off topic but had to put it in.
matrix said
The Sydney Morning Herald
8 July 2009

Late returns net huge bill for child support
By Stephanie Peatling Social Affairs Correspondent
….

There is $795 million in outstanding child support payments.
This is a topic currently being hotly debated by various interested groups. We are expecting a report shortly on the real debt. That is debt that is considered collectable by the CSA in relation to and on behalf of clients of the CSA system that have eligible children. This might sound a bit long winded but there is an awful lot of debt that does not fall into this category including a fair bit (around 240million) at last count of advised overseas debt. Perhaps the reporter in the SMH knew something we didn't. We are hoping to get a very real picture of the outstanding distribution over some demographics shortly. Your figure of the make up of a US and English Billion might give us some guidance when the true Australian figures are known. Currently its all a bit arbitrary, and somewhat unclear…


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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