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LostDad back with further CSA woes

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lack of communication with CSA making things imposible and threatening

Hello Again

Some may remember that I found this site back in January through a very difficult time in which the CSA tried to start a CoA process while having me on "write only" and therefore not able to communicate with them and certainly making a mockery of the "process" if I was not allowed to attend a conference or anything else. The whole thing was scurrilous anyway based on false hunches and lack of consultation.

In fact I am now and was on a DSP pension, largely as a result of the effects of the separation, the loss of everything and in recent years the effective kidnapping against court orders of my children. I since moved to a remote area in part to "rebuild" physically and psychologically, and in part because I simply could not afford the high rents in the city. Now I find that the rents here are ever growing also, but that's another aspect.

So, dated the 12 of july 2010, the date of my much missed son's birthday as it happens, I get a letter (well a week after the date) along with 8 pages of statements. One titled "pursuant to section 160…etc" and ending with "no more than 6 months jail".

In the statements, they seemed to have gone back to the 2008-2009 year and claim I owe them $50 and are going to take this directly from the pension. They claim that I put in an estmate of $0 income for the year. However, I did put in such an estmate while applying for centrelink benefits, they charged my 5x the minimum rate suggesting that it was not possible to have $0 income, then put me on "write only". I did however notify them as soon as I received benefits and changed my estimate accordingly.

So, although not being in arrears before, they now claim that unlike my estimate approximate with the min living allowance and eventually taxed to be at just over $19K they can go back to this time and just extract this money. They also claim that I estimated that the income would be zero for the whole year and this is simply not true, what was true was that while waiting to receive benefits and eventually this pension, I did in fact not earn anything and for at least some of this time paid a penalty for this unfortunate situation.

I thought there was a 10% rule and clearly the discrepancy for that year was minor…but hey, $50 right

but wait, that's not what this is about and I am in enormous amount of stress…

I was assaulted in the workplace and have been pursuing these employers for some 3 years and "settled" for an ex gratia payment of 10K plus the long service leave of about $6K that I would have got if I were fired, 3 years earlier. I checked with all the bureaucracies concerned as best I could, before signing this agreement. Centrelink for instance, and thankfully, acknowledge that this 10K is not considered income (see tax ruling IT2424 paragraph 8) and that the long service leave even, should have been paid years earlier before I even had any dealings with it and also should not be assessable for their procedures.

However, I didn't actually get this money as agreed to, in fact a third of it was mysteriously withheld in tax and not separated. I had to wait until the tax certificates were issued to get some of this information, and of course this rogue employer thinks I should have paid the tax on the ex gratia payment and so have applied to the Tax office for a private ruling on the matter.

So, we will have to see how this is worked out, but the end of october is looming and such rulings can take time. Meanwhile, the CSA gave me 14 days from a letter that took almost a week to get to me. I sent letters, made phone attempts and even got a stranger to call on my behalf so they can't say I didn't try.

However, I suffer from anxiety and nothing triggers it like the CSA. Personally, such things are discrimination and the processes make it impossible to address. Whats weird is that since the aborted CoA thing when I first spoke to people on this forum, I had phone contact with the case officer and tried to explain as best I could the situation and a strategy of what was likely to occur at the end of the tax year.

So, when I received these letters, I was under the impression if not fact that I was no longer on "write only" and that I could communicate with someone fully briefed in the situation. However, I have now been told that this manager of personalized services has been shuffled around three days before this letter was sent, not passed on the information and I can't communicate with the CSA and have as yet received no written response or advice or explanation.

They will take the $50 but I don't have an explanation. But, that is not what all this is about surely and going back to past financial years seems a little "steep". I have always put my tax return on time and they knew of this stuff, charged me a penalty for being destitute, and now charging still more.

However, I'm being threatened with jail now!

So, a couple of things. I recognise that the long service leave that I received is "income" and tax and CSA which will pretty much absorb the whole thig will be eligible. I didn't tell them directly of this change in November because it wasn't till just recently that I recieved a tax summary that separated the payments. I didn't tell them about the 10K ex gratia payment because my understanding of it was that it was not assessable as "income". However, it was registered with the tax office and tax taken (in excess of $3K) and so subject to a ruling which I recently lodged. I've tried to speak to them, but of course they have cut off all communication. I ahve tried to get assistance and continue to, but it is not sufficient nor timely and so far getting nowhere.

My hope is that once the tax and such things are ruled upon and that side of things are clear, then I may well owe some arrears for the long service leave component for the last year and owe for a proportion of that. However, I really am on a pension, $16K and pay rent of 12K and any amount of excessive payment is dire.

but the biggest fear is that they will extrapolate that this belated long service leave and any other payments will assume to repeat and flow on to the next year…obviously such payments are not going to occur and that CSA payments should reflect the reality of the situation.

My hope is to sort out the tax thing, have the situation understood (and if I had any reasonable communication would have been explained as best I could at the time) pay any arrears for the last year (from the long service leave for instance) for which if the ruling is upheld will be the only part and the tax return would more than cover it, and have a future estimate in line with the reality of my pensioner status be recorded.

It would seem that at least on this last point, they kept an estimate of $0 for an entire year in which they were told and verified (as they were taking payments from centrelink of course) for as long as I have been paid any benefits.

To make things worse, my children have been effectively "kidnapped" and although I know where they go to school and attempt to send presents on birthdays and such, I have not seen them for some time now despite court orders. Things like this just elevate the distress and the emotion surrounding such treatment and the "injustice" of the way things operate.

I was also unfortunately unlawfully assaulted would you believe 18 months ago courtesy of the vic police who are still investigating themselves supervised by the OPI but as yet to no avail. So, who knows, perhaps I will face this kind of situation agin some time in the future, who can predict these things?

But,as it stands right now, I am being threatened with no way of communicating (I have written with no response for instance) and I am in no position to be paying penatlies. The reality is that it cost me more money in legal fees to pursue these people for three years and settle the matter and retrieve this long service leave that was being withheld as it is. I am not happy with the CSA or the conduct of my ex but have tried as hard as I can to work with their system. Yet, this kind of thing seems to occur with remarkable frequency, even though I have been backed into a corner and really am on a pension with no other means of support and little hope of finding a way out of things either.

I even fear the maelstrom of doing anything that might set them off…such as trying to find work (though I am under no obligation to do so) to alleviate my situation…as as far as I can tell, it would actually cost me money to do menial work should there even be any and that it would be impossible to predict any future income…plus, there appears to be no effective way of complying with their requirements anyway!

sorry to go on, any advice or support appreciated. Right now, put in a tax ruling request in the hope that this will be worked out by october 31st and my tax things settled, that I will be able in some way get the CSA to understand the situation and that this payment was a one off unpredictable event not spoken of sooner because of the lack of communication and the lack of understanding by the CSA in relation to such matters and a non return policy for mistaken payments should they have been deducted.

Anyone who could give me some kind of financial advice or what to look for in arranging affairs or perhaps where I could locate some kind of sensible intermediary to communicate with the CSA or some kind of way to deal with what certainly feels like "discrimination" because of their imposed lack of communication…maybe some way of having these things addressed and explained fully. For instance, this sudden arrears of $50 from the tax year before this, how did this suddenly appear, how does this fit in the scheme of things. What can I do to have an estimate apply that truly reflects what is going on. How do I even hope to get out of this mess while jham strung by all these forces…I don't even have a separation certificate from my employer that I haven't worked for for perhaps 3 years now!

Surprisingly, Centrelink have completely understood both before and after the events that this money was not assessable income, why one can't ahve communication at least as good as with centrelink I have no idea. Plus of course, centrelink and the tax office and the CSA are all interlinked, they even take the payuments from teh pension, so I can hardly be lying to them or sustain a $0 income nor would I try to, it's just absurd!

anyway, sorry to go on, perhaps a little venting was in order…my inability to be succinct on such matters doesn't help, but of course, there is a reason why I now languish on a pension isn't there and this kind of behavior only makes things significantly worse!
All I can suggest is write to the C$A asking them to respond and if they don't, then complain to the Minister (Dept of Human Services) your local politician and Ombudsman.
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