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Centrelink - have they ever asked for your tax return? update #33


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#1 Red Sparrow

Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:27 PM

Anyone that is on an income support payment or otherwise - has Centrelink ever asked you to send them tax returns? Particularly if you are self-employed?

Never in my 15 years of dealing with Centrelink have I ever heard or been told that using the online service to update my income and the ATO sending the information to Centrelink for end of year balancing, is not enough and that you have to send tax returns too.

Edited by Red Sparrow, 15 January 2019 - 12:12 PM.


#2 Oriental lily

Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:45 PM

That’s weird .

I thought both government t agencies had access to each other’s records and it automatically cross referenced ?

That’s how ‘robodebt’ works ?

The only time I have been asked for a tax return is when one has not been submitted yet .

#3 Fresh Start

Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:53 PM

If you are self employed and receiving income support payments you should have been supplying your full tax return every year and NOT reporting income each fortnight.

Self employed people are assessed differently.

Data matching between ATO and Centrelink only gives the taxable income figure however some deductions that are allowed for tax reasons are not allowed for income support payments that is why they need the full return.

It would be very unusual to be asked for full tax returns for FTB. They might ask for your notice of assessment if the data match for income wasn’t working but that would generally have been initiated by you contacting them about supplements or top ups not being paid.

#4 FiveAus

Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:07 PM

Income support payments aren't balanced at the end of the financial year, only family payments are...FTB and child care payments.

Lots of people have to supply their tax returns, and not just the notice of assessment.

#5 Red Sparrow

Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:37 PM

I'm self employed and have never heard of it.

#6 Fresh Start

Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:57 PM

Did you advise you were self employed when you applied for payment or when you started your self employment (if you were already on payment when you started)?

#7 knottygirl

Posted 12 January 2019 - 08:00 AM

I thought everyone had to? Until you were completely retired and lodged a final return. Some people just don’t. My accountant said that lots of  people who don’t technically are meant to but just don’t. I think it changed quite a few years ago.

I know someone for example whose only income is Centrelink, and they have a hecs debt. They have never once lodged a return despite being required to.

#8 Fresh Start

Posted 12 January 2019 - 09:34 AM

She’s not talking about lodging a tax return she’s talking about giving a copy to Centrelink.

#9 sarahec

Posted 12 January 2019 - 09:57 AM

I had to give it to Centrelink and also a copy of every single payslip I had in the financial year.

#10 Red Sparrow

Posted 12 January 2019 - 09:58 AM

View PostFresh Start, on 11 January 2019 - 11:57 PM, said:

Did you advise you were self employed when you applied for payment or when you started your self employment (if you were already on payment when you started)?

Yes I did tell them when I applied. I was self-employed before I was on the payment.

Now I'm told I've been overpaid by $16k.

I am really jacked off.

#11 Fresh Start

Posted 12 January 2019 - 10:06 AM

View PostRed Sparrow, on 12 January 2019 - 09:58 AM, said:



Yes I did tell them when I applied. I was self-employed before I was on the payment.

Now I'm told I've been overpaid by $16k.

I am really jacked off.

When you told them that they should have advised you  we’re to complete particular forms and then to lodge full tax returns every year.

How did it get to $16000 if you were declaring info me each fortnight? That should have at least reduced your payment or is it over a long period?
In your shoes I’d be appealing as high as it goes

#12 Red Sparrow

Posted 12 January 2019 - 10:28 AM

I wasn't declaring anything each fortnight. Was never told to. Nothing comes up in my online account to do that.  

I've only ever gone into the online service and estimated my annual income. Never knew I had to do anything different.

But now I'm told that the online system has nothing to do with an income support payment and that I have to make a phone call literally every single time my income changes. So if I happen to invoice weekly and it is different every week, then I have to call them weekly.

None of it is making sense to me. I'm waiting for the letter to come through so I can appeal it.

ETA: Just went in and checked my claim and I did put self-employed. Also can't find a claim acceptance letter in my, my gov account.

Edited by Red Sparrow, 12 January 2019 - 10:35 AM.


#13 Nobodyelse

Posted 12 January 2019 - 10:30 AM

Oh RS. This sucks. I really, really, really hope it is wrong. DH is paying off a similar sized CL debt himself. He has a couple of grand left. It has taken seven years.

#14 Fresh Start

Posted 12 January 2019 - 03:16 PM

This is to complex to discuss here.  The following related ONLY to income support not FTB/CCS.

If you are genuinely self employed (in charge of what, when and how you do the work) as opposed to employed as self employed but directed when, how and what work to do (really treated like an employee - it’s often called sham contracting for the employer to avoid obligations) then you would never report fortnightly you would provide your return every year as a base line.

If there was a major change - business closes or hits a real high point - you’d call them to discuss.

You really need to have someone explain how the debt was calculated to you and understand it.

In an appeal they will want to know why you never questioned why you didn’t have to declare this income.

#15 Red Sparrow

Posted 12 January 2019 - 03:48 PM

View PostFresh Start, on 12 January 2019 - 03:16 PM, said:

This is to complex to discuss here.  The following related ONLY to income support not FTB/CCS.

If you are genuinely self employed (in charge of what, when and how you do the work) as opposed to employed as self employed but directed when, how and what work to do (really treated like an employee - it’s often called sham contracting for the employer to avoid obligations) then you would never report fortnightly you would provide your return every year as a base line.

If there was a major change - business closes or hits a real high point - you’d call them to discuss.

You really need to have someone explain how the debt was calculated to you and understand it.

In an appeal they will want to know why you never questioned why you didn’t have to declare this income.

Thank you Fresh Start - much appreciated! I will certainly be appealing.

As for them wanting to know why I didn't question it - I thought I did declare the income by putting it in the online centrelink service and doing my tax returns wherein the information goes through to Centrelink. I had no idea they were separate things!

One of the people I spoke to even said that most people who are self-employed think that is all you have to do. Well, if that is the case then why doesn't anyone bloody follow it up!

I am genuinely self-employed.

Once the letter comes through I will appeal the hell out of it. I am one of those people who over-estimates and does everything to avoid debt, so this has me so stressed out right now.

View PostNobodyelse, on 12 January 2019 - 10:30 AM, said:

Oh RS. This sucks. I really, really, really hope it is wrong. DH is paying off a similar sized CL debt himself. He has a couple of grand left. It has taken seven years.

Thank you. It is so horrible when you always try to do the right thing.

#16 Nobodyelse

Posted 12 January 2019 - 04:19 PM

I had a similar argument with them. I can't remember what it was about specifically but it was

'where does it say that?'
'here, in this obscure and hidden away part of your application.'
'why doesn't it say it on any correspondence you've sent me confirming my benefit and my obligations?'
'a lot of people ask us that...'

#17 Fresh Start

Posted 12 January 2019 - 10:10 PM

OK from what you have written I think you mean that you thought when you updated your FTB estimate it would be taken into account for your income support payment?

If I am right in my experience your appeal at both internal levels will be unsuccessful as they have no wiggle room within the law. You can them go to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) who do have some limited scope to work outside the legislation.

I have seen a few appeals of this type at the AAT level. In all cases they debt was only reduced by the amount incurred from the day it started to the first income support rate letter issued. That is because that letter said words to the effect of “your income is zero” and the AAT felt that should have been questioned by the customer.

They also pointed out to the customers that there is a warning when doing the estimate online that warns the estimate is not used for income support.

#18 maurie

Posted 13 January 2019 - 06:34 PM

Good luck Red Sparrow,  I had a similar situation.   DH self-employed but receiving benefits, me too, reporting income every fortnight, balancing up at end of financial year.   Not once in 13 years did they tell us to give them a copy of our tax returns.   I had to see them every 6 months to update paperwork.   I was never asked for the tax returns.

We incurred a debt, we appealed, we took it to our local MP, the paperwork that Centrelink forwarded to us was huge and incomprehensible.   We couldn't get answers from  staff, the appeals guy or anyone.

We are still paying off the debt.

I still think they were wrong in their calculations.

#19 Gracie1234

Posted 14 January 2019 - 08:43 AM

i have just been through this too.

I assumed that when i did my tax and submitted to ATO via myGov that this would update my Self employed income with Centrelink.

This was not the case as I found out when I rang Centrelink after being asked to enrol in jobseeking programs when I knew I was self employed full time.

It turns out the two departments don't talk to one another and this is a common problem for self employed single parents receiving some income support payments.

My estimated debt is around $15K. I have had to submit P&L's and tax returns for 6 years.

Interestingly enough on the phone the Centrelink contact could access all my tax info just doesn't update income into the Centrelink system.

I'm now awaiting a final debt figure. The Centrelink contact advised that I appeal the decision once delivered and when declined, take it higher as there have been many areas that Centrelink could have actioned over the years to see that my income was increasing/circumstances changing and contacted me to explore by reporting to Centrelink.

I too was declared Self employed at the time of applying for SPP yet not advised in any way about my obligations reporting to Centrelink. Had I known or been advised I would have complied gladly.

I've not hidden income or deliberately evaded declaring income therefore Centrelink assured me I wouldn't be charged with a crime.

Its been an awful process.

#20 EsmeLennox

Posted 14 January 2019 - 08:52 AM

Quote

I've not hidden income or deliberately evaded declaring income therefore Centrelink assured me I wouldn't be charged with a crime.

Gee, that’s big of them.

FFS...I cannot understand why they don’t provide people a clear set of plain English requirements, in dot point form. It should be a requirement for every payment they give.

I’m so sorry for those experiencing this situation.

#21 Gracie1234

Posted 14 January 2019 - 09:34 AM

I agree.

Centrelink may have advised me at the time I originally claimed. However I was fleeing a DV marriage, was waiting for a day my XH left for work to leave with the kids and was terrified and traumatised.

Then embroiled in a 2 year legal battle for anything financial and moved from rental to rental. Horrid times.

There were aware of all this - I disclosed all in my interview and always felt proud that I had built a business and living as a SP in a town of 112 people an hour from anywhere and not been a drain on the taxpayer.

Now I'm ashamed of a debt and that I received payments I wasn't entitled to that could have helped someone else. I can pay it all back in one lump sum but it's a huge amount to pay back.

#22 Red Sparrow

Posted 14 January 2019 - 10:24 AM

View PostGracie1234, on 14 January 2019 - 08:43 AM, said:

i have just been through this too.

I assumed that when i did my tax and submitted to ATO via myGov that this would update my Self employed income with Centrelink.

This was not the case as I found out when I rang Centrelink after being asked to enrol in jobseeking programs when I knew I was self employed full time.

It turns out the two departments don't talk to one another and this is a common problem for self employed single parents receiving some income support payments.

My estimated debt is around $15K. I have had to submit P&L's and tax returns for 6 years.

Interestingly enough on the phone the Centrelink contact could access all my tax info just doesn't update income into the Centrelink system.

I'm now awaiting a final debt figure. The Centrelink contact advised that I appeal the decision once delivered and when declined, take it higher as there have been many areas that Centrelink could have actioned over the years to see that my income was increasing/circumstances changing and contacted me to explore by reporting to Centrelink.

I too was declared Self employed at the time of applying for SPP yet not advised in any way about my obligations reporting to Centrelink. Had I known or been advised I would have complied gladly.

I've not hidden income or deliberately evaded declaring income therefore Centrelink assured me I wouldn't be charged with a crime.

Its been an awful process.

This is exactly what has happened. I am devastated. I always try so hard to do the right thing to avoid this situation. $16k for me is just an unimaginable figure to owe to Centrelink.

I didn't even consider the prospect of being charged with a crime.

The worst part is that Centrelink is completely aware that this exact thing is an issue, yet they do nothing about it.

The people I spoke to on the phone basically told me it doesn't matter if I apparently didn't know about it, it's my job to know. How the hell is one supposed to know?

I went into my, my gov account and can't even find the approval letter for the single parent pension so I can't even check it.

I am just waiting for my letter so that I can appeal it.

Gracie - do you think we could work together on how to word our appeals? I'm really not sure where to start!

#23 Nobodyelse

Posted 14 January 2019 - 10:36 AM

View PostRed Sparrow, on 14 January 2019 - 10:24 AM, said:


The worst part is that Centrelink is completely aware that this exact thing is an issue, yet they do nothing about it.


Because they want people to be in debt to centrelink. They want the circle of welfare to continue.

A heads up as well with a debt that size, if you ever come off centrelink payments before that debt is finalised, they will send you a demand to pay in full in two weeks with no notice or warning. Any payment plans you may have with them will be voided and you'll have to go through the whole BS negotiation again.

Edited by Nobodyelse, 14 January 2019 - 10:37 AM.


#24 Red Sparrow

Posted 14 January 2019 - 11:39 AM

View PostNobodyelse, on 14 January 2019 - 10:36 AM, said:

Because they want people to be in debt to centrelink. They want the circle of welfare to continue.

A heads up as well with a debt that size, if you ever come off centrelink payments before that debt is finalised, they will send you a demand to pay in full in two weeks with no notice or warning. Any payment plans you may have with them will be voided and you'll have to go through the whole BS negotiation again.

I assumed that would be the case lol.

I desperately want to push my business this year so that I can change that payment to just being a once a year one. Be buggered if I want to spend time on the phone every time I do my invoicing.

#25 Gracie1234

Posted 14 January 2019 - 01:31 PM

Quote

Gracie - do you think we could work together on how to word our appeals? I'm really not sure where to start!

That would be a great idea!

I've heard nothing from Centrelink since I submitted all the paperwork via myGov in October. No final figure at all. I don't know where to start as i have noting to work with.

Plus I stopped my PPS (as I was still entitled to a small portion at $48k p/a) and in hindsight should have kept the claim open to use the payments to start offsetting the (unknown) debt.

The person I spoke to was very empathetic but said it would be 20 years before the two departments 'talked' via tech and is their biggest problem for self employed recipients.




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