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Child Tax Debt

Stuff this morning .

Child-support dodgers owe their children — and the taxman — billions.

Inland Revenue is owed more than $1.8 billion by parents who have shirked their financial responsibilities.

Figures released to the Sunday Star-Times by Inland Revenue show that of the 176,500 people liable for child support, 121,500 are behind in their payments.

Together they owe more than $560 million in unpaid child support and $1.2b in late payment penalties and interest.

The top five defaulters alone have an outstanding bill of $5.7m.

“It’s a national disgrace,” said Bob McCoskrie, national director of lobby group Family First.

“What it communicates is that people can go around and make children and then show next to no responsibility in terms of their well-being,” he said. “You have to pay up for the consequences of your choices. If we enforced the consequences, then maybe people would think more seriously about conceiving a child they have no intention of showing any responsibility for.

“At the end of the day, it’s not only the child being penalised, it is also placing extra pressure on the responsible parent and it’s already probably tough enough for them as it is.”

One Auckland mother who separated from her children’s father six months ago says he has already fallen behind in his child support payments. She is working fulltime to make ends meet, and estimates she is already owed $1834 in unpaid child support. Now she fears she will end up bearing sole financial responsibility for raising their three children — aged three to seven.

She has spoken repeatedly to IRD about her situation but has been told it is unlikely to take any punitive action against her former partner until the amount he owes in unpaid child support reaches the $30,000-$40,000 mark, because it will involve costly court action.

“I have been told by Inland Revenue not to budget on child support being paid, which is pretty appalling. There needs to be a push for these men to be held accountable and they need to be hit hard and fast, right at the beginning, so they get that they’re not going to get away with it,” she said.

She knew of one woman who had not received any child support payments in 10 years and others who were owed between $20,000 and $30,000.

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne is not ruling out changes to the system.

“The problem is not child support itself. We actually collect 90% of the principal of child support [the money that goes directly to the child] that is owing. Where the debt problem arises is with unpaid penalties on that principal,” Dunne said….. Read more at Stuff

I’ll respond in full later – I have a child I need to parent – hey I share care but still pay and I owe a “debt”- pretty typical separated dad!