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Non Resident for Tax Purposes. Does IRD still enforce Collection now that she’s abroad permanently?

Filed under: Child Support — Had_Enough @ 7:41 pm Tue 23rd September 2014

Sorry about the boring title folks but I am a bit curious about how IRD can force me to pay Child Support after the mother has been out of the country for a year or more. The mother of my children has taken my 2 kids to Canada to live permanently. All 3 (her and the 2 kids) have both NZ and Canadian citizenship. They relocated about 3 months ago. So, they now live permanently in Canada and I live in Australia where I’ve been for the past 5 years. IRD seem to think that I will have to keep paying and paying and paying until my youngest is 19. It seems a bit odd to me that they can enforce this when she’s living in another country and they have no way of knowing if, for example, my daughter is working full time. Come to think of it IRD don’t really have any way of keeping tabs on her at all now that she’s under a foreign countries jurisdiction. Does anyone out there know anything about the IRD CS laws and how they apply to this situation? Can she initiate an Admin Review against me for example now that she’s permanently relocated overseas? Thanks in advance.


  1. Sorry, I should have added that I am still paying her child support which is being enforced by the Australian CSA.

    Comment by Had_Enough — Tue 23rd September 2014 @ 7:43 pm

  2. Children who qualify for child support
    A child qualifies for child support if he or she-
    (a)is under 19 years of age; and
    (b)is not living with another person in a marriage, civil union or de-facto relationship; and
    (c)is not financially independent; and
    (d)is a New Zealand citizen or is ordinarily resident in New Zealand.

    Under the NZ Child Support Act section 5(d) above you pay until either 5(a), (b) or (c) happen. Mum probably keeps a NZ bank account for them to pay into and they don’t care if it just accumulates there or may be used from time to time. IRD don’t care they just collect because that is what the legislation says they must do if they recieve an application.

    Yes she can initiate an admin review anytime she wishes. We NZ taxpayers will then enrich a lawyer acting as an admmin review officer to make telephone calls to you in Aussie and her in Canada, or Outer Mongolia if she moves. Are we NZ taxpayers not so generous to you and her??

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Tue 23rd September 2014 @ 8:54 pm

  3. You do realise if you live in any country other than NZ or Aussie then paying Child Support becomes totally optional. Only down side is that longer trips into NZ may result in you receiving the Terry Serepisos treatments and have a taxpayer paid trip from the International Airport into the District Court Holding cells for an “Examination of Means” hearing. Takes half a day but the taxi fare with the coppers is free.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Tue 23rd September 2014 @ 9:00 pm

  4. I may be wrong, but my understanding is that you don’t have an ongoing liability for child support in the circumstances you outline! Australia is the only country that NZ has a reciprocal arrangement for the payment of child support so if your ex were here you would have to pay (and vice versa).

    Outside of that I believe your ex would have to apply to a Canadian court for an order to be made if you were still in NZ and the NZ courts would consider it.

    HOWEVER, since all the parties are no longer resident in NZ the NZ courts have no jurisdiction in relation to such proceedings (see Section 97 of the Child Support Act 1991). I don’t know anything about Oz laws or whether you are also an Ozzie citizen so you may have to look into that if you are.

    Moreover, you don’t say if your are an NZ citizen or not. If you are not you do not have to pay CS in the circumstances you outline but see Section 25 of the CSA that sets out the circumstances when CS ceases.

    BUT, there is also the spectre of the UN Convention. But again it appears on a brief reading that that would only apply and an NZ court would only have jurisdiction to make an order if at least one party was resident here!

    If IRD claim you have an ongoing liability ask them to set out the legal provisions and other facts they rely on for their decision! Make them do the work and don’t take no for an answer. Your next step can then be carefully considered. If you don’t have it download a copy of the CSA from the NZ Justice Department’s website and get IRD to let you have a copy of the UN Convention that NZ has ratified. They make interesting reading. Good luck! This is not authoritative, of course, but I hope it helps. GOOD LUCK!

    Comment by Non Custodial Dad — Tue 23rd September 2014 @ 9:05 pm

  5. Hi non custodial dad. Thanks for your post but it’s a very murky grey area I think. Allan is correct re “(d)is a New Zealand citizen or is ordinarily resident in New Zealand”. I feel that the fact that she intends staying in Canada permanently changes things somewhat because after the next financial year has rolled around she will be regarded as a Canadian resident for tax purposes. So what has any of this got to do with IRD if this is the case?? I am a NZ citizen but an Aussie resident and as such I became an Australian resident for tax purposes after I’d been over here a bit more than a year. It just seems logical to me that the mother should not be under IRD CS jurisdiction when the next financial year kicks in..

    Comment by Had_Enough — Wed 24th September 2014 @ 1:57 am

  6. In 2003 my ex took my children to England without my knowledge yet I still had to pay child support.On her return in 2006 she made an admin review who claimed I had not paid enough child support based on my assets even though I had no income.To cut a long story short I ended up in the High court fighting her and Crown Law who tried to change the law so that men should be assessed based on their assets not their income.
    To this day I am still paying from my pension even though by children are grownup and IRD never won their case nor have they ever sent me an account for what they claim I owe.
    They are deducting money from my pension before I get it and no number of letters or phone calls gets a response.
    Now that they are older my children can’t believe what happened and is still happening.

    Comment by mustang — Wed 24th September 2014 @ 8:34 am

  7. Non custodial dad post 4 above.
    What you say in your post above is totally wrong.
    If the paying parent is in NZ or Aussie (reciprocal tax agreement) then he/she pays if the custodial parent makes an application here in NZ (or in Aussie).

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Wed 24th September 2014 @ 10:48 am

  8. Mustang, have you signed up for an online IRD account? You can see there what CS has been assessed and paid. The secure email from your online account will definitely get a response and you will have a record of requests and responses. You might not agree with their responses though! And you can keep asking questings via secure email until you have enough info for a next step.

    IRD have a complaints process – link below – and following that there is recourse to the Ombudsman.

    There is also the Official Information act, often a good place to start. For example, set out your communications and for each of them request the reason there has been no response. You can ask for any information they hold relating to the court case. And for all decisions they have made and the reasons for those decisions. You can do that via secure email.

    Comment by exactchange — Fri 26th September 2014 @ 10:45 am

  9. Where the mother and children or where you live is irrelevant to the IRD. As is the citizenship of the mother. If the child(ren) has a NZ passport you are responsible for whatever payments they decide on. Your income is irrelevant it comes down to your potential. Even if the child is in say Bangladesh with barely any living expenses and you are in say Romania earning next to nothing you you can still be ordered to pay massive amounts and be arrested if you ever return to New Zealand

    Comment by Michael Todd — Fri 26th September 2014 @ 8:14 pm

  10. Thankyou exactchange.We have had such a hounding from IRD/Crown Law in the past that my wife now wants me to leave well alone and live with what they are taking from us.
    I now have a good relationship with my children inspite of them being manipulated and withdrawn from me for almost eleven years.Sometimes it takes a very long time for children and now young adults to see things differently.Unfortunately men are required to to silently suck it up and hope for the best.Many women need to realise that a man loves his children just as much as they do and children are not posessions.
    I have little respect for IRD the family court and many lawyers and if it were not for my desire to see my present wife and children’s futures secure I would start a hellofa Court case against them, to open the countrys eyes to what is going on in NZ.I now have the resources to do this but would sooner see my family’s future secure.

    Comment by mustang — Sun 28th September 2014 @ 8:08 pm

  11. So, If I decide to move to Europe, IRD won’t be able to enforce any CS payment on me ? Or until at least I return to New Zealand ?

    Comment by GreatFather — Tue 7th October 2014 @ 2:29 pm

  12. If I move to Europe, will the IRD be able to enforce CS payment ? thanks.

    Comment by GreatFather — Fri 7th August 2015 @ 9:52 pm

  13. #12. Only if NZ has a reciprocal agreement with the country you are in. If they don’t it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. IRD will continue to charge you and add penalties and interest every month. So, if ever you come back to NZ, you will owe a massive amount.

    Comment by golfa — Sat 8th August 2015 @ 10:10 am

  14. It seems you are not liable for CS anymore if you have left NZ permanently and are leaving in a country other than OZ.

    There is a paragraph about not liable parent on the IRD website under international section I think.

    It says you are still liable to pay whatever was charged to you until the date you have left.

    Maybe someone can give more added info on that. Thanks.

    Comment by SuperDad — Sat 8th August 2015 @ 4:51 pm

  15. I understand that if a person returns (s)he will have to pay the CS that accumulated in absence. But if a person never returns there will be no way for NZ IRD to obtain the money.

    If a person wants to return it is possible to leave money in an account in NZ to pay ongoing CS, and inform the IRD of earnings. If a person then ends up on hard times in Southern France finding it difficult to get regular work, the CS amount will be commensurate.

    Comment by Man X Norton — Sun 9th August 2015 @ 12:08 am

  16. What is stopping your ex getting an assessment?

    Then the amount that accumulates will not be commensurate.

    Comment by Downunder — Sun 9th August 2015 @ 7:47 pm

  17. What can the NZ court do the an expat parent refusing to pay CS ?

    Comment by GreatFather — Sun 9th August 2015 @ 8:28 pm

  18. New Zealand has a reciprocal arrangement with some countries, which they use to pursue child support. They have a special arrangement with Australia which gives them even greater powers where they can for example have you to be stopped at the Australian border.

    The question then becomes; are you going to a country with a reciprocal arrangement?

    Collection of child support shouldn’t be confused with a child-support debt which may have accumulated.

    Comment by Downunder — Mon 10th August 2015 @ 7:19 am

  19. Man X Norton Child Support is an assessment so it is not automatically commensurate.

    If you did not apply for a reassessment the previous demand would continue until an adjustment came about based on your actual income.

    Comment by Downunder — Mon 10th August 2015 @ 7:36 am

  20. How long does it take for the IRD to act once an application for CS has been made ?

    Also, does anyone know if one party can seek costs at the family court ?

    Comment by GreatFather — Mon 10th August 2015 @ 6:30 pm

  21. For new applications CS try to communicate with taxpayers within the week.
    Yes any party can seek costs being awarded against the other party in Family Court.
    Tradiotionally the FC has been reluctant to award costs except in blatant cases of being unreasonable or manipulative or delaying proceedings. However a lot has changed recently and these days the default position is that parties can expect to pay for Lawyer for child costs, s133 reports etc.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Mon 10th August 2015 @ 10:23 pm

  22. I like the use of the word TRY Allan

    In my own experience the opposite is true.
    My own experience was that MSD made a request that I pay CS.
    At the time I was a student, then became unemployed for 1 month, then I found a job paying minimum wage in my chosen profession.
    The first I heard of me paying CS was a demand for 3 months of unpaid CS.
    They demanded $666 a month plus penalties etc. They refused to allow that amount to be re-assessed despite my income.
    They refused to provide information as to how they came to that figure.
    So I was automatically $2000 behind, and having to go through bullshit to prove my income did not support their assessment that I pay $666 a month on minimum wage.

    I had other abhorrent experiences with these people.
    They are nothing other than an Organised Criminal Group.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Tue 11th August 2015 @ 9:21 am

  23. Hi DJ Ward, That must have been prior to 1991 for MSD to be involved.
    One of the “benefits” of the current system is that occasionally WINZ sit of forms for weeks, months and in one case I know cover a year before it came to IRD and received their date stamp which is where the assessment and liability starts from. The IRD date stamp is all important and while IRD have many faults they do try hard to contact and communicate with new liable parents shortly after they have received the paperwork.
    I don’t think it is helpful to be relying on old tales in this forum.
    We all know the systems has never been friendly to fathers but IRD have a more professional and customer focused approach these days.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Tue 11th August 2015 @ 9:45 am

  24. It was in 1995.
    Also issues with assessment still occur, especially with men changing income.
    I got stung badly by becoming a student again, as they refused to adjust my income.
    Not only did I get the penalty, plus interest, I got a fine.
    This all due to a period of 6 months without an income, due to a car accident and a student allowance delay that took 4 months to sort out.
    Further on they refused to accept that I was in a relationship. I’m still in that relationship with child but they said I was lying.
    I paid the extra for 10 years. Not that I was too concerned at the extra $25 a week, as the mother was demanding extra from me so I used that as an valid reason not to.
    Customer focused?

    This from an organisation that takes money from males who are not the father of the child.
    Still an Organised Criminal Group Allan.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Tue 11th August 2015 @ 10:11 am

  25. Hi there,

    I was wondering if I could get any information based on the following:

    I have lived in NZ for a few years. I have children in NZ. I left NZ and I am not a tax resident anymore and I am not a NZ citizen.

    I don’t live in OZ or UK.

    Am I still liable for CS ?

    I would appreciate anyone’s knowledge.

    FYI, I am not willing to enter into details, my children are looked after and not in financial needs at all. I am not willing to run away from my obligations. The story is very complicated. thank you.

    Comment by SuperDad — Sat 3rd October 2015 @ 9:28 pm

  26. Given you state complications, and can we assume your country has no reciprical tax obligations (EU? US? SA? or Asia). My guess is that similar to the student loan that you will be charged the full amount, on estimated income (if there is no record then it will be for you to prove the estimate is wrong) + interest and late fees, if and when you return. No consideration given for gifts to mother not passed through the IRD. You will not get out of the country again untill arrangements have been made to pay this debt.
    You willl also find it harder if you want access, holidays etc with the child.

    At the very least you need a New Zealand accountant for professional advice and to handle corospondence.

    In our system long ago the govt noticed a lot of men were not paying enough to support mum and child, so in the 70’s started the DPB where the govt pays for you, and the father pays the govt, who keeps every dollar up to the benifit granted, and passes on evry dollar over. If you are named on the birth certificate you are liable, but also get rights unless mum challenges this.

    Comment by JnF — Sat 3rd October 2015 @ 10:06 pm

  27. Thank you JnF.

    I am not sure your answer takes into account that I am not a NZ citizen, not a tax resident and yes I am in the EU and a citizen of a country in the EU.

    I do not have any debt in NZ either.

    I have found the following comment on the IRD website under the CS section,

    If the liable parent is not a New Zealand citizen or ordinarily resident in New Zealand, and moves to or lives permanently in a country other than Australia, they may no longer be liable to pay child support. It’s important to let us know if this is the case. They’ll still be required to make any payments owing for the time they lived in New Zealand or Australia.

    But there is not more info or small print to be able to get a clear understanding.

    I would appreciate anyone’s knowledge.

    Comment by SuperDad — Sat 3rd October 2015 @ 10:39 pm

  28. Kia ora Super Dad,
    NZ IRD have no ability to collect Child Support outside NZ or Australia.
    Therefore in your situation they have no ability to collect.
    If your child is a NZ citizen or ordinarily resident in NZ there may be liability.
    If you are liable then as JnF says IRD have a deemed income for overseas residents (about NZ$70,000pa) they assume and so it may be they claim you have an IRD debt. If that is the case getting out of NZ if you come here during your travels could be complicated if the debt is significant.

    Matters can be absurd in this area.
    I know one case where mum (an overseas student) got pregnant to a wealthy older man who lived in NZ as a permanent resident. She was in breach of her NZ visa conditions and gave birth in NZ while awaiting deportation. She had a good immigration lawyer who kept her here until after the birth. Mum was deported with her child (a NZ citizen) to an Asian country. She, and child have not been heard of for over 6 years. However mum has a NZ bank account that IRD top up every month from Child Support paid for by the father who is now resident in Australia. He pays much, much more than average incomes in the country of mum’s birth.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Sun 4th October 2015 @ 8:13 am

  29. Thank you Allan,

    so what does the comment on their website mean? If the liable parent is not a New Zealand citizen or ordinarily resident in New Zealand, and moves to or lives permanently in a country other than Australia, they may no longer be liable to pay child support.

    thank you

    Comment by SuperDad — Sun 4th October 2015 @ 9:08 am

  30. The way I understand it is, If you are not a NZ Citizen and not living in NZ or OZ, you are not liable.

    Comment by SuperDad — Sun 4th October 2015 @ 9:10 am

  31. The simple advice is to use goole to find a NZ based accountant who can send a letter to IRD to find out
    1. if they have a record of you as a parent.
    2. If they are deem you a liable parent or not.
    3. If they have been accumulating debt under your name and IRD number, perhaps on mistaken assumptions.

    At a guess this could be $100-400 for the information (you may need to sign a declaration that they will be you NZ tax agent).

    This may save you worry if later on you wish to return, or need NZ govt help with contact. There is detention for those skipping on debt. Oh and I know someone paying from Wales, so UK may be liable, not sure EU?

    Comment by JnF — Sun 4th October 2015 @ 7:42 pm

  32. Hello JnF,

    Thank you for your comments.

    Comment by SuperDad — Sun 4th October 2015 @ 7:59 pm

  33. If you move to a non-reciprocal country and want to return to NZ at any point, it may be a good idea to let the IRD know the facts, that you are unable to get much work where you are and you are surviving on a very low income that you specify. IRD will then charge so-called ‘child support’ on that income and you can pay it as you go, meaning there will be no accumulated debt, fines etc when you return. IRD cannot obtain other details from non-reciprocal countries.

    Comment by Man X Norton — Mon 5th October 2015 @ 8:25 pm

  34. Hi Man X Norton, thank you for your comments.

    Comment by SuperDad — Tue 6th October 2015 @ 10:53 pm

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