Tribunal: Senior Member Richard Ellis

The Child Support Agency (the Agency) uses a statutory formula to assess the child support a parent is liable to pay. The formula takes into account the adjusted taxable incomes of both parents and any other income, such as reportable fringe benefits. A parent may choose to estimate their adjusted taxable income during the financial year if their income increases or decreases. The Agency can refuse the parent’s application to estimate their adjusted taxable income if the Agency is satisfied that the estimate is likely to be less than the actual adjusted taxable income at the end of the financial year.

In this case, the father had elected to estimate his annual income. The mother then objected to that estimate being used in the child support assessment. This objection was allowed by the Agency and the father asked the AAT to review that decision.

The father in this case had lodged his estimate when his employer told him that work would slow down and there would be almost no overtime. The AAT worked out that the father’s estimate of income for the period was about seven per cent less than his actual income and did not consider this to be significant enough to warrant exercise of the discretion available under section 63AA to refuse the estimate election.

The AAT set aside the decision under review and in substitution made a decision that the estimate of income be accepted.

Read the full decision on AustLii.