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Tribunal: Member T Bubutievski

Primary Government decision 

Services Australia – Child Support (the Agency) disallowed Mr Upchurch’s (the Applicant) objection to the Agency’s use of his alleged 2021–22 income estimate of $0 when assessing his child support payments and decided it was correct to accept the estimate.

AAT decision

The Tribunal set aside the decision under review and, in substitution, decided that the Child Support Registrar from Services Australia should refuse to accept the income estimate allegedly made by the Applicant on 5 August 2021.


The Applicant contacted the Agency in response to an increase in his child support assessment. During this call, the Agency recorded that the Applicant made an income estimate of $0 for the remainder of the 2021–22 financial year.

The Applicant subsequently contacted the Agency to discontinue the estimate but was advised that it could not be revoked as they had commenced using it. He was advised that he could provide a new estimate. The Agency made the decision to accept his estimate of $0.

The Applicant lodged an objection to the Agency’s decision to accept this estimate however this was disallowed. The Applicant applied to the AAT for further review.


The Tribunal needed to decide whether or not the Agency correctly accepted the applicant’s income estimate.

Application of law

Section 60 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 allows for a parent to estimate their income for a financial year or part of a financial year. It also sets out the components needed for the estimate.

Further, the Act specifies circumstances where the Child Support Registrar and Tribunal can refuse to accept an estimate of income. Section 63AA of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 gives the Agency a discretion to refuse an estimate if the partial year income lodged is less than the amount the Registrar considers is likely the parent’s actual adjusted taxable income.

Summary of reasons for decision

The Applicant did not provide the components required for the estimate and consistently said that he could not provide an income estimate. The Tribunal had some doubts whether the Applicant chose to estimate his income.

However, leaving that issue aside, the Tribunal found that the estimate should be refused under s63AA as the estimate of $0 was less than the amount likely to be the Applicant’s adjusted taxable income. The Applicant mentioned he made a loss in the first month of financial year and his evidence was that he did not expect that to continue and expected his income to be lower than it had been previously.

Given that the Tribunal found that the Applicant’s alleged income estimate should be refused, the effect of this in law is that the estimate is now considered to have never been made.

Full decision

Read the full decision on AustLII.

Glossary and other notes 

Disallowed objection: If the Child Support agency disallowed an objection, it means the objection was unsuccessful.

Set aside: If the AAT sets aside a decision under review, the original decision no longer stands. The AAT may make a new decision or remit the matter to the original decision-maker. 


Every case before the AAT is determined on its individual facts. These summaries may not include all information considered by the AAT and do not constitute legal advice. You should read the full decision to ensure you understand the basis of our decision.