Tighten tax system to target avoidance of child support, say single parents

She said that by avoiding the tax system, billions of support dollars were potentially stolen from children. She described it as a form of financial coercion imposed on custodial parents.

Edwards said bringing parents who fail to meet their child-paying responsibilities into the tax system not only improved the integrity of tax collection, but also ensured that children were properly taken care of. .

Terese Edwards says a crackdown through the <a class=tax system would benefit children and the bottom line of the federal budget.” loading=”lazy” data-src=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.268%2C$multiply_0.7725%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_470%2C$y_279/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/93729c609c7adc11cafa53ce1f48b15e7f62e8e8″ height=”390″ width=”584″ data-srcset=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.268%2C$multiply_0.7725%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_470%2C$y_279/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/93729c609c7adc11cafa53ce1f48b15e7f62e8e8, https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.268%2C$multiply_1.545%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_470%2C$y_279/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/93729c609c7adc11cafa53ce1f48b15e7f62e8e8 2x”/>

Terese Edwards says a crackdown through the tax system would benefit children and the bottom line of the federal budget.Credit:Dominique Lorrimer

“The community should be very annoyed that there is such a degree of illegal activity by people who stay out of the tax system to avoid child support,” she said.

“It’s the most gender-neutral lever that can be pulled and shouldn’t draw anyone’s ire.”

Edwards said the Howard government’s introduction of orders that could prevent a parent from leaving the country if they had overdue child support payments showed there were ways for a government to tighten the package. of the system.

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In 2020-21, 922 restraining orders were issued to prevent a parent who owed child support from leaving the country. The action raised approximately $21 million in unpaid payments.

She said if the government devoted more resources to tax reduction or avoidance, it would not only provide more income for children, but it would also bring more people into the income tax system.

“It’s a way to help the budget and the kids,” she said.

Jaimy Woods, a single mother from NSW, spent 16 years trying to get child support from her former partner.

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She said manipulating the tax system to avoid paying child support had a huge impact on parents and their children.

“I worked two jobs, gave up holidays, Christmas, weekends so I could give my kids the life they needed and deserved,” she said.

“I wasn’t going to let my kids go without.”

A cross-party parliamentary inquiry into the country’s family law system late last year found underpayment of child support amounted to child theft.

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He recommended that the Family Law Act be amended to recognize “persistent underpayment and/or non-payment of child support as relevant factors in determining the existence of abuse.” It also recommended that the government assess the compliance rates of private collection agreements.

He supported the creation of a ministerial task force that would include an expert working group made up of representatives of custodial and non-custodial parents to examine issues relating to child support payments.

Anti-Poverty Week executive director Toni Wren said much more needs to be done to address the issues that directly affect one million children.

She said 44% of children in single-parent families lived in poverty, compared to 13% for children living with both parents.

“Child poverty is unacceptably high in Australia, with more than one in six children growing up in poverty, diminishing their lives now and in the future,” she said.

A spokesman for Deputy Treasurer Stephen Jones declined to comment on the matter.

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