Say NO to tax on child maintenance

(35 Posts)
Jmum85 Fri 18-Feb-11 17:12:50

The Government is seeking to reform the child maintenance system. Its public consultation ends on 7 April 2011 so we have to make our voices heard before then. Sign and say NO to a tax on child maintenance.

Currently 1.2 million parents use the Child Support Agency (CSA) in order to collect regular child maintenance payments from the non-carer parent. The average maintenance payment is £200.00.

Currently one parent will pay £200.00 to the CSA which will then pay this £200.00 to the other parent to use towards the costs of raising their child(ren).

The Government wants to reform this system. It is proposing to charge the non-carer parent up to 20% (an average of £40.00) to use the child maintenance system and it is further proposing a deduction of up to 12% (an average of £24.00) from the child maintenance payment in order to cover the costs of running the system.

Government’s proposal: one parent will pay £240.00 to the CSA which will then make its deductions and then will pay only £176.00 to the other parent towards the costs of raising their child(ren).

Therefore, under the new system, a carer parent would lose an average of £24.00 each month due to the tax on the child maintenance payment.

Today I set up an online petition to protest against this proposed reform. You can join the protest at
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/taxingkids/

If you are personally affected you can read the Government’s consultation paper and respond directly at
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2011/strengthe ning-families.shtml

thereiver Sat 26-Feb-11 01:06:06

good it only really affects spongers

dreamingofsun Sun 27-Feb-11 19:26:32

i do think that child maintenance payments should be taken into account when working out what benefits you are due. if finances allow then it should be the ex earning parent that pays for a family to be supported - not the tax payer. was surprised to read these aren't taken into account

LegoStuckinmyhoover Sun 27-Feb-11 19:50:02

dreamingofsun, maybe it has something to do with the fact that only two-fifths of single parents receive maintenance from their child’s other parent, and more often than not, it is a poultry amount and/or an amount that is not set in stone.

Maybe it is because it is because half (50 per cent) of children in single parent families are poor, compared to 25 per cent of children in couple families.

I would think also, it would cost them more to means test it all if it were taken into account.

Also, why should the children not benefit from, or get their maintenance, that was meant for them from their other parent?

Besides which, this petition isn't anything to do with benefits! It is about maintenance for children.

dreamingofsun Sun 27-Feb-11 20:43:11

forgive me i'm currently slightly biased due to having a soon hopefully to be ex sister in law who continues to refuse to work despite claiming to be very poor. and a brother who slogs his guts out

Jmum85 Mon 28-Feb-11 22:28:57

thereiver posted "good it only really affects spongers".

I think you have missed the point.

When two people have a child they are both financially responsible for the care of that child.

In some cases one parent will decide that they don't want to pay anything towards the costs of raising their baby and that is why the other parent will use the CSA to recoup this money.

Who do you think is the sponger??

Under the new proposal the paying parent will be charged and the parent with care will receive less money for their child.

Parents have no choice but to use the system if the non carer parent refuses to pay any money otherwise.

Deciduousblonde Tue 01-Mar-11 10:37:39

However..

What about the NRPs who are already paying maintenance privately? should they be charged more money for a service they neither need nor want, just because the ex decides to use the CSA?

LegoStuckinmyhoover Thu 03-Mar-11 09:23:03

deciduousblonde, i guess that depends on how honest/reliable the NRP is. if there are no problems, then the RP wouldn't need the csa would they.

Deciduousblonde Thu 03-Mar-11 09:31:31

Very true in some cases, LegoStuckinmyhoover.

In others, RP may go to the CSA because they think they may get more money, or they don't want any direct contact with NRP, or they just want to cause hassle.

There are good and bad NRPs & RPs. The reasoning behind getting the CSA involved are not always cut & dried. I for one would never touch the 'organisation'.

BaroqueAroundTheClock Thu 03-Mar-11 09:36:04

yes - but deciduous - under this new proposal the RP would also have money deducted

"It is proposing to charge the non-carer parent up to 20% (an average of £40.00) to use the child maintenance system and it is further proposing a deduction of up to 12% (an average of £24.00) from the child maintenance payment in order to cover the costs of running the system. "

BaroqueAroundTheClock Thu 03-Mar-11 09:39:55

I don't understand "it only affects spongers".........ermm no it doesn't confused

Deciduousblonde Thu 03-Mar-11 09:40:20

No doubt about it Baroque it is a crap idea.

However, I also feel a bit iffy about the everyday taxpayer stumping up the money to keep the system going. I don't know what the answer is...all I know is that the CSA has failed from day one, even though I actually think it is a good idea to have a collection agency in place.

The 'one size fits all' policy would never work, and it hasn't. The amount of RPs suffering under the self-employment rules is disgraceful, and the number of NRPs who are being shafted through PAYE is also disgusting.

Not to mention the fact that having 3 systems in place at one time is preposterous and downright unfair...as well as incredibly complicated & expensive.

DamselInDisguise Thu 03-Mar-11 09:43:20

That Green Paper is really depressing. It looks like the government simply want to charge the most vulnerable. There's a lovely flow chart that shows how vulnerable groups (like women exposed to domestic violence) will be 'fasttracked' and charged for calculating their maintenance. They'll presumably be further charged for collection fees when the abusive NRP doesn't just pay up. The intent seems to be to punish RP whose exes are completely unreasonable rather than to help anyone.

BaroqueAroundTheClock Thu 03-Mar-11 09:47:56

"However, I also feel a bit iffy about the everyday taxpayer stumping up the money to keep the system going. "

Most of them are everyday tax payers though - if the average figure is £200 that means that either there are a number of extremely high earners who use the CSA.........or - that the majority are Mr Joe Average salary - either way lots of them are already paying tax

BaroqueAroundTheClock Thu 03-Mar-11 09:49:59

I do agree that the one size fits all doesn't really work and that the current system are rather crap. (to put it mildly) - I was once asked - after I told the CSA that exH and I had got back together if I wanted them to chase him for the money owed to me confused. And then they asked me if I wanted to close the claim............err ok.........and then they only actually cancelled the claim for one of my DS's - idiots.

Deciduousblonde Thu 03-Mar-11 12:59:23

Yep, I agree that most are taxpayers anyway..so they will be paying out of maintenance received, maintenance paid, and out of their tax quids for a system which most probably still won't work!

I would rather see it all go back to the court system. Ok, there were flaws there too..however there are still people who use the courts to decide/collect maintenance amounts according to proper means testing, looking at income & outgoings in a way that the CSA never will.

At the end of the day, not only does it get dark...but this is just another stealth tax for the governments to collect since they got rid of the system where income support cases never received any money, and maintenance was used to offset the benefit bill. In actual fact, the CSA is still only interested in collecting for cases where money is still owed to the secretary of state

LegoStuckinmyhoover Thu 03-Mar-11 16:42:03

sorry, but how is a nrp being shafted through paye? surely if the nrp owes money then they owe money don't they?

also if a nrp thinks he/she may get more through the csa, then why not let them see? they may well have good reason to suspect this and the nrp maybe telling a few porkies to hide them amount they get paid to avoid paying the correct maintenance.

i don't know much about the 'court' way, but seeing as legal aid for this type of matter will soon be a thing of the past, it just won't be do-able for most people.

the csa, whilst funded by the tax payer, on the other hand probably saves a lot of money being paid out in benefits; for example housing benefit etc.

LegoStuckinmyhoover Thu 03-Mar-11 16:44:46

also, yes, it is another horrible and easy way for the governemnt to get some cash.

Deciduousblonde Thu 03-Mar-11 17:08:47

A lot of NRPs are in arrears. Some due to non-payment, others due to the CSAs prolonged-sitting-on-arses-doing-nowt. As soon as the CSA are involved, any private payments are usually stopped. Why? because some RPs won't admit to receiving any monies.

Assessments can take up to 6 months to finalise..sometimes longer. Whoop-de-doo there are arrears. In some cases, arrears are built up due to CSAs basic incompetance in actually working out an assessment (mainly for the 800,000 still on old rules system). It's usually these NRPs who find themselves with backdated arrears plus regular maintenance to pay. They are the ones who have the '2 year rule' slapped on them even when they have come to a reasonable arrangement to pay arrears which works for both parties (or all 3, if monies are owed to the secretary of state).

So..it is very easy for a RP who is already paying regular maintenance of, say, £300 per month then have arrears of the same again to pay or even more..putting them in a very difficult financial situation. This generally does not happen if the RP is self employed. Go figure...

Yes I agree in principal about involving the CSA if you think you will receive more through them. It depends, I guess, on what your motives are. Everyone is different and what some think is a fair amount of maintenance, others will think it isn't. I know a lot of RPs who would love to see £200 per month to help raise the child/ren. Others would want more. It's a sticky wicket!

As for the courts, I don't think legal aid is necessary. Representing yourself should be a reasonable requirement..and maybe without the financial drain of the CSA legal aid might actually make a comeback wink

LegoStuckinmyhoover Thu 03-Mar-11 17:53:24

i see.
but...if there are arrears or a muck up with the csa, then surely a decent nrp would know that and would be keeping that money aside? for example, it doesn't take that much of a whizz to work out 20% of a figure [wage]. the nrp would know if they were not paying enough or if they were owing-so it shouldn't come as a suprise.

i guess with everything, there will always be a few who lie, but there cant be that many rp's telling lies about maintenance recieved. at least not compared to the number of nrp who are, as you say, 'self employed'.

when i said ,more,-i didnt mean more compared to someone else. i meant 'more', as in the nrp may be earning more than when first assessed, or more than they declare. there is a set percentage amount dependent on number of children etc. there is also a set percentage which the csa have to leave the nrp with in calculating arrears.

sad to say, but i cant see this government changing their minds on legal aid and i'm not so sure that many people would like to represent themselves, i wouldn't!

Deciduousblonde Thu 03-Mar-11 21:35:17

Thing is, there are still many NRPs who do pay maintenance and don't want the CSA involved. I reckon that if they were kept out of the picture then there would be more time for the agency to actually get the real 'deadbeats' who don't pay..however experience has shown that those who won't pay very rarely DO pay..regardless of CSA intervention

The issue of putting money aside is a good one to bring up. Looking on other forums and from personal experience, quite often this has actually been done..but isn't always enough. A lot of NRPs will pay the RP a regular amount to keep support going, and in some cases the RP will want cash only..then the CSA assessment kicks in and the NRP finds that the CSA won't accept the payments already made as maintenance. It is advised for NRPs to pay through the bank to RPs bank and list the payments as maintenance, but in some cases the damage has already been done.

Decent NRPs won't want to just hold onto the money until assessment is completed, as it will leave their child without the support they need. As I said, not all cases are cut & dried and under the old system the 20% rule doesn't apply..it's far more complicated.

I have represented myself in court, and so has my husband. There is plenty of info and support groups on the web which helps a lot..and it's great not to line the solicitors pockets, not to mention avoid as many delays as possible.

Again, as with most things in life..things are never simple, eh?

sprachrohr Thu 03-Mar-11 22:17:12

Anyone who has gone through a messy divorce like myself and has to bring up two children on their own with an narcistic ex will feel the blow of having to fight and pay yet again for the sake of keeping their chidren in a somewhat stable surrounding. I never had any legal aid to fight for the right of my children to get a decent maintenance being a so-called professional walking nearly full-time. If it were not for the children i would have left with just a suitcase and my personal belongings but once you have children a mother has to become a tigress to fend for their living. I was lucky because I got an attachment of earnings order which gives some peace of mind.
Having to pay to retrieve maintenance is outrageous and children have to come first not just for the resident parent but also for the government - they otherwise breed a generation of divorced and dysfunctional children who have been brought up just above the breadline with lots of stress in the home.

Deciduousblonde Fri 04-Mar-11 09:14:27

Indeed sprachohr it is outrageous to have to pay to retrieve maintenance. It is also outrageous that you would have to pay to pay maintenance.

For every PWC who has to go through this there is also a NRP who not only pays maintenance, but will have to fight through the courts to have contact with their child/ren too. It stinks to high heaven that we can't all be matched with the 'right exes' as it were.

It seems that the ones who won't pay maintenance are the ones who don't want to see their children either..yet the ones who do pay, either privately or through the CSA, have the contact problems.

mama4life Fri 04-Mar-11 16:46:32

You only have to look at peoples experiences of the dealing with the CSA to realise what a failed institution the CSA is for RP's and NRP alike. Infact this enforced cateogorisation of RP's and NRP's by the legal system is deliberately antagonistic, artificial and has nothing to do with the welfare of children.It serves only to line the pockets of lawyers and their ilk.
You cannot remove the rights of a parent and then only expect them to live up to their responsiblities - there has to be a balance. Currently the way it is set up it is widely open to abuse.It is only the RP who would ever use the CSA to claim maintenance from the NRP without having to even qualify how and where that money is spent.
The CSA 'provides' a service to the RP for free which may or may not benefit the child as their is no auditing of how the money that is collected is actually used.
There are many sub cateogories of RP and NRP and they do exist- RP who have only sought custody so that the child is used as a bargaining tool to get more money from the system / NRP, RP who refuses to come to any private agreement to exploit the NRP.
Then the NRP who has abandoned the child for no justifiable reason or the NRP who has been excluded from the child life and marginilised. All of these have to be accounted for and that is what is next to impossible to address fairly and squarely for all concerned. Bottom line; CSA is not fit for purpose, is a burden on the already stretched taxpayer and should be disbanded altogether.The alternative would have to be effective means testing for single parent families which is non- discriminatory between parents and that has safeguards to prevent abuses.

Meglet Sat 05-Mar-11 16:57:41

deciduous My abusive XP pays through the CSA but refuses to see the kids (which is a good thing TBH).

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