15th Aug 2018
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Robo-debt Mark II puts vulnerable in its sights
Author: Olga Galacho
Confused over robo-debt letter

A new “robo-debt” trial being conducted by Centrelink is targeting the most vulnerable of welfare recipients, including elderly Australians.

The previous scandal-ridden robo-debt program had safeguards that prevented collection notices from being sent to certain recipients, such as those with a mental illnesses or who are receiving regular medical treatment.

These recipients had their files marked with a “vulnerability indicator” that alerted the system to withhold sending debt collection letters to those who may have been overpaid benefits.

“But several weeks ago, Centrelink began sending letters to a ‘small number’ of people marked as vulnerable in its systems,” The Guardian reported.

In the second rollout, the only group of individuals who will be protected from receiving robo-debt claims are those who have been recent victims of family violence.

Homeless people, those with a serious mental illness or cognitive impairment will be fair game.

However, those in the vulnerable category will be treated differently to other welfare recipients. They will have more time to respond to the debt recovery process and greater support to find the details required.

The onus will continue to be on the targeted individuals to prove they did not owe Centrelink money.

Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) chief executive Cassandra Goldie has slammed the program as “deeply irresponsible”.

“People will experience serious anxiety, depression and a sense of hopelessness, which we know already occurs under robodebt,” Ms Goldie said.

“The difference here is that government is imposing this harmful program on people who have a history of poor mental health. It is deeply irresponsible to extend a program that has caused damage to people’s wellbeing to people with poor mental health.”

But a Department of Human Services spokeswoman said people were being “invited” to call Centrelink at a time that suited them in order to update their income details.

“During this call, staff help people to review, confirm or update their income details,” the spokeswoman said. “Should this result in a debt, our staff will talk through repayment options based on the person’s circumstances.”

The Guardian reported that it was not known if the practice of “averaging” would be used in the new debt program if recipients failed to respond to Centrelink letters.

Income averaging is currently used against other welfare recipients who are identified by the system as owing a potential debt, but either ignore or don’t receive Centrelink’s letters. It takes a welfare recipient’s annual income and averages it across Centrelink’s 26 fortnightly reporting periods, often leading to the false assumption that a person worked through the entire year and was ineligible for social security, the report said.

Former Administrative Appeals Tribunal member Terry Carney has criticised averaging and suggests it is unlawful and breaches Commonwealth laws. He argues Centrelink must resume its previous practice whereby it obtained all the information required to prove the debt exists.

Centrelink has rejected his views.

Do you think Centrelink is going too far by forcing incapacitated welfare recipients to prove they do not owe a debt?

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    COMMENTS

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    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    9:30am
    If a debt is owed to centerlink it must be paid
    The welfare recipient needs to be notified in writing that they owe centering and payment is due
    Can’t see anything wrong with it
    Infinityoz
    16th Aug 2018
    10:07am
    What's wrong with it is that in sooooo many cases with the previous"robodebt trial" the targeted person owed nothing at all. As you said, IF they owe for an overpayment then sure, that money should be paid back. The primary fault was that the 'robothingy' averaged a person's income over an entire year and then tried to claim an overpayment. When someone lost a job in say, December, their previous great, well paying job disappeared and for the rest of the [financia] year that person earned NOTHING. It isn't until a person is earning nothing that welfare payments are made. Centrelink makes people wait a considerable time after leaving a job before they can get payments anyway, so chances are that in my example payments would only have been coming for 4-5 months. If their employment had paid the average wage, a bit over $80k pa, then averaging that first six months of pay over a full year would make like they earned $40k. That's how this "overpayment" gets calculated. So, olbaid, now you know. Sorry someone had never explained this to you before, clearly it was ignorance not malice that prompted your post :)
    Rae
    16th Aug 2018
    10:46am
    The problem is the IT contractors couldn't write a viable program.

    Centrelink should be able to use real figures in their computer system rather than averaging.

    If the debt is real then okay but in many cases the averaging was very wrong.

    Like average incomes now are very wrong because a very few people earn a great deal.

    If we are going to have contracts and an ASX with inconsistent dividends etc then Centrelink needs to work with real information not something deemed or dreamed into existence.

    I would think SERCO could do better than this even if they haven't managed to make a profit in close to a 100 years.
    TREBOR
    16th Aug 2018
    11:00am
    .. and sufficient detail should be given to justify the 'debt' notice.... not just send them out willy-nilly ... but provide an explanation.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    11:06am
    Trebor - it’s not silly billy
    Those who get notifications actually owe us the taxpayer money for knowingly or “accidentally” ripping us off
    I support the centerlink robodebt program 100%
    jackie
    16th Aug 2018
    11:22am
    When is this Government going to wake up and get taxes from the tax avoiding corporates instead of offering them further tax cuts on taxes they never pay?

    Targeting those that owe nothing is just another disgusting excuse for this Globalist Government trying to make up for it's losses from its unfair tax cuts for the rich and corporates.
    Rae
    16th Aug 2018
    12:33pm
    Yes jackie and the stupidity of selling off income producing public assets to International Corporation and Governments all so a few bankers can get bigger bonuses or family and mates can get a nice little earner.

    A Royal Commission into the whole Privatisation situation would be enlightening and perhaps the ALP and the LNP can return funds to tax payers that were obtained this way.

    The privatisations knowingly or accidentally ripped off billions but olbaid is worry about a few hundred dollars.
    Eddy
    16th Aug 2018
    12:53pm
    You are correct olbaid, if one owes Centrelink a debt then it should be repaid, no question of that. The question is there really a debt to be paid or is it one of Centrelink's blunders. I think Centrelink would have to be one of the most inefficient and incompetent government organisation going. I am glad I do not get the OAP so I do not have to deal with them.
    For instance we know we owe Centrelink over $1000 for overpayment of carer payments. It took Centrelink over 4 months from when we notified them to when they actually ceased payments. We received written notification that they were ceasing payments with effect the correct date so they know, or should know, about the overpayment. When Centrelink sends us a statement of how much we owe we will gladly repay them. In the meantime I am waiting to see how long it will take for Centrelink to wake up, it has been over 2 months now.
    Triss
    16th Aug 2018
    1:32pm
    olbaid, as I informed OG when he made the “us taxpayers” remark, welfare recipients pay tax as well. GST is a tax, Stamp Duty, if they move house, if they put petrol in their car or fancy a glass of wine they pay excise tax, if they pay rates it’s property tax.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    1:42pm
    Tried - they are paying by tax with taxpayer handout that has been adjusted to account for GST and other taxes.
    If they weren’t , try would get less welfare
    Triss
    16th Aug 2018
    2:18pm
    But the money is going back into the economy, olbaid, they’re not sticking it under the mattress.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    3:14pm
    Triss - your logic astounds me !!!
    Triss
    16th Aug 2018
    3:50pm
    So pleased something has made you happy, olbaid.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    3:52pm
    I didnt mean it as a compliment
    Triss
    16th Aug 2018
    4:52pm
    I know you didn't, olbaid. You don't have a sense of humour either.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    4:55pm
    I'm glad you're happy that you don't make sense.
    Not everyone is logical
    TREBOR
    16th Aug 2018
    6:35pm
    Incorrect, olbaid - when a 'debt notice' is allocated on the basis that has been proven to be flawed previously - those people do NOT owe anyone anything....

    It's been explained to you....
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    17th Aug 2018
    10:59am
    Trebor, be patient with olbaid. His comprehension is severely limited.
    Hobbit
    16th Aug 2018
    9:58am
    When will the government target Big Corporations that underpay taxes by massive amounts? Amounts that would take us into immediate surplus. Instead, the chose to pick on little people because they can't defend themselves, that's called bullying.
    Enneagram 8
    16th Aug 2018
    10:12am
    I couldn't agree more Hobbit.. I'm with you all the way on that one. They pick on the people with the least amount of resistance. Can't target the wealthy. They can defend themselves and take them to court, especially if it is tax related.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    11:07am
    Which big corporations are underpaying taxes pray tell
    Ahjay
    16th Aug 2018
    11:33am
    Probably the big corporations who make " Political Donations " to the liberal party are the ones not paying the correct taxation.

    It should be a criminal offence to donate to any political party as a return is always expected. Some people would probably it a bribe.
    Hobbit
    16th Aug 2018
    11:35am
    olbaid almost every international company avoids tax on a massive scale, that's why there is $6 TRILLION dollars hiding in tax havens.
    So pray for that to be returned to the taxpayers. Research the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca scam. Then you won't have to pray to me to tell you.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    11:43am
    Hobbit - placing after tax cash in tax friendly countries does not in itself constitute tax evasion

    Did any one get charged ?
    No !
    Why - because it was all perfectly legal
    Rae
    16th Aug 2018
    12:39pm
    It's perfectly legal to claim Welfare if the companies you work for either don't pay your wages and entitlements or only offer short term contracts as they can't run the business adequately well enough to offer part time or full time work.

    The level of management now is quite dismal in Australia otherwise this issue wouldn't be such a problem.

    Centrelink needs to use real figures now. Times have changed and under employment is a growing issue for workers.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th Aug 2018
    2:36pm
    What's legal is determined by the wealthy and powerful, for the benefit of the wealthy and powerful, olbaid. If Centrelink cheats were making the laws, cheating Centrelink would be legal. Would that make it okay? Of course not. What is 'legal' is not the issue. The issue is what is morally acceptable and in the nation's best interests. Allowing corporations to place cash in tax havens is NOT in the nation's interests, and it is only doing so that creates a deficit that makes it appear necessary to persecute the have-nots. Funny, though, how the haves are always happy to have the have-nots persecuted, and justify any attack on them, but excuse the rorts by the well-off, despite the latter costing mega-billions while the former is chicken-feed.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    3:11pm
    Rainey, if I chose to invest money that I have already paid tax on in Australia, in Jersey Island which has a tax rate of 0%, that is my right.

    I've already paid the tax in Oz and I now choose to take my after tax money to a friendly jurisdiction. That is my right
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th Aug 2018
    6:05pm
    If you paid tax on it fairly, fine, but the corporations and wealthy people we are talking about DON'T. They hide their wealth in tax havens to escape their obligations.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    6:07pm
    Another ignorant comment from Rainey
    Bit hard to have a discussion with someone with such poor powers of comprehension
    TREBOR
    16th Aug 2018
    6:38pm
    A full third of the BCA members pay no tax, and another third some tax - on their TAXABLE income....

    Please explain?

    And explain how a company can run at a loss year after year and never break even - yet still give out dividends.

    Tax law for companies is in desperate need of an overhaul, as is company law. Still stuck in the 18th Century when only the very rich could go into business and set it up so they couldn't lose.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    6:46pm
    Trebor - which companies are paying dividends that never made a profit handing out dividends ?

    Wonky facts son
    Noodles
    16th Aug 2018
    7:14pm
    If people took the time to do some research they would find out which big companies are paying big taxes going towards paying pensions.

    For instance the big four banks are the biggest tax payers.
    George
    16th Aug 2018
    9:17pm
    Hobbit, you are asking the right question - unfortunately no one seems to be listening, with Lib party trolls such as Olbaid trying to pretend companies are paying sufficient / reasonable taxes.

    See link below with a list of Large companies and how much tax they paid in 2015-16. If you have the stomach for it analyse it - but keep a bucket nearby to collect your vomit! With companies such as Glencore ($18 Billion income) and Origin Energy ($11 Billion income) paying NO taxes. Overall, in this list of Large companies, "There were 732 COMPANIES WHO PAID NO TAX IN AUSTRALIA IN THE 2015-16 FINANCIAL YEAR. COLLECTIVELY, THEIR INCOME WAS MORE THAN $500 BILLION." Missed taxes in Hundreds of BILLIONS!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-07/corporate-tax-data-released-by-ato/9236878

    Where is that MINIMUM TAX System to make all pay reasonable, minimum taxes plus tightening of clearly massive loopholes???
    Turnbull wants to give them more Tax Cuts????????????
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    9:31pm
    George - you have no clue what youre talking about. Please stop before you embarass yourself further
    George
    16th Aug 2018
    11:26pm
    olbaid (Raphael?) - Look in the mirror and repeat your words above slowly to yourself!
    For most other people here, the situation is very clear, but you are clearly beyond repair.
    Dave R
    16th Aug 2018
    10:12am
    This is just the latest move from a government determined to use Centrelink to bash the people at the lower end of the system.
    A pity the government does not take similar action against the wealthy tax evaders at the top end, especially the multinationals who pay little or no tax in Australia at all while sending billions in profits overseas.
    Not a Bludger
    16th Aug 2018
    10:40am
    No Centrelink does not go far enough - and Cassandra Goldie is entirely wrong, as usual.
    Those who are being unfairly treated are we the taxpayers who provide the money that these rorters steal only to be told by Goldie and her ilk to let the rorting continue.
    Carry on, Centrelink and with alacrity, please.
    Rae
    16th Aug 2018
    12:44pm
    Same as all that privatisation of the income earning assets we the taxpayer paid for and are now being robbed blind by the buyers of our own infrastructure.

    The Government needs to fall over and fast while we still have a Country left and before the blow ins all blow out taking our money with them.

    Centrelink needs to change with the times and use real earnings figures in real time in a contracted situation of under employment and short term work contracts.

    Business is obviously not coping with current demand collapses and it's the Governments own fault for mismanaging the economy and Human Resources so badly.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th Aug 2018
    2:42pm
    Not a Bludger, I'd agree if it was rorters and cheats being bullied. It's NOT. The rorters and cheats get away with it. They know every trick in the book and often have support and help from C/link employees. It's victims of C/link error who are being tormented.
    floss
    16th Aug 2018
    10:57am
    Why is it ok to target the poor and not the big end of town ,but that is the Liberal party way.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    11:17am
    Why is it ok to rort centerlink ?
    jackie
    16th Aug 2018
    11:26am
    olbaid....The only people who are rorting Centrelink are the people that run around with their faces covered up. I have never seen one of them at a job let alone a course but they all are experts at collecting welfare for the children they are manufacturing.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th Aug 2018
    2:40pm
    The real rorters are pros at it, and often helped by friends who work for Centrelink and 'know the ropes'. They are NEVER caught. I know one who has been rorting for 40 years. No chance of her ever being held to account. But someone who makes an innocent error or is victim of a Centrelink error that the recipient doesn't detect (because Centrelink doesn't detail how they calculate entitlements) will be tormented.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    3:07pm
    Why don't you report her Rainey.
    WHy were yoiu silent for 40 years. People like you are part of the problem
    Triss
    16th Aug 2018
    3:19pm
    You are so right, floss, it is the people with money who don't get charged. According to reports the finance minister waived the debts of parliamentarians Joyce, Ludlam, Waters, Nash, Culleton and Roberts. Those debts were accrued from salaries, staff, travel and office expenses when they were disqualified. Former senator Bob day has had his debts waived by government after being told that he would find it hard to repay the money.
    Olbaid, I’m surprised you’re not on their case, after all, it’s “us taxpayers” who fund their high salaries…and, it seems, their waived debts.
    Time for the worms to turn, why should people with money be let off their debts when others with no money have to pay.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th Aug 2018
    6:03pm
    You really show your ignorance, olbaid. I've reported her again and again. Nothing is done. Like I said, those who ''know the ropes'' and have friends in C/link NEVER get caught. I've submitted documentary evidence that she is lying, but nothing is ever done.
    TREBOR
    16th Aug 2018
    6:41pm
    olbie - we do not yet live in a nation controlled by guilt by accusation - if The Good Colonel C'Link has a feeling that a 'debt' is owed - it is incumbent on The Good Colonel to provide details of how, when, where and why - otherwise under OUR law there is no case to answer.

    It is not sufficient to simply demand without providing details...... and any case so brought should be thrown out by a court at first call.
    Noodles
    16th Aug 2018
    7:06pm
    Everyone gets all het up when a politician does something wrong but I personally know of a person who made $30,000 unbeknown to Centrelink and he gets a part pension. All the money he earnt was by doing painting jobs for cash.

    As far as Iam concerned this is fraud.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    18th Aug 2018
    11:17am
    OGR if you have friends at Centrelink they are not even allowed to say hello to you and they certainly can't deal with you.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Aug 2018
    8:25pm
    Goodness, VGB... are you really naïve enough to think all Centrelink staff abide by those rules? Really? Nobody could be that stupid, could they?
    olbaid
    19th Aug 2018
    8:29pm
    You didn’t try hard enough Rainey
    Or you accused an innocent woman
    Either way you should be ashamed
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    20th Aug 2018
    9:20pm
    As usual, olbaid, you use ASSUMPTIONS to make a total ASS of yourself! You no idea what you are on about. The woman is NOT innocent, and I certainly tried very hard. But the system only persecutes the honest and decent. The skilled crooks prosper in this evil world (along with the vile, bitter, twisted, judgmental nasties like you)
    ex PS
    21st Aug 2018
    12:25pm
    It seems the poor rort, the rich minimize. Same story different century.
    TREBOR
    16th Aug 2018
    10:59am
    Here we go again.....
    TMac
    16th Aug 2018
    11:03am
    I have a son with cerebral palsy who has just been targeted to justify his DSP payments. Whilst it is a pain chasing up old documents & information dating back several years I don't have a problem with it, after all its taxpayers money.
    TREBOR
    16th Aug 2018
    11:04am
    It's actually not very hard - a person declares income - there are potential cross-checks via linked bank details etc - where is the problem? they either declared correctly or they didn't - or so it would seem....

    What's this 'averaging' of income over an extended period, when the rules clearly say that income per fortnight is what is used for calculation... so if you have a casjob driving a club bus and Christmas/New Year grosses you $2000 a week instead of $400 - is that supposed to mean you under-declared for the slack periods of the year?

    Nonsense.....
    Cowboy Jim
    16th Aug 2018
    11:15am
    Cash job driving a club bus on a Friday and Saturday night has gone out the window as well. Here a bloke gave it away and the new bloke lining up to do it was asked for a tax file number and bank account number. Needless to say the position will have to be filled by someone with proper pay and conditions. Clubs cannot have it both ways - the old days, $50 a day cash and no IFs or BUTs. Now - $29 per hour and all the bells and whistles including work insurance. Some strapped clubs might just have to get used to pay the modern way.
    Triss
    16th Aug 2018
    2:27pm
    Does cas job mean casual job or cash job? There is a difference.
    Cowboy Jim
    16th Aug 2018
    4:57pm
    Good point Triss - I missed that. Thanks for pointing it out for us.
    Cowboy Jim
    16th Aug 2018
    11:19am
    If you have no external income you have no worries. I know it is tempting to rent 2 rooms out to students from the neighboring Uni for cash. Lot of people get caught out for doing that; the neighbors must be watching and do not like you having something they do not have.
    ace
    16th Aug 2018
    11:33am
    I think if you owe money you should Pay! last year my Down syndrome son received a ramdom Centrelink check" was he still entitled to his disability pension" & did he owe them money we had a phone call from Canberra & then we got the forms I forget but it was about 40 pages he works part time so pay slips samples from 2013 ,the report was over 5 years! his Dr had 13 pages I think & when he did fill it in time I got a please explain & had to request extra time & harass him to complete! I had several pages also on assets etc.I am retired & on a pension also,. I found it very stressful I was also managing his NDIS plan & his day to day support 6 days a week (I do Sundays )& yes the outcome he still had DS & could keep his pension & they had discovered he did owe them Money $256.00 payable asap I went through all that for $256 !!!!!!!!!!
    Bellbird
    16th Aug 2018
    7:10pm
    The treatment of your son was scandalous, and heartless and the politicians who support this system should hang their heads in shame. The defenders of robo-debt need to explain why at least 20% of the recipients of debt notices OWE NOTHING: it is a centrelink error. And now they are chasing the particularly vulnrerable, the people least able to cope with the extraordinary and odious demands for information. The LNP just love bashing up the weakest in society: they were probably the bullies in the schoolyard in past lives.
    fearlessfly
    16th Aug 2018
    11:52am
    I'm afraid to comment on this, my language would be such that I would be banned for life!
    KSS
    16th Aug 2018
    12:36pm
    I don't see the problem with this either especially after the last go round. At that point given it was all over just about all media types, wouldn't you have thought that anyone on welfare - or those caring for someone on welfare - would have got their own ducks in a row? Particularly as I seem to remember the warnings at the time that anyone on welfare of any sort could be contacted at anytime!

    Having said that; good luck to Centrelink sending 'please explain' letters to the homeless! Where do they send it? Third pylon from the north end of the bridge?
    Rae
    16th Aug 2018
    12:57pm
    Yes KSS. Just a way to cut their payments completely I suppose.

    As to getting the ducks in a row I think the charities may need to help. A lot of these people are semi literate or english second language and need help.

    There is also the problem of unethical employers ripping workers off and not issuing statements or pay slips.

    It's great for those of us at the top end of the bell curve to tut tut about record keeping and how simple it really is when those struggling at the other end are being slammed by a ruthless world where IQ is all that matters and you're fair game if born not too clever.

    In the past suitable employment was available for everyone but then being the richest dick in the joint wasn't so highly regarded.
    sunnyOz
    16th Aug 2018
    1:29pm
    Having just started on the merry-go-round that is Centrelink - all I can say is KEEP RECORDS!! Of everything! Every time you talk to someone, who you talk to, what about, every time you log on to MyGov, get a receipt number. In less than 5 months I have nearly 2 arch lever files of notes. They have made 3 errors with my Aged Pension application - incorrectly cancelling it at one time. The number of times I have had to explain how to calculate something for them, is mind boggling. Staff do not know about the Work Bonus, cannot understand the amounts we are permitted to earn, etc.
    I honestly do not trust them, that in 5/7/10 years time they will come back and say that I owe them money, when it has been THEIR error. I was also stunned to be told that they do not have to give a break down of any payment they make to us (if a part-pension) - you just have to take their word that they are correct. I had to deal with missing payments, back pay, wrong calculations (by them) - and still, have to trust that they got it right.
    I too see nothing wrong with having to repay a debt if it is owed - but that is the important thing - IF IT IS OWED! You have no way of really knowing! It is their word against yours, and you are ALWAYS guilty first.
    Snowwhite
    16th Aug 2018
    2:19pm
    Olbaid its a bit hard to receive notification of money owing when you are homeless and have no fixed abode. But silly me Centrelink are so caring no doubt they will just cut off payments and save the taxpayer the princely sum that the dole gives recipients.
    Cowboy Jim
    16th Aug 2018
    4:21pm
    Snowwhite - the people I know around here have addresses to get messages although they are living in cars and such. They have their messages alright but sometimes they will ignore them. Tell them not to ignore C/L letters as it is their only income. They also do not seem to understand that the local workers resent them as so many casuals here do not much more than the pension.
    Rae
    17th Aug 2018
    7:40am
    Hit the nail there Cowboy. It's why the LNP were able to slam self funded retirees who were mainly PAYG and in a union by changes to the asset and income tests. Withdrawing part pensions and benefits.

    That was ideological.

    Once the ALP get in the payback will be dividend refunds as that will affect retired self funded business people and investors.

    That will be ideological too. Tit for Tat.

    The workers out there struggling along with no chance of buying a home or saving much don't give a damn about it. In fact they think it quite fair.

    Those who were already penalised but who don't have direct shares don't care either. Good enough for them then why should shareholders be protected.

    This is what happens in a two Party system out of control.

    Divide and conquer is as old as any warfare and this is a class war isn't it?
    Sundays
    16th Aug 2018
    2:48pm
    What a horrible country we have become when homeless and those with mental illness are subjected to these sorts of audits. They would,find it almost impossible to gather the information required for an audit. Then what? Let them starve, put it back to charities to step in. Those who deliberately defraud Centrelink should be targeted and dealt with but the most vulnerable left alone until the system is working correctly
    Triss
    16th Aug 2018
    7:04pm
    I agree with you, Sunday.
    Celia
    16th Aug 2018
    2:59pm
    We don't get anything from Centrelink, but if their system was state of the art there should should not be any need to annoy and upset the weak and venerable. They have to have some idea of what is being paid. I remember my late mother getting letters all the time, it is not good enough to annoy the elderly like they do.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    17th Aug 2018
    11:04am
    It wasn't Centrelink, but still a govt pension dept. that failed to advise a reply to an application by a close relative who had a large entitlement. Illiterate, she assumed no reply meant no entitlement and didn't pursue it. When, 9 years later, it was exposed that she had been deprived of nearly $100K in pension entitlements, the dept. claimed it had no obligation to pay interest or compensation of any kind. The woman died soon after the mistake was found and her executors spend 18 months and hundreds of hours battling the ATO and Centrelink to stop them assessing the lump sum payment as income for the year it was received. Seems averaging is okay when it favours the bureaucracy, but not when it favours the client. Similarly, errors are excusable when made by bureaucrats, but there's one law for the powerful and another for the powerless.
    Knows-a-lot
    16th Aug 2018
    4:02pm
    Trust the heartless Centrestink to go ahead with this bastardry. But, then, they've had their heart cut out by an inept and malign nincompoopish Lieberal government.
    Triss
    16th Aug 2018
    4:57pm
    It would be interesting to know what pension Hank gets when he leaves and at what age.
    patti
    16th Aug 2018
    4:13pm
    The thing that is wrong with it, olbald, is that in many cases there was no debt. Elderly and vulnerable people were being harassed, but did not owe anything. They should not have to prove their innocence. It's Centrelink's responsibility to make sure the facts are correct before terrorising its recipients. We don't want a repeat of last year's debacle thanks.
    Triss
    16th Aug 2018
    5:03pm
    If it was any other section of the community Centrelink would be sued for harrassment, emotional breakdown, genocide and various other maltreatments. Then it would back down so quickly. Because it doesn't get sued is the reason it's still using bully tactics
    Noodles
    16th Aug 2018
    7:07pm
    I am still a taxpayer and have no problem with my taxes going to those who need it but I totally resent people ripping off the system. The full force of the law should come down on them...I do not care how old they are.
    Rae
    17th Aug 2018
    7:48am
    Yes Noodles quite right but Centrelink must prove a case using factual figures not averages. There should be a tribunal if we are a legal system where you are innocent until proven guilty.

    Those ripping off the system seem to get away with it.

    Italy caught many tax dodgers by simply auditing those who had expensive cars and boats and houses.

    If the ATO did that here a lot of business owners would be found to be ripping the system off too.

    How do you lease a porsche when your income is only $18 000 a year? Own a luxury yacht and live in Bondi?
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    17th Aug 2018
    10:58am
    And do you have a problem with people being deprived due to Centrelink errors? Would you be happy to contribute to compensating those who suffer harm as a result of Centrelink mistakes, Noodles?

    Rae is right. Those really ripping off the system get away with it. Centrelink is attacking small fish who have limited means to defend themselves.
    Noodles
    18th Aug 2018
    9:20am
    As the topic is about "people ripping off Centrelink" I am only addressing that.

    If another topic is raised about Centrelink errors I will then voice my opinion on that.
    lasaboy
    16th Aug 2018
    8:18pm
    Whatever happened to the point of law where, you are innocent until proved guilty, under this system everyone is guilty unless they can prove they are innocent, this means anyone, ANYONE can be targeted, this means you if you receive ANY welfare or pension entitlements
    TonyBC
    16th Aug 2018
    8:57pm
    olbaid:Here are the top 100 companies that did not pay tax in Australia last year: https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/finance-news/2016/12/09/companies-not-paying-tax/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlovV8LLx3AIVDKqWCh1jZApOEAAYASAAEgL4svD_BwE
    TonyBC
    16th Aug 2018
    9:00pm
    Also olbaid: One in three large firms paid no tax in the last financial year, the Australian Tax Office has revealed, prompting Labor to go on the attack.

    Of the 1904 entities examined, a total of 679 (or 35.6 per cent) had no tax payable, despite passing a multi-million dollar income threshold, the ATO reported on Friday.
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    9:04pm
    so silly
    u need to understand the difference between accounting profit and tax profit.
    But just know in the end the tax will be paid - its just timing difference due to difference between deductible for tax versus deductible according to accounting standards

    Labor is being dishonest and preying on your naivety
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th Aug 2018
    8:12am
    What rubbish, olbaid. Spoken like an accountant (and we know you trained as one, OG!) who is proficient in helping clients escape their obligations. Not only will the tax not be paid - because there will be one after another ''timing difference'' and other legal ''out clause'', but even if it was the delay costs the nation heavily.

    Corporates and the wealthy ARE NOT PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE. And the result is that the services the nation needs to keep society healthy are being paid for with rising debt - which is bad for all of us. So you and your privileged ilk want to milk stones - persecute the poor and try to somehow make them pay for the greed of your rich mates.
    olbaid
    18th Aug 2018
    12:18pm
    Wow I underestimated your ignorance . Won’t happen again
    George
    16th Aug 2018
    9:20pm
    More disgusting attacks by this Govt on small fry to recover a few dollars using a defective system which could much better be used by the ATO where they could collect BIG BUCKS.

    See link below a link with a list of Large companies and how much tax they paid in 2015-16. If you have the stomach for it analyse it - but keep a bucket nearby to collect your vomit! With companies such as Glencore ($18 Billion income) and Origin Energy ($11 Billion income) paying NO taxes. Overall, in this list of Large companies, "There were 732 COMPANIES WHO PAID NO TAX IN AUSTRALIA IN THE 2015-16 FINANCIAL YEAR. COLLECTIVELY, THEIR INCOME WAS MORE THAN $500 BILLION." Missed taxes in Hundreds of BILLIONS!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-07/corporate-tax-data-released-by-ato/9236878

    Where is that MINIMUM TAX System to make all pay reasonable, minimum taxes plus tightening of clearly massive loopholes???
    Turnbull wants to give them more Tax Cuts????????????
    TonyBC
    16th Aug 2018
    9:25pm
    olbaid: Did you even read the story?????
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    17th Aug 2018
    8:31pm
    Of course he didn't. He either can't read or can't comprehend what he's reading. That's been made very clear in almost all his posts.
    olbaid
    17th Aug 2018
    8:46pm
    I didn’t bother to respond because as I proved earlier both TonyBC and you are talking rubbish
    Micha
    22nd Aug 2018
    12:04am
    olbad -- nothing you say makes any sense.
    TonyBC
    16th Aug 2018
    9:29pm
    olbaid: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-09/tax-data-transparency-ato/8106178


    Print Email Facebook Twitter More
    Who pays what? ATO names large companies that paid zero tax in 2014-15
    By Matt Liddy

    Updated 9 Dec 2016, 8:34am
    Parliament House
    Photo: The ATO says that just because a company is shown as paying zero, that does not necessarily mean tax avoidance. (AAP)
    Related Story: No tax paid by more than a third of large companies

    The Australian Tax Office has named 670 large companies that paid no corporate tax in the 2014-15 financial year.

    See who's paying what by searching the full database below.

    But first, here's what you should know about the dataset:

    The data contains the total income, taxable income and tax payable of more than 1,900 public, private and foreign-owned entities for the 2014-15 income year.
    It includes public and foreign-owned companies that have a total income of $100 million or more, and private entities with a total income of $200 million or more.
    Cells containing a dash (-) represent "an amount of zero or less".
    The report only contains individual companies, not groups of companies.
    Some of the companies reported here as paying no tax had related entities that did pay tax.
    The ATO notes that "no tax paid does not necessarily mean tax avoidance", as "the aggregate figures listed cannot and do not reflect the complexity of the tax system".
    Find out more: More than a third of large companies pay no corporate tax
    olbaid
    16th Aug 2018
    9:32pm
    stop confusing income with taxable profit . Gawd man get with the program
    lasaboy
    16th Aug 2018
    10:51pm
    Tony BC are you being paid to confuse the issue,l this is about CentreLink, not the Taxation Office or about companies who don't pay tax, God get a grip
    Rae
    17th Aug 2018
    7:59am
    In other words these companies are so in debt they aren't making profits. Some huge internationals have never ever made profits.

    They pay huge top salaries, bonuses and buy backs of shares and expansion through debt.

    The scary part is that our Superannuation is invested with these companies up to the neck in debt and paying oodles to the top men but making no profits.

    olbaid is right. Even Serco who is everywhere now running Government programs and yet they just grow and grow and never make a profit so they never pay taxes nor contribute a share to the common good of those supporting their success.

    A century of growth and minimum costs paid to any Nation. Just bleeding taxpayers as they grow.

    It's not fraud but it's not moral either.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    17th Aug 2018
    10:55am
    Growing debt is so easy. Just pay execs and directors far more than they are worth and the company runs at a loss, and guess who covers that loss? It's not moral. It's fraudulent - even if it's not legally deemed ''fraud''.
    TonyBC
    18th Aug 2018
    11:31pm
    olbaid: This is the last comment I will make on this subject:
    We only see what we want to see; we only hear what we want to hear. Our belief system is just like a mirror that only shows us what we believe. Don Miguel Ruiz
    I am sure this quote applies to your way of thinking.
    Goodbye
    ex PS
    20th Aug 2018
    3:00pm
    So if the local retailer sends you a bill, you should pay it unless you can prove you didn't incur the debt. Are we forgetting about the principle of innocent until proven guilty?
    This type of "Debt Recovery" is nothing more than a scam.
    No demands should be sent for payment until the debt has been proven, has anyone considered how much money is being wasted chasing up false debt?


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