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Help for New Zealanders to clear child support debt

Parents who are committed to paying their child support obligations, but are struggling with debt, may be able to get some of their penalty debt written off.

The Child Support Act has been amended to allow Inland Revenue to write-off penalty debt, or fees from defaulting on child support payments, in a wider range of circumstances.

Collections Manager Stuart Duff said Inland Revenue wants to support those that are behind on their child support payments and help them get back on track.

“We understand there are people with difficult personal circumstances, which have resulted in them landing in debt but we’re here to help. We encourage people to give us a call. We look for solutions on a case-by-case basis and it often results in us being able to write-off some of this penalty debt.

“We had a case where a liable parent showed they were trying to do the right thing by chipping away at their outstanding debt and committed to keep up with their regular obligations. We talked to them about their debt situation and a lump sum payment was offered. In exchange, we wrote off almost $50,000 in penalty debt,” says Mr Duff. 

In 2016 alone over $1.4 billion dollars worth of penalty debt was written-off and Inland Revenue aims to continue with this, helping to lift the financial burden that long term debt can bring for parents.

“It can be incredibly stressful for parents paying child support. We want these parents to know it is never too late to get on top of their debt, and there are a range of child support payment options available. We can also make payments easier by setting up deductions from people’s salary, wages, or their benefit. All people need to do is give us a call and we’ll help put together a plan,” says Mr Duff.

Call the child support team on 0800 587 242 between 8am – 4.30pm, Monday – Friday, to create a plan with Inland Revenue.