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New Zealanders may now be able to wave good-bye to child support debt

A recent law change to New Zealand’s child support programme has created the biggest incentive for those with outstanding child support debt, in the history of the programme.

Acknowledging there are parents living overseas who are committed to paying their child support obligations but may be struggling with debt, the law change enables Inland Revenue to review cases and write off large chunks of penalty debt.

Collections manager Stuart Duff says this is a policy that can take away the financial burden of long-time debt.

“We understand there are parents with genuine reasons for getting behind on their payments and we can come up with solutions to help. We’re here to listen and can now eliminate penalty debt on a case-by-case basis,” says Mr Duff. “If you’ve got behind on your New Zealand child support payments then give us a call.

“We recently had a case where a liable parent in Australia showed they were trying to do the right thing by chipping away at their outstanding debt, as well as keeping up with their regular obligations. We called them to discuss their debt situation and a lump sum payment was offered. In exchange, we wrote off almost $50,000 in penalty debt.”

The policy lets Inland Revenue take into account individual circumstances that may have made paying child support debt difficult, with one recent case resulting in $150,000 of penalty debt written off for a Kiwi father who had lived overseas for many years.

Mr Duff says sometimes the penalties can get so large that some parents can’t see how to get on top of what may feel like an overwhelming situation.

“We know having substantial amounts of debt can be hugely stressful for Kiwis based overseas and now we can help people get back into making manageable, regular payments.”

There are a range of fee-free options and New Zealanders based in Australia with child support commitments are encouraged to call toll free on 1800 423 230 for a no-obligation conversation with one of the Inland Revenue team. You can get in touch Monday to Friday between 8am-5pm (NZST). Anyone outside of Australia wanting to discuss their child support debt can call on +64 9 984 2537.

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