This year, he's paid a grand total of one month out of a possible four (year starts in April). Nothing new here, nothing to get excited about, except that at some point in the future I'll likely start getting the $3500 owed to me paid back at a grand total of $40 a month.
Fast forward to last Friday, when I received a letter from IRD containing three-count-em-three reassessments of Child Support. As far as I can tell, it works like this:
1. All of last year, amount has been changed from $492 a month to $732 a month.
2. First half of this year, amount has gone from $492 a month to $132 a month.
3. Rest of this year, amount has gone from $492 a month to $67 a month.
Last time this happened, I called them, a mistake was exposed and the amount was reset back to the $492. This time, I couldn't make head nor tail of it so I called them again.
It seems that his income has reduced substantially since last year, based on a tax return. He's been unable to work or some such, which means the amount has been reduced. But he also made far more money last year than they thought he did, so that amount has been increased. The upshot of this is that he now owes me ~$5000 instead of $3500, but also that future payments will be a tiny amount.
Remember, this is all happening in the abstract because the reality is that the money only means something if he pays it. He's been given till 13th September to pay the back owing amount, but I'm not holding my breath.
The funny part is, you know that one time he actually paid this year? And it was too much by approximately $360? They want that back. From me.
I asked why they could not just take it off the debt he owes me. Apparently, to keep their books straight, they have to get that money off me and give it back to him, because he overpaid and he shouldn't have. I received more money than I should have on that one occasion, therefore I have a debt. Never mind that he owes me ~$5000 and has shown no intention of paying it, and this is a way to reduce that debt by a little bit without making it more difficult for a single parent raising a kid with virtually no assistance. Nope. I have to give it back*.
So what's going to end up happening is that I get to give $360 to the man who owes me $5000, in order to keep someone else's records straight because they didn't keep up with the play on where his income was at.
There is something laughable about this. Mostly because if I didn't laugh, I'd cry.
I also asked what's being done to retrieve the money owed. They said that if he has no money, they can't take it off him. I said that was fair enough, but obviously last year he had quite a lot of money (I know my income is pretty good and I never got assessed to pay $730 a month), and nobody retrieved any of the back debt from him then either. To which they went *coughshuffleshuffle* sorry about that.
The lady was very nice, and sympathetic, and she did give me all the information she could within the bounds of the Privacy Act. But.. I'm still reeling from the sheer fuckedupness of a system that under and over assesses, and how it always seems to end up being me giving them money while I wait for them to do something about the money that's owed to me. And I'm really tired of it - especially given that the net result for me is usually no result - but I feel like if I don't keep on it, I'll get a large bill dropped on me one day and have no idea where it came from. And I reallyreally don't want that. So I keep calling, keep going through this farcical dance, and keep counting to 2389712837460219875 in my head to avoid blowing my stack at them.
* Apparently I can ask for some kind of stay on this debt on grounds of hardship. Thing is my income is sufficient that I'd get laughed at if I cried hardship. I want to get a stay on grounds of "Hello? Fairness? Integrity? Reciprocality?" Watch me try.
In other news, we have a date for KB art submissions. It's the 16th of October.