15 March 2021
[FYI request #13966 email]
Dear Craig Lubbe
Thank you for your email, received on 15 February 2021. We have identified the following
requests, numbered for ease of reference, from your email, which I am responding to as
required by the Official Information Act 1982 (the OIA):
1. I would like a list of classifications a CS officer can select from
indicators on customers’ profiles on Inland Revenue’s systems).
2. I would like to know if this is moderated or is the CS officer simply able to write
what they want about a CS paying parent based on information from others
3. I request a copy of the flagging procedure as well as the procedure for periodic
reviews of the same.
4. I would like to understand how the IRD child support department is going to
improve their “procedures and processes” to ensure that PP are not prejudiced
by parties that refuse to work and or feed the IRD dishonest information.
5. …the “processes and procedures” adopted by the IRD …can be manipulated by
the RP to disadvantage the PP.
6. …one child’s parent may receive $80.00 per month and another child $1,500.00
a month. How is it that 2 children say 11 years old with equal time between the
PP and the RP can have such a financial disparity? Why is this process used
7. …is the IRD aware that this causes parental alienation by RP trying to maximise
the income derived from the PP’s income?
8. Is the IRD aware that the leading cause of conflict amongst there clients is
caused by financial disparity?
9. Is the IRD aware that children from broken homes are being damaged and used
as pawns based on the formula system the IRD has adopted?
Requests 1 and 3: Indicators on customers’ accounts
Inland Revenue uses indicators to support interactions with customers, which show on a
customer’s profile in our system. As noted in the response to your previous request, these
are used in a variety of circumstances to ensure staff members are aware of relevant or
important information about a customer.
There is no single list of indicators that could be on a customer’s account, as these are
spread across multiple systems. Some indicators are customisable and some are system-
generated, and as such I am not able to provide you with an exhaustive list. This
information is withheld under section 6(c) of the OIA, to prevent the making available of
information that would be likely to prejudice the maintenance of the law, namely section
18 of the Tax Administration Act.
I am refusing your requests for a copy of any procedures for using indicators. The
information you are seeking in this case is not held by Inland Revenue. I am therefore
refusing this part of your request under section 18(g) of the OIA.
Requests 2, 4, and 5: Information provided by parents to Inland Revenue
Inland Revenue always verifies any information provided in relation to other customers.
Our staff always take steps to verify information they are given before taking any action
based on that information. Notes in Inland Revenue’s internal systems may record
information provided by a customer that has yet to be verified, but will always be clearly
label ed as such.
Inland Revenue acknowledges that child support avoidance is a problem for those involved,
and that no one should be able to avoid their child support obligations by not providing
accurate information, for example about their income.
Unfortunately, some people will go to extreme lengths to avoid their obligations. Inland
Revenue has the tools to discover undisclosed income and recover unpaid child support if
Inland Revenue is always grateful for receiving information that could help ensure, as much
as possible, that all taxpayers meet their tax obligations. You can report suspected tax
evasion or fraud anonymously by completing the online form, Report tax evasion or fraud
(IR873). This form is available on Inland Revenue’s website by searching for
“Report evasion”. Alternatively, you can also provide any information anonymously by
telephone to Inland Revenue on 0800 225 610. As stated above, Inland Revenue always
verifies any information provided about alleged tax evasion or fraud.
Request 6: Child support calculation
The main aim of the Child Support Act is to ensure that children are financially supported
by their parents. The formula is designed to share the cost of raising children in proportion
with each parent’s share of their combined child support income. The formula considers
direct costs incurred by parents for the care they provide their children when that care is
at least 28% of the time, or on average two nights a week. This generally reflects both
parents’ relative ability to contribute towards the children’s costs as if they were in a two-
When Inland Revenue receives a child support application, we are required to calculate
child support using a standard formula set out in the Child Support Act 1991 that
determines the liable parent. The formula is designed to ensure the cost of raising children
is shared proportionally between parents, based on their capacity to pay.
Child support is calculated using child support expenditure tables, which reflect the findings
of a study on the cost of raising a child in New Zealand. The study showed that parental
expenditure increases as household income rises, with high-income households spending
on average more than twice as much on their child as low-income households. The costs
of teenagers were found to be higher than those of children under 12 years old.
The cost of children varies based on age, the number of children in a child support group,
and the combined income of the parents. The scale of costs reflects up-to-date information
on the expenditure involved in raising children, after allowing for likely tax credits. The
cost of children is set as a percentage of income and differs based on the level of income.
Income levels are grouped in bands set relative to the annualised amount of the average
weekly earnings published by Statistics New Zealand (Stats NZ). These bands are updated
The child support formula has a cap on the amount of expenditure for a child when the
child support income is more than two-and-a-half times the average weekly earnings. As
incomes rise, the percentages in the child support expenditures table decline, to reflect
that the proportion of income spent on children declines as income rises. The child support
expenditure tables for 2022 are based on the June 2020 average weekly earnings for the
June quarter of the previous child support year (provided by Stats NZ). You can find the
tables on Inland Revenue’s website (ird.govt.nz) in the Child support section, or by
searching for “child support expenditure tables”.
The components of the child support formula are applied in a standard approach to all
parents in the child support scheme. This standard approach ensures that parents in similar
situations are treated the same.
Requests 7-9: Information not held
You have asked that Inland Revenue respond to several statements of opinion. The OIA
only applies to information that is already held by Inland Revenue. There is no obligation
on the department to create information to respond to a request.
The information you are seeking in this case is not held by Inland Revenue and would need
to be created to respond to this part of your request. I am therefore refusing this part of
your request under section 18(g) of the OIA.
Right of review
If you disagree with my decision on your OIA request, you can ask an Inland Revenue
review officer to review my decision. To ask for an internal review, please email the
Commissioner of Inland Revenue at: [email address].
You have the right to seek an investigation and review by the Ombudsman of this decision.
Information about how to make a complaint is available either at freephone 0800 802 602
or at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz.
Thank you for your request.
Customer Segment Leader, Families