In early December, Inland Revenue deactivated its old system after a five-year transition to new technology.
A woman whose child support payments were mistakenly reduced by $1,000 a month by the taxman in December has been told there is no date yet for a fix.
Megan, who did not want her last name used to protect her children, said she was underpaid by more than $2,000 after the taxman reassessed the amount to $80.60 a month against $1,092 in December.
After receiving $80.60 in the December payment instead of the full amount, Inland Revenue reinstated its payment to the original amount of $1,092, meaning there was $1,012 left unpaid.
“I called them and they said ‘oh yeah, that was a problem, it should be over tonight’ – it was December 24 when I contacted them. So I thought to myself, that would be really helpful if it happened for Christmas. It didn’t,” she said.
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As a result of Megan’s assessment at the lower amount, the system also created a debt of $7,000 which the Inland Revenue wrote off, “but I think that probably threw the system into even more of a funk”, she said.
She contacted Inland Revenue again after Christmas, received an apology by phone and was told she would receive the full amount plus the $1012 owed to her on January 21.
“So that date came and I got $80.60 again.
“I called them back and said, what’s going on? And they said there’s a problem with the system, that since they started the new system, even though they can see that the paying parent has paid the money, they can’t make that the system pays for it.
In early December, Inland Revenue shut down its first computer system after a five-year transition to new technology. The cost of the business transformation project, aimed at streamlining and automating much of the tax department, was approximately $1.5 billion.
Inland Revenue spokeswoman Gay Cavill said there were no child support assessment issues with the system in December.
Megan said her ex-partner, who lived in Australia, paid child support two months in advance with money taken directly from her salary.
She said she was told by tax officials when she phoned that there were a lot of people in the same boat, that’s a problem in the new system, but they couldn’t give him no answer.
After asking if Inland Revenue would pay what was owed while the issue was resolved, she received a message on Saturday saying:
“As explained on January 24, 2022, the error on your account does not have a date of correction as such and due to this error, no real right arises on your account, so the system cannot release any funds because none are displayed.
“We apologize again for the inconvenience and are working hard to put a fix in place.”
She said she was lucky because she had a job and was no longer entirely dependent on child support, but she feared other parents would have the same problem.
“A few years ago I was in a position where I relied on this money to pay my rent,” she said.