An article published in the Hobart Mercury on 31 May 2018 reports information about the Department of Human Services’ online income confirmation program that is misleading.
It is misleading to say that people providing payslips will receive a higher debt amount. Where a customer provides payslips, the department calculates their earnings based on their gross income. If a customer is unable to provide payslips and instead provides bank statements, the net pay shown on the statement is converted to a gross amount for their earnings calculation. This ensures customers are not disadvantaged.
To avoid discrepancies with employer names, the online system has an ABN lookup feature where users can select the employer’s ABN if the name is unfamiliar. Where employer ABN matching is unsuccessful, the system tries data-matching. In the absence of a response from the customer, the system defers to employer names provided by the ATO. This is the same process we use when manually calculating whether or not a person has a debt.
It is important to note that even after a debt has been raised, a customer can update their details or provide more information to have the debt reassessed. They can also request to have their case formally reviewed.
The department is committed to working with customers to explain why a debt has been incurred. We have a designated team handling enquiries which customers can reach directly on 1800 086 400.