The Australian Government has announced it will refund $721 million worth of welfare debts it raised through the controversial method of averaging ATO income data (commonly known as robo-debt) under the Income Compliance program.

In a press statement last week, Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert said Service Australia will make refunds from July. Refunds will also be made for any interest charges and/or recovery fees paid on related debts.

Services Australia has identified 470,000 debts raised wholly or partially using income averaging of ATO data.

The Income Compliance Program was developed to make identifying welfare overpayments more efficient. It assisted with reviews where customers did not respond, or fully engage, with requests to clarify discrepancies between income earnings reported to Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

In November last year, changes were made to the way debts from welfare payments were raised as part of the Income Compliance Program. From that time, debts were no longer raised wholly or partially using averaged ATO income data.


On the blog

Social Security and Robo-Debt, by Terry Carney (5 June 2018)


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