I was fortunate enough to be 'caught' in the 'new and improved' robo-debt dragnet, implemented in response to the scathing senate enquiry into Centrelink's implementation of a no-oversight policy of chasing ambit debts (whilst a government threatened jail terms for those who had received more than their allowance).
The new procedure merely asked for online confirmation that the group certificate (PAYG Summary) that they (Centrelink) had received from the Australian Tax Office was correct.
Well yes. It was. Insofar that the figure they had received was accurate, to the cent, with the PAYG summary issued to me by my employer.
I could have clicked yes - which their website was inviting me to do.
But no. And this will blow your minds...
I had one pay cheque towards the end of the financial year. The earnings were reported in that fortnight, as is required (i.e. not when you are paid, but when you earn it).
But...my employer did not recompense me until the next financial year.
Hey! That should be pretty simple: you nominally 'over-reported' in the previous year; and nominally 'under-reported' by the same amount in the next year (with the inherent mismatch between ATO and Centrelink data)..
You would think so:
Nice Centrelink call-person #1: 'I can see you have uploaded all your pay slips. I can see that your first pay slip details payment for work in the previous financial year, but bumps it into the financial year that we are questioning you about.'
'It is probably completely accountable with the fact that you technically "over-stated" your income in the previous year, BUT, our systems are only designed for cases of potential "overpayment" - IN CASES OF SUSPECTED UNDERPAYMENT, WE DON'T DRAW ON AUSTRALIAN TAX OFFICE RECORDS.'
Well yeah. It could have been so simple: I reported $2000 in earnings, as you tell me to when I worked for it, in the fortnight I earned it, but because my employer paid it two weeks later - carried it over to the next financial year - I am up for Robo-Debt.
You stupid fuckers. Completely stupd.
Don't you understand the modern world of contract work? Only 46% of taxpayers are in full-time, 5-days per week employment that conforms to the myths you propagate about who the 'worthy' taxpayers are.
The rest of us 'flexible' employees (that you neo-liberal pricks have so successfully inculcated),get stuck with shit like this.
My billing time to work all this shit out? @$50 per hour (mates rate) = $600.
My bill to you (final calculations) = $6.27