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Govt to remove Family Assistance problem

Govt to remove Family Assistance problem

The government will legislate to address a problem which can require low income families to pay back some of their Family Assistance in years which have an extra payday, Revenue Minister Cullen announced today.

“Because a year is slightly longer than 52 weeks, people who receive their payments weekly or fortnightly rather than at the end of the year in a lump sum sometimes get an extra payment as will occur both this year and next year.

“The change will allow Inland Revenue to write off these overpayments.

“Under present law, they must be repaid. This can create hardship, especially as the debt was incurred through no fault of the recipients,” Dr Cullen said.

“The average fortnightly payment of Family Assistance is $170, which is a lot of money for a low-income family to pay back.”

The change, which will be included in the next tax bill, will apply from 2003-04.

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