Child Support when one parent lives in New Zealand
An agreement between the Australian and New Zealand Governments allows each country to collect Child Support payments on the other's behalf.
Paying Child Support when the other parent lives in New Zealand
If you live in Australia and pay Child Support to a parent who lives in New Zealand, your Child Support assessment is managed by New Zealand Inland Revenue Child Support (NZIRCS). Visit the Child Support section of the NZIRCS website for more information about how it’s calculated.
We cannot change anything about your New Zealand assessment. Things that may affect your assessment include your income, dependent children and spouse and other Child Support assessments (in Australia or New Zealand).
You should make your payments to us in Australia so we can send them to NZIRCS. If you have been, or are, making payments directly to the other parent, contact us immediately as we and NZIRCS may not recognise them.
There are a number of ways to pay Child Support. Having us collect your payments in Australia means you do not need to worry about the costs of converting your payments to New Zealand dollars.
If you are employed or receive Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments, we will arrange for your Child Support to be deducted and sent to us directly. There is no cost involved. It makes paying Child Support easy and convenient and may help manage any debt you may have.
If you do not want us to deduct payments in this way, you must contact us so we can arrange an alternative method such as:
BPay—you will need Biller Code 201509 and your 16-digit payment reference number (you will find this on your payer account statement).
Australia Post BillPay—you can make a payment at any branch of Australia Post.
Credit or debit card—visit the Government EasyPay website or call 1300 676 420. This service will incur a card payment fee.
Mail—post a cheque or money order payable to 'Department of Human Services—Child Support' with your payment slip to:
Department of Human Services
Locked Bag 11
Melbourne VIC 8006
Call the Payments Enquiry Line on 1800 241 272 for more information about these payment options.
If you do not make your payments
If you do not pay your Child Support, we will work with you to achieve the best outcome for both parents and your children. We will contact you to discuss your circumstances and work out a suitable payment plan.
If we cannot come to an arrangement with you, we may actively try to recover the overdue Child Support for your children’s benefit. Enforcement options include compulsory salary deductions, legal action or preventing you from leaving the country. We will also intercept any Australian tax refund due to you to help reduce the amount owing.
Late payment penalties are applied to outstanding Child Support amounts. These penalties are paid to the Australian Government—not to us or the other parent. Penalties may be waived if the overdue Child Support is paid in full.
If any penalties are imposed on your NZIRCS assessment before the case is transferred to us, you need to contact NZIRCS on 1800 504 042 to discuss this further.
If your circumstances change
Keep your details up-to-date by telling us as soon as possible if your circumstances change. Remember to notify NZIRCS of any important changes to your circumstances as well, as some changes can only be taken from the date you tell them.
There are rules in our agreement with New Zealand that mean you pay Child Support through New Zealand or Australia but not both. If the receiving parent moves to Australia, let us know immediately so we can discuss with NZIRCS how to proceed with your case.
New Zealand assessments or court orders
If your New Zealand Child Support assessment or court order has been registered with us in Australia and you want to discuss options for making payments, contact us from within New Zealand on 0800 440 953 (freecall) or +61 3 6216 0864 (international call charges apply).
Receiving Child Support from a parent living in New Zealand
If you live in Australia and receive Child Support from a parent who lives in New Zealand, we work out the amount your children receive based upon both parents’ income, both parents’ level of care, the age of the children and statutory estimated average cost of raising them and any other dependent children each parent may have.
When we calculate the amount, we use your taxable income as assessed by the Australian Taxation Office for the most recently ended Australian financial year before your application was lodged, or the total Centrelink benefits you received in that financial year, or a combination of both.
For the parent in New Zealand, we use their income from the most recently ended financial year in New Zealand. This is converted into Australian dollars using the average International Money Transfer rate used by Commonwealth Bank of Australia for the period of the New Zealand financial year.
You can choose to have us collect payments on your behalf or you can make private payment arrangements with the other parent. If you choose the private payment option, we must issue an assessment or accept an agreement. We will tell you how much Child Support needs to be paid and then you make your payment arrangements privately. This is called Private Collect.
If you choose to have us collect payments on your behalf, we will attempt to contact the parent in New Zealand to discuss the amount they’re required to pay. We will usually refer the case to New Zealand for recognition and collection within two months unless the paying parent chooses to pay voluntarily.
We will let you know when we send your case to New Zealand for collection. Once your case is referred we allow six months for payments to be established and to make sure payments are received regularly.
Call us on 131 272 if you do not get a payment within six months from the time you were informed the case was referred to New Zealand. We will ask NZIRCS for an update.
The agreement between us and New Zealand specifies that each country will collect overdue Child Support or spousal maintenance on the other’s behalf. It does not allow each country to direct the other country about how or when these amounts should be collected. This means that the action taken to collect any money owing by the parent in New Zealand is decided by NZIRCS.
If the paying parent does not make payments in the required timeframe, NZIRCS will enforce the assessment using New Zealand enforcement laws. New Zealand will forward collected payments to Australia and we will pay these amounts to your nominated bank account or by cheque on the last working day of the month.
Australian assessments or court orders
If you have a case that has been referred to New Zealand for collection, you will need to discuss any changes to your payment arrangements with the New Zealand Inland Revenue department. You can contact them on 0800 221 221.
If your call relates to any changes to the assessment, please call us on +61 131 272 or +61 3 6216 0864 (international call charges apply).
If either parent moves between Australia and New Zealand
There are rules in our agreement with New Zealand that mean Child Support should be worked out in the country where the parent caring for the children lives. This is because the Child Support systems in New Zealand and Australia are connected to the social welfare systems.
Call us on 131 272 as soon as you move (or before) to prevent any issues that may affect your Child Support assessment.