Family, Divorce and Finances
In the case of Gray v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and another , The Court of Appeal held that the judge was entitled to rely on his own evaluation of a father’s earnings.
The mother applied in 2002 to the then Child Support Agency (CSA) for maintenance in respect of the two children she had with the father. The CSA made a revised assessment in 2008 that the father was liable to pay £6.10 per week in maintenance. At the time the father was self-employed and the CSA accepted at face value the father’s own evidence of his income and expenditure.
The mother appealed arguing that the father had misstated his income. The Appeal Court then went on to make its own findings on the true level of his income. On the balance of probability it was thought the father earned about £18,300 per annum after deductions. As no tax had been paid on the additional sum they found no deductions would be made for those elements. The father appealed.
The point in dispute was whether the court was entitled to rely on their own findings of the father’s income rather than those that the father had submitted to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The court ruled that the decision maker was entitled to rely on an evaluation of the father’s actual profits from his self employment rather than the figures submitted to HMRC on his tax return.
Also if the child support officer was going to increase the father’s profit above the level accepted by HMRC then it was the responsibility of the officer to deduct the tax that would be payable on that level of profit.
The matter was to be remitted to the Secretary of State for a recalculation of the child support assessment in regards to the tax deductions.
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