When a child maintenance assessment is made, the court is entitled to rely on all the information available to it to set the appropriate liability to pay maintenance. This may or may not mean relying on disclosures of earnings made to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Recently, the mother of a child contested the maintenance assessment made on the child’s father on the basis that he had understated his true level of income on his tax returns.
The Court of Appeal ruled that the calculation of profits used for tax purposes was not prescriptive – the person responsible for calculating the appropriate level of child maintenance payable is not bound to accept the information supplied to HMRC.
The Court also commented that when the level of profit assessed by the child support officer exceeds the profits disclosed to HMRC, allowance must be made for any additional tax that would be payable when assessing the income of the payer.
If you are seeking child support, the amount you receive should be based on a realistic assessment of the income of the other parent, which may or may not be in accord with information submitted to the authorities.