Q&As

A non-resident parent (NRP) is self-employed via their own company, and able to select how company funds are applied for their benefit (including meeting quasi-personal costs within the company wherever legally possible), and also using a large director's loan to return money to them each year in lieu of salary dividends. What approach will the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) take to this on assessment of the NRP’s income? Will the CMS take a broader view, or will its assessment be limited to the salary/dividends as reported on the NRP’s tax return?

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Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 06/02/2018

The following Family Q&A Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A non-resident parent (NRP) is self-employed via their own company, and able to select how company funds are applied for their benefit (including meeting quasi-personal costs within the company wherever legally possible), and also using a large director's loan to return money to them each year in lieu of salary dividends. What approach will the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) take to this on assessment of the NRP’s income? Will the CMS take a broader view, or will its assessment be limited to the salary/dividends as reported on the NRP’s tax return?

A person with the care of a ‘qualifying child’ may apply to the Secretary of State for a maintenance calculation by the CMS. A child is a qualifying child in accordance with section 3 of the Child Support Act 1991 (CSA 1991) if one or both of their parents is not living in the same household as them.

A non-resident parent who is self-employed is obliged to pay child maintenance just as an employed parent is. The difference is that it can be more difficult for the CMS to gain an accurate picture of a self-employed non-resident parent’s true income, for example if they put personal expenses through their company.

The CMS will try to work out a self-employed person’s average weekly earnings from their most recent tax year. They will use the non-resident parent’s tax return as the basis for

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