Centrelink is taking income information from the ATO and matching it with its own records. It sends a letter when it finds the figures don’t line up. Exactly how it does this is something we’re all trying to find out. We know that—in at least some cases—the income information doesn’t line up because the matching process was simplistic and ham-fisted. Income has been counted twice due to the same business having multiple names, or income earned in only part of the year has been averaged over the entire year.
The 20 percent figure is only those who correct Centrelink’s incorrect information and end up with zero debt owing. We have no figures on how many in the remaining 80 percent have some debt, but are wrong in the amount. I’ve asked the Department of Human resources this question on several occasions now and have yet to receive an answer.
This means we don’t know, and I suspect DHS doesn’t know, some really important information: