I could easily repay this "debt" but will not out of principal. I had no idea until I watched 7.30 report tonight that this was a widespread problem. It worries me (a chartered accountant who is very confident I do not owe any money) that those with less resources are being unfairly targeted by our federal government and placed under stress.
The one, and to date only, attempt I made to contact centrelink was a phone call that placed me on hold for almost 2 hours at which point I hung up.
Also I heard the minister tonight say the debt was raised based on ATO data if people did not respond to the letter. I responded to the letter and it only asked me to confirm my earnings for the financial year and not for any fortnight period (the basis for centrelink payments).
I suspect the ATO has either applied an average of my earnings across the financial year or has applied my car travel reimbursement allowance incorrectly to arrive at this "debt". Either way it has been calculated incorrectly and centrelink has not provided enough information for how they arrived at this "debt".