I transferred the net proceeds of a discretionary benefit as part of my income into a SIPP earlier this year. The CMS have refused to take this into account in my annual re-assessment (and have given no reason). I have the option to appeal the decision, but I am concerned that the appeal panel may look at all my pension contributions with a risk that my CMS liability could actually be increased. I believe I am balancing financial support for my child and my own retirement in a sensible way (I am 50 and am paying a total of 24% gross income into pension) - so I don't think this is excessive - but there doesn't seem to be any rules or guidance available anywhere to help me understand the risk of going to appeal.
So the question is this - does the appeal panel look only at the mandatory consideration decision, or do they review the whole assessment?
I don't know anything about the appeals process, but as you have posted in the child maintenance section, our expert will comment when they log in, they don't log in daily so keep checking back.
I went through the variation process around 10 years ago when my ex was trying to avoid paying me any maintenance by paying 100% of income into pension. SHe didn't turn up to the hearing (which didn't help her) and the tribunal disregarded the whole of her pension contribution (I was assuming they'd allow perhaps 20%). I was speaking to the CSA representative afterwards and he said that it's more of a case by case basis - he'd come across someone who was paying 50% of income into pension and they'd allowed it because he'd started late contributing to pension and it was reasonable the level he was paying, and he was still paying a substantial amount of maintenance.
If they still operate by the same rules, then yes, it's possible they'll increase your payments, but if the level of pension you have been paying is reaosnable, then I doubt that they would do so.
Paying 100% if income into a pension is clearly aimed at avoiding CM liability, and so that needed to be rectified - but I do not understand why they did not allow some contributions to made - can only assume a significant pension pot had built up or the person in question was young enough to catch up once CM liaibility had ended.
It seems the CM service have kept the rules vague, thus handing power over to them. I can see that every case would be different, but there could still be some guidance available as to what can be considered reasonable based on age etc.
I think they took the view that the pension was taken out with the sole purpose of avoiding maintenance - quite correctly as it was 100% contribution and the pension was taken out just days after she was contacted by CSA. I was surprised that no allowance was made at all (but obviously wasn't going to object). I agree that it can be difficult, but it's not a case where there can be rules - those are what the CSA and CMS operate by, and the appeal system is the way of effectively bending the rules, and it has to be on a case by case basis. I would say that if you can justify the level of pension and you are still paying a resonable level of maintenance, then it's probably worth appealing.