The Federal Government is putting key parts of its robodebt scheme on hold.

The Department of Human Services says it will no longer raise robodebts when only relying on income averaging.

It comes after the robodebt data-matching scheme sent thousands of incorrect invoices to vulnerable Australians, falsely telling them they owed money to the department.

Experts have raised concern about the averaging process specifically, saying it causes inaccuracies in the debt amounts, and wrongly shifts the burden of proof onto alleged debtors.

In what has been interpreted as a backdown in the operation of the scheme, the Department of Human Services has been told the scheme will now “require additional proof when using income averaging to identity over payments”.

“This means the department will no longer raise a debt where the only information we are relying on is our own averaging of Australia Taxation Office income data,” an internal email allegedly states.

The department has been ordered to undertake a review of all debts where averaging was used.

“Customer compliance division will methodically work through previous debts identified as part of the online compliance program and respond to their requests for clarification,” the email said.

“For customers who are affected, the department will freeze debt recovery action as CCD [Customer Compliance Division] identifies them and looks at each debt. The department will also write to affected customers to let them know.”

Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert said it is not a significant backdown.

“This program has been refined a number of times over the years. This is a further refinement this morning,” he said this week

“It's important for Australians to understand they don't need to contact the department. That small cohort of Australians that have a debt crystallised solely on income averaging, my department will reach out and contact them over the coming weeks.

“We'll continue to use income averaging, with other proof points, as the basis to identify the possibility of a debt. The key refinement is that income averaging, plus proof points, will be used to crystallise or finalise the debt.”