Your family income estimate

Your family income estimate is used to work out how much family assistance you get, like Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Benefit. It is important that you give us the most accurate family income estimate you can, so we can pay you the right amount of family assistance.

What we do with your estimate

Your estimate should reflect your family’s financial circumstances for the whole financial year.

This is because after the end of the financial year, we will compare your estimate with your actual adjusted taxable income to make sure we paid you the right amount of family assistance for that financial year.

This will happen after we have confirmed your income with the Australian Taxation Office or you have told us you are not required to lodge a tax return.

You will be asked to update your estimate before the start of each financial year. If you do not provide an estimate, we will calculate one for you based on information we have available to us.

Before you get started with your estimate

  • If you overestimate your family income, you may be underpaid during the year. You will receive any additional entitlement after the end of the financial year when we balance your payment, as long as you lodge your tax return or tell us you are not required to lodge one within the required time frame
  • If you underestimate your family income, you may be overpaid and incur a debt, which you will need to pay back
  • You can update your estimate as often as you like throughout the year. The easiest way to do this is by using your Centrelink online account or the Express Plus Families mobile app
  • If you are unsure about your estimate, there are different payment options you can choose for Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Benefit to help reduce your risk of getting overpaid
  • Remember to include income for yourself and your partner for the whole financial year. Include income you have already earned and income you expect to earn for the rest of the financial year
  • If your salary or wage is paid weekly or fortnightly, the number of individual paydays in a financial year can vary. You need to be aware of this when you estimate your income to avoid being overpaid

How to estimate your income

The income you need to tell us about is your and your partner’s (if you have one) adjusted taxable income. Adjusted taxable income for family assistance purposes is:

  • taxable income, including taxable pensions and benefits (for example, Parental Leave Pay, Dad and Partner Pay, Parenting Payment, Newstart Allowance and Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments)
  • reportable fringe benefits
  • the value of any tax-free pensions or benefits (for example, Disability Support Pension and some Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments)
  • the value of all net losses from any rental property income or investment income you own
  • reportable superannuation contributions, which generally include discretionary employer superannuation contributions such as voluntary salary sacrificed amounts and, if you are self-employed, total superannuation contributions that will be claimed as a tax deduction
  • any foreign income that is not taxable in Australia
  • any tax-exempt foreign income under section 23AF and 23AG of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936
  • less the full amount of child support you and your partner pay

If any of the following are likely to affect your or your partner’s income, try to factor them into your income estimate:

  • working overtime/extra hours
  • Parental Leave Pay
  • Dad and Partner Pay
  • changing casual work, shift work or contract work
  • pay rises
  • lump sum payments
  • receiving a redundancy payout
  • receiving child support
  • paying child support
  • changing jobs
  • starting or returning to work
  • work bonuses
  • income from business or self-employment
  • foreign income
  • other income, for example, capital gains or commissions

You need to tell us if there are any changes to your family’s circumstances. Some factors that may affect your payment include:

  • changes in family income caused by a new job, going back to work or losing a job
  • increased work hours, a pay rise, increased profits from business or investment dividends
  • a change in your relationship status, for example, getting married, or becoming partnered in a registered or de facto relationship (either same-sex or opposite-sex)
  • you separate from your partner or your partner dies
  • children entering or leaving your care
  • changes to child support payments
  • leaving Australia (temporarily or permanently)
  • a change to your child care arrangements
  • children starting or leaving school
  • if shared care arrangements change
  • children over 16 years of age getting a job or earning over the income limit
  • a change in your address

If you are unsure if a change will affect your payments, please contact us.

Updating your family income estimate

The quickest and easiest way for you to update your annual family income estimate is by using our Express Plus Families mobile app. You can also use your Centrelink online account to update your family income estimate any time.

If we have sent you a letter, SMS or email asking you to update your family income estimate for the new financial year, we will have included a One Time Access Code. With this One Time Access Code, you can provide your family income estimate without having to log on to your Centrelink online account. Every person receives their own One Time Access Code to make updating their family income estimate quick and easy.

If you have your One Time Access Code and your Customer Reference Number, you can update your family income estimate right away.

Reporting changes to income for other payments

If you or your partner (if you have one) receive an income support payment such as Parenting Payment, Newstart Allowance or Disability Support Pension, you will need to report changes in your income or earnings for that payment separately. This is different to updating your income estimate for family assistance.

The easiest way to report changes to your income for other payments is through Centrelink online account or our Express Plus mobile apps.

Read more about income reporting if you are not sure whether you need to report your earnings.