Do you need to lodge a tax return?
Find out whether you need to lodge a tax return.
If we contacted you about lodging a tax return for the 2012-13 financial year and you don't need to lodge one, you can tell us with the One Time Access code we gave you in July, with Centrelink Online Services or with the Express Plus Families mobile app.
If you've received family assistance during a financial year, you or your partner need to either lodge tax returns for that year or tell us you don't have to lodge one. You need to do this so we can pay you the right amount of family assistance.
Find out if you need to lodge a tax return
Most people need to lodge a tax return, but there are some exceptions. The quickest and easiest ways to find out if you need to lodge a return to use the online tool on the Australian Taxation Office website.
If you don't need to lodge
You need to tell us if you or your partner don't need to lodge a tax return.
The quickest and easiest way to do this is by using Centrelink Online Services, the Express Plus families mobile app or your One Time Access Code. If you have a current Child Support assessment and aren't required to lodge, you also need to tell us by calling the Child Support line separately on 131 272.
In some situations, we won’t be able to accept your advice that you or your partner don’t need to lodge a tax return. This will happen where circumstances indicate that you do need to lodge, for example where you or your partner:
- had taxable income above the tax free threshold ($18,200 for 2012-13)
- were entitled to receive, or had to pay child support
- had an interest in a business or were self-employed
- had tax withheld from your payment or income, or
- had reportable fringe benefits or reportable superannuation contributions.
We will refer you to the Australian Taxation Office to check your details and either lodge an income tax return or complete a ‘Non-lodgement Advice’.
Using your One Time Access Code to tell us you don't need to lodge a tax return
If we have sent you a letter, SMS or email reminding you to lodge your tax return or to tell us if you or your partner don't need to lodge one, we will have included a One Time Access Code. With this One Time Access Code, you can tell us that you or your partner don't need to lodge a tax return without having to log on to Centrelink Online Services. Every customer gets their own One Time Access Code to make updating their information quick and easy.
If you have your One Time Access Code and your Customer Reference Number, you can advise the non-lodgement of your tax return right away.
If you do need to lodge
If you do need to lodge a tax return, it's important that you do so as soon as possible so we can pay you the right amount of family assistance. We use the information you give to the Australian Taxation Office to work out how much family assistance you're entitled to. This is balanced against the income estimate you provided to us, and any payments you received during the year. If you have a partner, we'll use their information too.
Once we've balanced your entitlement, we'll send you a letter advising you of the outcome. You don't need to contact us. Lodging your tax return as soon as you can will ensure you continue to get the right payments, on time. If you claim your family assistance after the end of the financial year, you and your partner need to lodge tax returns before we can pay you.
If you don’t lodge a tax return or tell us you don’t need to lodge
If you and your partner haven't lodged your tax returns or told us you don't need to lodge within 12 months after the end of the financial year:
- you may have to pay back any Family Tax Benefit you received that year
- your fortnightly Family Tax Benefit payments may be stopped, and
- you'll lose access to additional payments like the Family Tax Benefit supplements
For the 2011-12 financial year and earlier years, you and your partner have two years to lodge your tax returns or tell us you don't need to lodge in order to receive additional payments like the Family Tax Benefit supplements.
Changes to the tax free threshold from 1 July 2012
From 1 July 2012 the tax free threshold was increased from $6,000 to $18,200 as part of the government's Household Assistance Package. If you earn under $18,200, you may no longer be required to lodge a tax return for income tax purposes.
If the family income estimate you provided to Centrelink for the financial year is below the tax free threshold, we will send you a letter, email or SMS in July asking you to update your end of year income and to tell us you don't need to lodge a tax return.
It's important you provide us with this information so that you receive your correct entitlements. Once you have provided the details requested and we have accepted your non-lodgement advice, we will be able to pay your entitlements.
Some customers may still need to lodge a tax return for child support or other purposes. You should seek advice from the Australian Taxation Office about your individual circumstances.
Please note that even if you have told us you don't need to lodge a tax return, we may still confirm your income with the Australian Taxation Office. We will use data such as payment summaries lodged by your employers and declarations from financial institutions about interest earned or dividends received.