Do you need to lodge a tax return?

So we can pay you the right amount of family assistance you and your partner need to lodge a tax return each year or tell us that you don’t have to lodge one.

There’ll be changes to Family Tax Benefit from 1 July 2016. Read more about the changes.

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 way to find out if you need to lodge a return is to use the online tool on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

If you don't need to lodge

If neither you nor your partner needs to lodge a tax return, you need to tell us and confirm your income for the year. The quickest and easiest way to do this is using your Centrelink online account through myGov, the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app or the One Time Access Code we may have sent you.

In some situations, we won't be able to accept your advice that neither you nor your partner needs to lodge a tax return; for example, where you or your partner:

  • had a taxable income above the tax free threshold
  • was 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’ll refer you to the ATO to confirm your details and either lodge an income tax return or complete a non-lodgement advice.

Even if you have told us you don't need to lodge a tax return, we may still confirm your income with the ATO. We use data such as payment summaries lodged by employers and declarations from financial institutions about interest earned or dividends received to confirm income.

Child Support

If you pay or receive child support and you don't have to lodge a tax return, you should still tell Child Support what your taxable income is because income is used in calculating child support payments. The easiest way to do this is by using your Child Support online account through myGov, or the Express Plus Child Support mobile app.

Read more about how your income is used to calculate child support payments, including how to tell us your income.

How to use your One Time Access Code

You can use your Customer Reference Number (CRN) and One Time Access Code to tell us if neither you nor your partner needs to lodge a tax return. We include a One Time Access Code if we send you a reminder letter, SMS or email to either lodge your tax return or to tell us if you or your partner doesn’t need to lodge.

If you have the One Time Access Code we sent you and your CRN, you can tell us you don’t need to lodge by using the Advise non-lodgement of tax return online service.

If you need to lodge

If you need to lodge a tax return, do so as soon as possible to ensure you’re paid the right amount of family assistance. 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 as a lump sum payment, you and your partner will need to lodge your tax return or advise you are not required to lodge before we can pay you.

We use the information you give to the ATO, the income estimate you provided to us, any payments you received during the year, and if you have a partner, their information too, so we can work out your family assistance payments.

Once we've balanced your family assistance payments, we'll let you know the outcome. You don't need to contact us.

If you use an accountant or tax agent to lodge your tax return, supplying details to them doesn’t mean your tax return has been lodged with the ATO. If you are unsure if your tax return has been lodged, check with your accountant or tax agent.

If you haven't lodged a tax return

If you and your partner haven't lodged your tax returns with the ATO or told us you don't need to lodge within 1 year after the end of the financial year:

  • you won’t receive additional payments, like the Family Tax Benefit supplements
  • you may be overpaid and have to pay back money you have already received, and
  • your fortnightly Family Tax Benefit payments may stop

Contact us if there are special circumstances that prevent you or your partner from lodging a tax return or telling us that you aren’t required to lodge within the 1 year timeframe.

Read more about the time period for submitting lump sum claims and confirming income.

Page last updated: 4 April 2016