Your family income estimate

We use your family income estimate to work out how much family assistance you get.

The way we assess reportable fringe benefits as part of your adjusted taxable income is changing. Read more about reportable fringe benefits.

How we use your estimate

Each year, you need to give us the most accurate estimate of your family income so you get the right amount of family assistance. This includes Family Tax Benefit (FTB) and Child Care Benefit.

We’ll ask you to update your estimate before the start of each financial year. If you don’t do this, we’ll estimate your income. We’ll base your payments on this estimate.

At the end of the financial year, we'll check your income with the Australian Taxation Office. If you don't lodge a tax return, you'll need to tell us. Then, we'll compare your estimate with your actual adjusted taxable income to make sure we paid you the right amount of family assistance.

Before you estimate

There are some things you need to know about the estimate you give:

  • if it's too low, you may get a debt which you'll have to pay back
  • it it's too high, you may miss out on some payments during the year, but you may receive the amount you missed out on when we balance your payment, as long as you lodge your tax return or tell us you don't need to lodge one by the deadline
  • you can reduce your risk of getting a debt by choosing a payment option that suits you - read more about payment options for FTB and Child Care Benefit
  • the estimate must include your and your partner's income for the whole financial year, including income you've already earned - be aware that the number of pay days in a financial year can vary if you're paid weekly or fortnightly, and
  • you can update your estimate as things change throughout the year - the easiest way to do this is by using your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app

How to estimate your income

The income you need to tell us about is your and your partner’s adjusted taxable income for the whole financial year.

From this, you need to subtract the full amount of child support you and your partner pay.

A number of things could affect your and your partner’s income. Try and factor the following into your estimate:

  • overtime or extra hours
  • Parental Leave Pay
  • Dad and Partner Pay
  • casual work, shift work or contract work
  • pay rises
  • taxable lump sum payments, such as superannuation released early
  • redundancy payouts
  • paying child support
  • changing jobs
  • starting or returning to work
  • work bonuses
  • income from business or self employment
  • reportable fringe benefits – talk to your employer first, because how we assess these depends on the type of employer you work for
  • foreign income, and
  • other income, such as capital gains or commissions

You don't need to include child support or spousal maintenance you or your partner get in your estimate. However, if you get more than the base rate of FTB Part A, any child support or spousal maintenance you get may affect your payment.

Updating your estimate

The quickest and easiest way to update your estimate is by using your Centrelink online account through myGov, or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. Make sure you've downloaded the latest version of the app first.

These video tutorials will show you how to do this.

Update with Express Plus Centrelink mobile app

Update with Centrelink online account

Reporting your income for other payments

You need to report your financial year income if you pay or receive child support. The best way to make sure your income information is correct for child support is to lodge your tax return on time every year. Read more about income used in calculating child support payments.

If you or your partner receives an income support payment, you'll need to regularly report your income separately. This is different to updating your income estimate for family assistance.

Change of circumstances

You need to tell us if things change when you’re getting FTB or Child Care Benefit.

Read more about reporting your change of circumstances.

Page last updated: 2 February 2017

This information was printed Sunday 26 February 2017 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/your-family-income-estimate It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.