Your family income estimate

Your family income estimate is used 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.

What we do with your estimate

It is important that you give us the most accurate family income estimate so you get the right amount of family assistance, including Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Benefit.

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

At the end of the financial year, we 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.

We will ask you 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 the information we have available.

Before you estimate

There are a number of things you need to know about the estimate you give:

  • if you underestimate your family income you may get a debt, which you will have to pay back
  • overestimating your family income may mean you miss out on some payments during the year, but we will pay you the amount you have missed out on when we balance your payment, as long as you lodge your tax return or tell us you aren’t required to lodge one within the required timeframe
  • you can reduce your risk of overpayment by choosing a payment option that suits your circumstances - read more about the different payment options you can choose for Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Benefit
  • the estimate must include income for yourself and your partner for the whole financial year, including income you have already earned - be aware that the number of pay days in a financial year can vary depending if your salary or wage is paid weekly or fortnightly, and
  • you can update your estimate as your circumstances 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. 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 some 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 - if you’re self employed, this also includes total superannuation contributions that’ll be claimed as a tax deduction
  • any foreign income that isn’t taxable in Australia, and
  • any tax exempt foreign income under section 23AF and 23AG of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936

From this, you need to subtract 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:

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

You do not need to include child support or spousal maintenance that you or your partner receive in your adjusted taxable income estimate. However, if you receive more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A, any child support or spousal maintenance you receive may affect your payment.

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, becoming partnered in a registered or de facto relationship, separating from your partner, or if 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
  • a change of shared care arrangements
  • children over 16 years of age getting a job or earning over the income limit, or
  • 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 your Centrelink online account through myGov, or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

These video tutorials will show you how to do this.

Update with Express Plus Centrelink mobile app

Update with Centrelink online account

Update with access code

You can also update your family income estimate using a One Time Access Code. We may send you a letter, SMS or email asking you to update your family income estimate for the new financial year and we will include a One Time Access Code. Use the code and your Customer Reference Number to update your family income estimate right now.

You need to report your financial year income if you pay or receive child support. The best way to ensure your income information is correct for child support purposes is to lodge your tax return on time every year.

Read more about income used in calculating child support payments.

Reporting changes to income for other payments

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

You can use your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app to report income for other payments too.

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

Page last updated: 16 November 2016

This information was printed Saturday 21 January 2017 from It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at when using this material.