Income specific to Indigenous Australians

If you or your partner earn or are given money from any source, you need to let us know.

What is income

Income can be:

  • money or goods that you get in return for work or services
  • any payments you get
  • profits you get from a business - this is the money it makes after you take out the costs it needs to pay
  • money from investments or savings

This includes money from:

  • any sort of work
  • sales of arts and crafts
  • some special types of income to do with Indigenous lands and Indigenous skills

Any money you get may count in your income test. This means it could change your payments from us.

If you have any income or investments outside Australia, they also count as income you need to tell us about.

If you have a partner, their income counts as yours too.

When to let us know about changes

If you or your partner get any income, your payments may change. It’s important to tell us quickly about any changes to your or your partner’s income. If you don’t, we may pay you too much. If you owe us money, we'll work with you to make a plan to pay the money back.

Call us on your regular payment number.

What are special types of income

There are special types of income that may also count towards your income test.

Gate takings

This is money for selling tickets at an event, such as a sports or cultural event.

If you get any share of gate takings, we count it in your income test.

If you get this money as a lump sum, we count it as income for 12 months after that.

Heritage survey payments

These are where someone pays you for your help with heritage surveys. For example, they can be from miners, scientists or explorers.

These payments count as income from work.

Native Title claim payments

If you get money through a Native Title claim, let us know:

  • why you got it
  • what you’re using it for

This is so we can decide if it’s income.

It won’t count as income if:

  • you use the money for the community, or
  • it’s for travel related costs to go to meetings and that’s what you spent it all on

It may not count as income if it’s compensation for the loss of use and enjoyment of your traditional lands.

It will count as income if you plan to keep it.

Consultancy fees

If a developer who is building on a sacred site pays you, this is a consultancy fee. They can be in 1 lump sum or regular smaller payments.

If the fee is 1 payment, we count it as income. It will count for 12 months from the date you get it.

If it’s regular payments, we may treat it the same as a part time job.

Sales of arts and crafts

If you work for yourself selling arts or crafts, the money you get from sales is business income.

We may ask you for a profit and loss statement. This shows us:

  • how much money you got before you paid tax
  • what your costs were to make your arts or crafts

If you share this money with your community, let us know.

Read about sole trader or partnership income.

Royalties

If someone pays you in return for mining on Indigenous land, this is a royalty.

If you get the money paid to yourself, it counts as your income.

If the community gets the money, it:

  • doesn’t count as income if they use the money for the whole community
  • counts as income if they share it among people who plan to keep it for themselves

Some royalties are for not being able to use and enjoy traditional lands any more. Let us know if this is the case. The money may not count as income.

Sitting fees

These are fees to committee members for attending meetings. They count as income.

Money for travel related costs to go to meetings doesn’t count as income. But if you have money left over to keep, it does count as income.

Cultural performances

If someone pays you to perform at an event, this is a cultural performance payment. This can be for:

  • dancing
  • playing the didgeridoo
  • doing tours, or
  • traditional story telling

If you get the money paid to yourself, it counts as your income.

If the community gets the money, it:

  • doesn’t count as income if they use the money for the whole community
  • counts as income if they share it among people who plan to keep it for themselves

Welcome to Country

If someone pays you to open an event by welcoming people to country and to the land of their ancestors, this may count as income.

If you get the money paid to yourself, it counts as your income.

If the community gets the money, it:

  • doesn’t count as income if they use the money for the whole community
  • counts as income if they share it among people who plan to keep it for themselves

Page last updated: 7 August 2018