Your family income estimate

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

Why we need an income estimate

We base your family assistance payments on your family income estimate. Because of this, your family income estimate needs to be accurate and up to date.

We’ll ask you to update your income estimate before the start of each financial year. After the end of the financial year, we'll check your income with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

You need to lodge your tax return or tell us you don't need to lodge one by the deadline.

We'll compare your income estimate with your actual adjusted taxable income and balance your payments. This is to make sure we paid you the right amount of family assistance.

We’ll use your income estimate to work out your entitlement to:

If you don’t give us an income estimate

We’ll estimate your income for you to reduce your risk of being overpaid. There are different ways we can do this.

We may update your income estimate based on:

  • your or your partner’s actual income information from the ATO, or
  • the latest income estimate you’ve given us.

We may also increase your estimate in line with changes to the Australian Average Weekly Earnings.

For Child Care Subsidy purposes you must provide an income estimate for the 2018-19 financial year. We’ll use this information to assess you for Child Care Subsidy.

What to know before you estimate your income

There are some things you need to know about the income estimate you provide.

If the income estimate you give us is too low, you may get a debt which you'll have to pay back.

If it's too high, you may miss out on some payments during the year. If this is the case you may receive the amount you missed out on when we balance your payments.

You can reduce your risk of getting a debt by choosing a payment option that suits you. Read more about payment options for Family Tax Benefit.

Your income estimate must include your and your partner's estimated income for the whole financial year. This should include income you've already earned. Remember, if you're paid weekly or fortnightly the number of pay days in a financial year can vary.

You must update your income estimate as often as your circumstances change. This is to avoid an overpayment.

What to include in your income estimate

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

If you and/or your partner pay child support, you will need to subtract the full amount paid from your income estimate.

A number of things could affect your and your partner’s income. When you update your income estimate, think about:

  • overtime or extra hours
  • Parental Leave Pay
  • Dad and Partner Pay
  • casual work, shift work or contract work
  • pay rises
  • 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
  • taxable lump sum payments
  • early released superannuation – this doesn’t include withdrawals made under the First Home Super Saver Scheme
  • other income, such as capital gains or commissions

You don't need to include any child support or spousal maintenance you or your partner receive. However, any child support or spousal maintenance you receive may affect your payment rate when Child Support notify us.

How to update your income estimate

The easiest way to update your income 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.

Read the guide to updating your family income estimate with your Centrelink online account.

When you need to report income for other payments

If you receive an income support payment

You’ll need to report your earned income separately. This is different to updating your income estimate for family assistance.

If you pay or receive child support

We need to know your financial year income. We won’t use your family income estimate for this. To make sure your income details are correct for child support, lodge your tax return on time every year. We need this to work out the amount of child support to be paid. Read more about income used in calculating child support payments.

Why tell us if your circumstances change

You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you’re receiving FTB or child care fee assistance. This is to receive the right rate of payment.

Read more about telling us about change of circumstances.

Page last updated: 3 July 2018