Most types of income count in your income test. We use this test and the assets tests to work out if you can get a payment, and what your payment rate will be.
What counts as income
- an amount you earn, derive or receive for your own use or benefit
- some regular payments you get as a gift or allowance
It can be in the form of:
- goods, services or other benefits in return for an item, action or promise
We use the gross amount in the income test. This is the amount before tax or any other deductions.
Your income test includes income from anywhere in the world, not just Australia. This includes pensions from other countries. Read about overseas income.
This is the amount we count in your income test. This also includes your partner's income.
Assessable income can be:
- deemed income from financial investments, including money in superannuation funds if you have reached Age Pension age
- gross employment income - this is anything you earn from work, as well as your wages it includes:
- penalty rates and overtime
- fringe benefits
- amounts you salary sacrifice into super
- income from a sole trader or partnership business
- income from a farm
- distributions or dividends from a private trust or private company
- real estate income, including:
- from rental property
- from boarders and lodgers
- reportable superannuation contributions
- some lump sums
- some types of income specific to Indigenous Australians
- Paid Parental Leave payments
Details we need from you
Normally we ask for your gross income.
If you own a business or rental property we will also ask for your:
- income tax return, or
- profit and loss statement
- report your income
- update details of your savings, shares, managed investments, income streams, real estate and other assets
- report any gifts you get
This is income we don’t count in your income test.
Exempt income can be:
- rent assistance from government
- most payments from us - these may still count in the Family Tax Benefit income test
- compensation for loss or damage to things you own
- child support - this may still affect your Family Tax Benefit Part A
- any free board and lodging you get
- regular payments from a close relative
- Emergency relief or similar assistance
- payments as a victim of National Socialist persecution
- First Home Saver Account withdrawals or interest
- repayment for expenses
- some allowances if you spend the whole amount on what it’s meant for, for example, work travel
- payments through a National Disability Insurance Scheme package
- some lump sums
We don't count up to $8,223 per year from an equity or merit based scholarship in your income test.
This is any scholarship you get:
- so you can study or do research
- for achievement in study or research
This covers most education scholarships.
Any amount over $8,223 per year counts as income and may affect your payment rate.
If you get more than one scholarship, the $8,223 applies to the total amount you get, not to each one.
The exempt amount is indexed each year.
Deeming is the method we use to work out the income from your financial assets. We count this deemed income in your income test.
Read more about deeming.
Income you get from overseas can count in your income test.
Deeming rules are used to work out income from your financial assets. We add this to your other income and apply the income test to work out your payment rate.
This is pay you get for work you've done for an employer.
Business income counts in the income test.
If you’re involved in a private trust or private company, we use your share of the income and assets to work out if you can get an income support payment from us and your payment rate.
This is lease or rent money you get from a property you own. It counts in your income test.
A lump sum is a one off amount of money. Lump sums can count in your income test. If so, they may affect your payment from us.
If you or your partner earn or are given money from any source, you need to let us know.
We now treat Paid Parental Leave as income. This means Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay count in your income test for payments from us.
Page last updated: 1 April 2019