Child Care Subsidy

Balancing your family assistance payments

We compare your income estimate with your actual income at the end of each financial year. This is to make sure we pay you the correct amount of Family Tax Benefit or Child Care Benefit.

If you don’t need to lodge a tax return, you need to let us know. You can tell us using your Express Plus Centrelink mobile app, but make sure you download the latest version.

Why we balance your payments

We balance your payments to make sure we pay you the right amount of family assistance. Watch this video to find out more about balancing your family assistance payments.

What you need to do

When it comes to tax time, everyone’s different. Most families need to do something before we can balance their payments.

If you were single and received an income support payment for the entire 2017–18 financial year, we’ll balance your payments automatically. You don’t need to do anything. Find out when your payment will be balanced.

If you’re not in this situation, you’ll need to do something so we can balance your payments. There are tools to help you understand what you need to do. 

Check if you need to lodge a tax return

If you're not sure if you need to lodge a return, you can check. Use the Do I need to lodge a tax return? tool on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website. If you have a partner, they should check too.

Use our Tax Time Checker and examples

Once you know if you need to lodge a tax return, try our Tax Time Checker. Answer some easy questions and we’ll let you know what you need to do for us to balance your payments.

We’ve also put together a list of the 9 most common examples. Find your situation to get more information on what you need to do. You can also find out when you can expect us to finish balancing your payment.

Read the most common examples of what families need to do so we can balance their payments.

Tell us about your income

We may need your and your partner’s income details to balance your payments.

If you need to lodge a tax return, lodge it with the ATO. We’ll get your income details from them. Read more about lodging your tax return on the ATO website.

If you don’t need to lodge a tax return, you need to tell us. You also need to confirm your income for the year using your:

When we balance your Family Tax Benefit (FTB) payments

When we balance your payments depends on your circumstances.

We can only start balancing your payments when we have all the information we need from you and other departments.

We can also only balance your payments after we’ve paid your last FTB payment for 2017–18. This will be between 4 and 17 July 2018.  

Top ups and supplements

When we balance your FTB payments, we automatically check if you’re eligible for any top ups supplements. This includes:

You’ll only be eligible for FTB Part A supplement if your income is $80,000 or less. You’re only eligible for Single Income Family Supplement if you were eligible on 30 June 2017 and have stayed eligible.

Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement

We’ll also check you were eligible for FTB Part A for the whole time you were receiving:

  • Newborn Upfront Payment, and
  • Newborn Supplement

If you weren’t eligible and you received it, you’ll have to pay the money back

Time limits for FTB payments

We need to balance your payments within 1 year. This means you have 1 year to:

  • lodge a tax return, or
  • tell us you don’t need to lodge

For financial year:

  • 2016–17, confirm your income by 30 June 2018
  • 2017–18, confirm your income by 30 June 2019

This applies to both you and your partner.

If you don’t do this within 1 year, you may miss out on top ups and supplements. You may also get a debt and have to repay the amount you got during the financial year.

If you get FTB and you don’t confirm your income, we’ll send you a Family Tax Benefit Account Payable notice.

When we balance your child care assistance

We balance child care assistance separately to FTB. We start balancing these payments from Monday 23 July 2018.  

There is a close link between CCB and CCR. If you are eligible for CCR, the amount you get depends on how much CCB you get. When we balance your child care assistance, this means:

  • if you’re underpaid CCB, you may be overpaid CCR
  • if you’re overpaid CCB, you may be underpaid CCR

This might mean you end up with a debt. If this happens, and you receive a top up for child care assistance, we’ll:

  • first use it to repay any child care debt you may have as a result, and
  • then pay the remainder to you, if there is any

We won’t use the top up to repay debts from other payments like FTB.

The 2017-18 financial year is the last time we'll balance Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate. You can now claim the new Child Care Subsidy.

Example of how not getting paid enough CCB can affect CCR

Ricky’s actual income for the financial year was lower than the estimate he gave us. This means he’s eligible for a top up of CCB and that we paid him too much CCR.

We paid Ricky too much CCR because it covers 50% of out of pocket expenses. If he gets a higher rate of CCB, his out of pocket expenses are less.

We’ll use Ricky’s CCB top up to pay his overpayment of CCR. We’ll pay the remainder of his CCB top up to him.

Example of how getting too much CCB can affect CCR

Jessie’s actual income for the financial year was higher than the estimate she gave us.

Jessie should have received a lower rate of CCB. This would have made her out of pocket expenses higher. CCR covers 50% of these expenses, so Jessie should have received a higher rate of CCR.

We’ll use Jessie’s CCR top up to pay her overpayment of CCB. We’ll pay the remainder of her CCR top up to her.

Read more about understanding the balancing result.

How to check if your payments have been balanced

We’ll send you a letter once we finish balancing your payments. If you get your letters electronically, we'll send it to your myGov inbox.

You can also check if your payments have been balanced using:

You'll need to create a myGov account and link to your Centrelink online account if you haven’t already.

How to understand the balancing result


When we balance your payments, we check you received the right amount. If we paid you too much, you’ll have to pay back any overpayments.

We may take the amount from future family assistance payments, including top ups or supplement payments. We may also take it from your tax refund. We’ll let you know if this happens.

It’s important you talk to us if you’re worried about paying back a debt. We can work with you to set up a repayment plan you can afford.

Read more about owing money.

Top ups

If you didn’t receive your full family assistance payments during the year, you may receive a top up.

We may use your top up to repay your Centrelink or tax debts. This may happen even if you have a repayment arrangement in place.

We’ll only use top ups of child care payments to repay child care debts. We won’t use them to repay debts from other payments.

What you need to do for child support

Changes to your child support payments may affect your FTB Part A.

If you pay or receive child support, we use your taxable income to calculate child support payments.  

This means you either need to lodge a tax return, or tell Child Support what your taxable income is.

You should lodge your tax return as soon as you can. If you can’t, you should tell Child Support your income as soon as you can. The easiest way to do this is using your Child Support online account through myGov. You can also use the Express Plus Child Support mobile app.

Read more about how your income affects your child support payments.

Page last updated: 30 October 2018