Balancing your family assistance payments

After the end of the financial year we compare your income estimate with your actual income. This is to make sure we pay you the correct amount of family assistance.

From 1 July 2018, Child Care Subsidy (CCS) replaced Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR). The balancing requirements for CCS are different from CCB and CCR requirements.

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.

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. You may need to confirm your income with us, or lodge a tax return. If you have a partner, they may need to do this too. If you separated during the year, we may need your ex-partner's income also. If you have an ex-partner we may need for either:

  • your ex-partner to lodge a tax return
  • you to confirm their income with us.

Check if you need to lodge a tax return

To check if you need to lodge a return, use the Do I need to lodge a tax return? tool. It’s available on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website. If you have a partner, they should check too.

Once you know if you need to lodge, we can help you work out what else you need to do. Answer some easy questions and we’ll let you know what you need to do so we can balance your payments.

Tell us about your income

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

If you or your partner need to lodge a tax return, you must do this before we can balance your payments. Once you’ve lodged your tax return, the ATO will send us your income information. We usually get this within 28 days from when you get your Notice of Assessment from them. Read more about lodging your tax return on the ATO website.

If you or your partner don’t need to lodge a tax return, you need to let us know. You can do this and confirm your income for the year using either your:

You need to confirm your income within 1 year of the end of the financial year.

If you don’t, 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. If you get CCS and don’t confirm your income, we’ll send you a separate letter.

When we balance your Family Tax Benefit (FTB) for 2018-19

When we balance your FTB, depends on your circumstances. We can only balance FTB when we have all the information we need from you and the ATO.

Your FTB can only be balanced after we’ve paid your last FTB payment for the 2018-19 financial year. You’ll get this between 3 July 2019 and 16 July 2019.

If you separated from a partner during the year, we’ll balance your FTB after you confirm your income. We’ll use the income estimate provided for your ex-partner if they haven't yet lodged a tax return yet.

We’ll balance your FTB and you don't need to do anything if all of the following apply:

  • you were single for the whole year
  • you got an income support payment for the whole year
  • your earnings didn’t reduce your income support payment to zero at any time in the year.

If you’re in this situation find out when we’ll balance your FTB. If you’re not in this situation find out what you need to do so we can balance your payments.

Top ups and supplements

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

You’ll only be eligible for:

  • FTB Part A supplement if your income is $80,000 or less
  • Single Income Family Supplement if you were eligible on 30 June 2017 and have stayed eligible.

When we balance your Child Care Subsidy (CCS) for 2018-19

We balance CCS separately to FTB. We start balancing these payments from 29 July 2019.

It’s important to know the balancing process for CCS is different to CCB and CCR. If you got CCS you’ll need to take action after the end of the financial year.

We compare your and your partner’s income estimate with your actual incomes. We also compare how much subsidy you got, based on your income estimate, with how much you were actually eligible for.

Not everyone has to do the same thing for us to balance their CCS payments. What you need to do depends on your circumstances.

If you or your partner need to lodge a tax return, you must do this before we can balance your payments. Once you’ve lodged your tax return, the ATO sends us your income information. We usually get this within 28 days from when you get your Notice of Assessment from the ATO.

If you or your partner don’t need to lodge a tax return, you need to let us know. You can do this at the same time you tell us your income for the year. We can’t balance your payments until you’ve done this. You can tell us using your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

If you separated from a partner during the year, we may use their income to balance your payments. 

If you got CCS, we can’t balance these payments until either: 

  • your ex-partner lodges a tax return
  • you tell us they don’t need to.

If you don’t think your ex-partner will lodge their tax return by 30 June 2020, call the Families line. It’s important you do this before 1 July 2020. We may be able to balance your Child Care Subsidy based on an estimate of their income.

We’ll balance your payments again if your ex-partner lodges a tax return later.

We also need confirmation of your child’s attendance for the financial year. We get this directly from your child care service.

If we didn’t pay enough subsidy during the year, we’ll pay a top up. This means we’ll pay any outstanding amount directly to you.

If we paid too much subsidy, you may owe us money, which you’ll have to pay back. We withhold 5% of your CCS during the year. We’ll recover overpayments of CCS and any other child care payments from the amount we withheld. We’ll also use your FTB top ups, if you get any, to recover overpayments. If there are any outstanding amounts we may then recover them from your future CCS.

Once we've balanced your payments, we’ll let you know the outcome in a letter.

How to check if your payments have been balanced

Once we've balanced your payments, we’ll let you know the outcome in a letter. If you get 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

Overpayments

You may have received too much FTB or CCS during the year. If this happens, you may owe us money, which you’ll have to pay back.

We may recover overpayments of FTB and CCS from all of the following:

  • future FTB payments, including arrears
  • FTB top ups and supplements
  • tax refunds.

This may happen even if you’ve entered into a repayment arrangement with us. You can check your Centrelink debts online. Select Money You Owe from your Centrelink online account through myGov or by using the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. If you still have a debt, you need to enter into a repayment plan with us. You must do this by the due date in your letter.

If you disagree with a decision we've made, you have the right to ask us to review it. Read more about reviews and appeals.

It's important to review your income estimate regularly. If you underestimated your family income for the 2018-19 financial year, make sure your current estimate is accurate. Update it whenever things change. This will help you avoid an overpayment.

It’s also important you update your activity details every time there’s a change. We use your activity level, withholding percentage and family income estimate to work out how much CCS you can get. Keeping all your details up to date will help you avoid an overpayment.

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

We may not have paid you enough FTB or CCS during the year. If this happens, we’ll pay any outstanding amounts directly to you when we balance your payments. We call this a top up.

When we balance your FTB we’ll also check if you’re eligible for any supplements. This includes the FTB Part A supplement, FTB Part B supplement and the Single Income Family supplement.

If you have an outstanding debt with us, we may recover it from any of the following:

  • your FTB top up and arrears payments
  • your FTB supplements
  • your tax refund.

This may happen even if you’ve entered into a repayment arrangement with us. We may recover any debt you have with us, not just family assistance debts. You can check your Centrelink debts online. Select Money You Owe from your Centrelink online account through myGov or by using the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

What you need to do for child support

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

Once you’ve lodged your tax return the ATO will send us your income information. 

If you don’t need to lodge a tax return, you still need to let us know your income. You can tell us using your Child Support online account. We can then make sure your child support payments are correct.

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

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

Page last updated: 18 July 2019

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