Government support for your family through the tax system

Got a family? Find out which Government allowances, benefits and rebates you may be eligible for and how to apply for them.

The 30 percent child care tax rebate

This rebate covers 30 percent of your out-of-pocket child care expenses for approved child care and can include a rebate of up to $4,000 per child per year, which is indexed to your salary. Out-of-pocket expenses are fees you pay out for child care which are not already covered by the Centrelink Child Care Benefit. It works as a tax offset that reduces tax calculated on your income at the time you lodge your income tax return. To be eligible you must have used approved child care in the previous income year, received the Child Care Benefit and passed the Child Care Benefit work/training/study test.

For those who want to claim between 24 and 50 hours of Child Care Benefit per week for each child in care, you need to show that you and your partner both work or have commitments for at least 15 hours a week or at least 30 hours a fortnight. For more information see www.ato.gov.au or call 13 28 61.

The baby bonus

Usually, but not exclusively, the mother claims the baby bonus each year until the child turns five. This can also be claimed by whoever takes legal responsibility for a child from the date the legal responsibility begins, onwards. The baby bonus stands regardless of other family benefits and can be claimed even if you’re not a taxpayer. To find out exactly how much you might be entitled to, use the baby bonus calculator on the ATO website. How much you get is vaguely dependent on your taxable income each year. If your income is less than $25,000 you will be entitled to a minimum annual amount of $500. You might receive less in the first year, as the baby bonus is calculated from the baby's birth date. If your taxable income is more than $25,000 when claiming, you only get the bonus if your income has reduced. You might, however, be eligible for more than $500 if there’s been a large reduction in your taxable income.

Other tax rebates

Rebates or tax offsets provide you with tax relief and are subtracted from the tax due on your taxable income. If they’re greater than the tax due, you don’t pay any tax. The Family Tax Benefit is a rebate paid to low-income families to help with raising children, subject to an income test based on your tax return from the previous financial year. Benefits can be paid through the Family Assistance Office or the tax system. Other rebates are available depending on how many dependents you have, including a child, a spouse or a child with a child. More information can be obtained through the Family Assistance Office at www.familyassist.gov.au

Additional benefits

A number of other forms of financial assistance are available for families, including the Family Tax Benefit, Parts A and B, the Child Care Benefit, Maternity Payment Benefit and several more. It is certainly also worth reviewing your situation through Medicare at www.medicareaustralia.gov.au to assess which payments and other benefits you may be eligible for.

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