Balancing Child Care Subsidy

What you need to do to balance your Child Care Subsidy (CCS) payments depends on your circumstances.

What you need to do

You need to confirm your income before we can balance your payments. If you have a partner, they’ll need to do this too.

You can confirm your income by either:

  • lodging a tax return with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
  • going online and telling us if you, or your current partner, don’t need to lodge one and confirm your income.

If you separated from a partner

Call the Families line if you separated from your partner and you don’t know if they are going to lodge a tax return, or if they don’t need to lodge.

If you claimed extra payments

You may have claimed extra payments during 2021-22 because of coronavirus (COVID-19) or an emergency event. If you got a taxable payment like JobSeeker Payment, Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or Disaster Recovery Allowance you may need to lodge a tax return. Use the Do I need to lodge a tax return? tool to find out if you need to lodge. You can find it on the ATO website.

If you got Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, this amount won’t be prefilled when you lodge your tax return or tell us you don’t need to lodge. It’s important you enter the amount you got so we can balance your payments correctly.

If you got Family Tax Benefit

If you also got Family Tax Benefit (FTB) you can read more about balancing FTB.

How we get your income

Once you and your partner have lodged your tax returns, the ATO will tell us both of your incomes.

You need to tell us if you or your partner don’t need to lodge a tax return. If you have a myGov account that’s linked to Centrelink, you can sign in to do this and confirm your income for 2021-22.

Sign into myGov

If you don’t have this set up, you’ll need to use either your:

We have online guides to help you. Use our guides to either:

You need to tell us your income even if you’ve already told the ATO you don’t need to lodge a tax return. We won’t automatically get this information and we can’t balance your payments without your actual income.

Call the Families line if you separated from your partner during the year and either they are not going to lodge a tax return, or if you don’t know if they are going to lodge.

There are time limits for how long you have to confirm your income. Read about the time limits for CCS.

When we balance your CCS

We start balancing CCS for 2021-22 from mid-August 2022. However, we can only balance your CCS when we have all the information we need. This includes all of the following:

  • your child’s attendance information from your child care service
  • your confirmed income
  • your partner’s income, if you have one
  • your ex-partner’s income, if you had one in 2021-22 and have now separated.

If you’ve lodged your tax return, the ATO will tell us your income. We usually get this within 28 days of you getting your Notice of Assessment from them.

It’s important to keep in mind that we balance CCS and FTB separately.

If you’ve been affected by a declared natural disaster or emergency event

If you’ve been affected by a declared natural disaster or emergency event, we may not have finalised your balancing, if both of these apply:

  • we paid you too much in 2021-22
  • you live in an area impacted by a natural disaster or emergency event in 2022.

This is because we paused a range of debt activities for people in those areas.

The temporary pause on debt activities has now lifted. If we have overpaid you, we’ll write to you.

Read more about current debt pauses to see if this applies to you.

If you separated from a partner

If you had a partner during 2021-22 and are now separated, we may use their income to balance your payments. We can’t balance these payments until either:

  • your ex-partner lodges a tax return
  • you tell us they don’t need to lodge by calling the Families line.

If you don’t think your ex-partner will lodge their tax return by 30 June 2023, call the Families line. We may balance your CCS based on an estimate of their income.

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

How to track the progress of your balancing

You can track your CCS balancing in the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. When you open the app, select More, followed by Child Care Subsidy then Payment Balancing from the menu.

If you have not confirmed your family income you will see the message, ‘We don’t have all the information to start balancing your payments for 2021-22’. It will also tell you who has not confirmed their income.

Once we receive your income, you will see the message, ‘We haven’t finished balancing your payments yet’.

Your result will display once your balancing is complete.

You can also check using your Centrelink online account through myGov. Select Menu, followed by my family, then Child Care. From there you’ll be able to select Payment Balancing for more information.

How to understand your outcome

Once we have balanced your payments we’ll let you know the outcome in writing. You don’t need to call or visit us. You’ll get this either:

  • through your myGov Inbox
  • to your postal address.

Top ups

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

Outstanding debts and overpayments

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

  • your CCS top up and arrears payments
  • your tax refunds.

We can recover your debt from these payments even if you’ve entered into a repayment arrangement with us.

Read more about how to repay money you owe to Centrelink.

If you underestimated your family income for 2021-22, make sure your current estimate is accurate. You should update your income estimate and also let us know about any changes to your activity test. This will help you avoid an overpayment in future. You can also update your CCS withholdings to help reduce your risk of getting a debt.

If you need to pay back money you owe

You can check your Centrelink debts online. Select Money You Owe from either:

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 you talk to us if you’re experiencing financial hardship or worried about paying back a debt. We can work with you to set up a repayment plan you can afford.

Read more about Centrelink debts and overpayments.

Page last updated: 3 October 2022