Balancing Family Tax Benefit

What you need to do to balance your Family Tax Benefit (FTB) payments depends on your circumstances.

What you need to do

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

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

There’s no need to call or visit us. Confirm your income by either:

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

If you were single and got an income support payment

If you were single and got an income support payment for the financial year, you might not have to do anything. Read more about balancing if you were single and got an income support payment.

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. 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 also got Child Care Subsidy (CCS), you can read more about CCS balancing.

If you have a child support assessment or pay or receive child support

If you have a child support assessment or pay or receive child support, you need to lodge a tax return. If your partner has a child support assessment or pays or receives child support, they need to do this too. This is separate to letting us know.

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

How we get your income

Once you and your partner have lodged a tax return, 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:

When we balance your FTB

When we balance your FTB for 2021-22 depends on your circumstances. We can only start balancing FTB when we have all the information we need.

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

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

If we think we’ve paid you too much during the year, we may not finalise balancing your payments straight away. This is because we pause a range of debt activities for people who live in areas impacted by declared natural disasters or emergency event.

If you are impacted by a debt pause, we will finalise your balancing and write to you with the outcome once your pause has lifted.

To see if this applies to you, go to current debt pauses.

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

If you got FTB fortnightly

We will pay the last FTB payments for 2021-22 between 4 and 15 July 2022. We can only balance your FTB after we’ve made your last payment and we have all the information we need.

If you separated from a partner

If you separated from a partner during the financial 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 lodged a tax return yet.

If you were single and got an income support payment

If all the following apply to you, we’ll balance your FTB without you doing anything:

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

If this reflects your circumstances, you can find out when we’ll balance your FTB. If you also got Child Care Subsidy, you’ll need to confirm your income for that payment.

How to track the progress of your balancing

You can track your FTB balancing in the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. When you open the app, select Profile, followed by Financial details from the menu. Your balancing status will display in the Family Tax Benefit section as either:

  • in progress
  • complete.

You’ll have the option to click on FTB Balancing for more information.

If your balancing is in progress, it means we haven’t finished balancing your FTB. If it is complete, it means your outcome is ready to view.

How to understand your outcome

Once we have balanced your FTB 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.

In some situations we may owe you money, or you may need to pay back money. If neither of these apply, you’ll have no change.

No change

If we’ve paid you the right amount of FTB during the financial year there’ll be no change. This means you won’t get a top up or a debt.

Top ups and supplements

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

When we balance your FTB we’ll also check if you’re eligible for the:

Outstanding debts and overpayments

Debt activity on pause for declared natural disasters and emergencies

We’ve temporarily paused a range of debt activities for people who live in areas affected by declared natural disasters or emergency events.

During a pause, if you have an outstanding debt with us, we won’t recover it from either of the following:

  • your FTB top up and lump sum claim payments
  • your FTB supplements.

If you have an outstanding debt with the ATO, they may recover it from both of the following:

  • your FTB top up and supplement
  • your FTB lump sum claim payments.

If you owe money and are affected by these events, you don’t need to repay it right away, unless you choose to. Read more about how to repay money you owe.

Read more about the current debt pauses.

If you weren’t affected by a declared natural disaster or emergency event

If you haven’t been affected by a declared natural disaster event or emergency event, we will recover your debt.

If you have an outstanding debt with us or we’ve paid you too much FTB we can recover it from any of the following:

  • FTB top up and lump sum claim payments
  • FTB supplements
  • tax refunds.

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

If you have an outstanding debt with the ATO, they may recover it from both of the following:

  • your FTB top up and supplement
  • your FTB lump sum claim payments.

Learn how you can check your debts online.

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

If you underestimated your family income for the 2021-22 and you’re still getting FTB, make sure your current estimate is accurate. Update it whenever things change. This will help you avoid an overpayment in the future. You also have payment options that can help reduce your risk of getting a debt. Read more about payment choices for FTB.

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: 7 July 2022