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

Before we can balance your payments, you need to confirm your income. You can only do this from 1 July 2021. If you have a partner, they’ll need to do this too.

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

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

You may have claimed extra payments during 2020-21 because of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you got a taxable payment like JobSeeker Payment, Coronavirus Supplement or JobKeeper 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 also get 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 send us your income information.

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 2020-21 from 1 July 2021 using either your:

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

If you separated from your partner and they don’t need to lodge, you need to also let us know. You can tell us this by calling the Families line.

You need to tell us 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 can’t balance your payments without it.

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’ll start balancing CCS for 2020-21 from mid-August 2021. However, we can only start balancing 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 and you separated during 2020-21.

If 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.

We may not finalise your balancing straight away if both of these apply:

This is because we paused a range of debt activities for those living in areas impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns. We’ll finalise your balancing and write to you with the outcome once the pause has ended.

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

If you separated from a partner

If you separated from a partner during 2020-21, 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 2022, 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.

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

If you live in a locked down Local Government Area

We’re pausing some debt activity for people who live in a locked down Local Government Area. During the pause, if you have an outstanding debt with us, we won’t recover it from either of the following:

  • your CCS top up and arrears payments
  • your CCB or CCR arrears.

If you don’t live in a locked down Local Government Area

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

  • your CCS top up and arrears payments
  • your Child Care Benefit or Child Care Rebate arrears
  • tax refunds.

Overpayments

If you live in a locked down Local Government Area

We’re pausing some debt activity for people who live in a locked down Local Government Area. During the pause, if you have an outstanding debt with us, we won’t recover it from either of the following:

  • your CCS top up and arrears payments
  • your CCB or CCR arrears.

If you don’t live in a locked down Local Government Area

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

  • your CCS top up and arrears payments
  • your Child Care Benefit or Child Care Rebate arrears
  • tax refunds.

If we paid you too much CCS for 2020-21 you will have an overpayment that you will need to repay.

We can recover CCS debts from any of the following:

  • future CCS payments
  • future FTB payments, including arrears even if you’ve entered into a repayment arrangement with us
  • FTB top ups and supplements
  • tax refunds.

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

If you underestimated your family income for the 2020-21, make sure your current estimate is accurate. Update it whenever things change. 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. Read more about withholdings.

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: 17 August 2021