What's adjusted taxable income

We use your adjusted taxable income to work out your eligibility for some payments or services.

Adjusted taxable income may include different types of income:

  • taxable income
  • foreign income
  • tax-exempt foreign income
  • total net investment losses
  • reportable fringe benefits
  • reportable superannuation contributions
  • certain tax free pensions or benefits.

It may also include a deemed amount from account based income streams.

If you have a partner, their income can also affect your adjusted taxable income.

Taxable income

This applies to family assistance payments, Carer Allowance and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

Taxable income is your gross income minus allowable deductions. It’s the income you have to pay tax on. It includes income from:

  • wages and salaries
  • a business
  • investments
  • any taxable payments you get from us
  • any taxable payments you get from the Department of Veterans' Affairs
  • JobKeeper Payment from your employer.

Income under the tax free threshold counts as taxable income.

Taxable lump sum payments also count in your taxable income. These may include:

We won’t count super withdrawals made under either the:

  • First Home Super Saver Scheme as taxable income
  • COVID-19 early release of super.

If you make a loss for the year, your taxable income will be nil. It’s nil when your allowable deductions are more than your gross income. You can find out more about gross income and allowable deductions on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

You might receive some payments from us that aren’t taxable. This means they’re not included as taxable income. Some examples are:

Foreign income

Foreign income is money you get from outside Australia and don't pay Australian income tax on. It can include money from foreign business interests, investments or income you earned overseas.

Read more about foreign income for family assistance.

Tax-exempt foreign income

Tax-exempt foreign income applies to family assistance payments. It is income from Australia, earned by either:

  • members of the armed forces serving overseas
  • Australians on overseas projects approved by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

Target foreign income

This applies to both Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and Carer Allowance. Target foreign income includes both:

  • foreign income you get from outside Australia that you don't pay Australian income tax on
  • tax-exempt foreign income from foreign service on an approved project for a continuous period of 91 days or more.

Total net investment losses

This applies to family assistance payments, Carer Allowance and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

Total net investment losses are:

  • when your investment expenses are more than the income you get from your investment
  • negatively geared investments from rental property or financial investment.

We add both together to come up with your total net investment losses.

Examples

A net loss from rental property income

If your mortgage repayments are more than the rental income you get.

A net loss from financial investment

If your costs to purchase an investment are more than the income you get from the investment.

Reportable fringe benefits

This applies to family assistance payments, Carer Allowance and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

Reportable fringe benefits are pre-tax benefits you get from your employer. They can include payment of:

  • your rent or home loan
  • a mobile phone
  • a car
  • school fees for children
  • health insurance premiums
  • child care expenses.

You need to tell us the total amount of reportable fringe benefits you get from your employer. We’ll assess this as income for family assistance payments. We also assess employer provided fringe benefits in excess of $1000 for Carer Allowance and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

You need to tell us even if you get reportable fringe benefits from not for profit employers like:

  • public benevolent institutions
  • health promotion charities
  • some hospitals and public ambulance services.

Your reportable fringe benefits are on your payment summary at the end of the financial year. You can ask your employer to tell you the expected amount for this financial year.

Although they’re not for profit, you’ll need to let us know the full amount you get. We may then only use part of the fringe benefits when we work out your family assistance payments. If you're not sure if your employer is a not for profit organisation, check with your payroll area.

Reportable superannuation contributions

This applies to family assistance payments, Carer Allowance and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

A reportable superannuation contribution is a personal contribution you make or is made on your behalf to a super fund. You will claim it as an income tax deduction when you lodge your tax return. This is on top of the compulsory payments from your employer. You can find more information about personal deductible contributions on the ATO website.

Tax free pensions or benefits

This applies to family assistance payments and Carer Allowance.

You might get tax free pensions or benefits from us or the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

These can include non-taxable Centrelink payments such as:

They can also include non-taxable Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments such as:

  • Invalidity Service Pension
  • War Widow's and War Widower's Pension
  • Partner Service Pension
  • Income Support supplement
  • Defence Force Income Supplement Allowance (DFISA) where it's exempt from income tax.

They don’t include:

They also don't include:

Read more about tax free pensions or benefits included in your adjusted taxable income. The information is on the Department of Social Services website in the:

State government payments

You may get a payment from a state government. If you do, you may need to include it in your adjustable taxable income. If you’re unsure if you need to, contact the agency that paid you.

Account-based income stream benefits

This applies to Carer Allowance and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

We use deeming rules to work out income from your financial assets. Deeming applies to account-based income streams if you or your partner are 60 years of age or older.

Read more information about deeming and how we calculate it.

Child support you pay

If you pay child support, deduct it from your adjusted taxable income for:

This includes:

  • child support we collect
  • private maintenance you pay directly to the other parent
  • non cash maintenance benefits that the child gets, such as school fees, clothes, etc.

It doesn't include spousal maintenance that you pay to a previous partner. Find out more about spousal maintenance on the Family Court of Australia website.

Page last updated: 5 May 2020