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

Before we can balance your payments, you usually 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. 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 for the full financial year, you might not have to do anything. Read more about balancing if you were single and got an income support payment.

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. Find it on the ATO website.

If you also got Child Care Subsidy (CCS) in 2020-21, you can read more about CCS balancing.

How we get your income

Once you and your partner have lodged a tax return, the ATO will send us your income information.

You need to tell us if you or your partner don’t need to lodge a tax return. You can do this and confirm your income for 2020-21 from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 using either your:

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

If you get child support, you also need to let the ATO know you don’t need to lodge a tax return. If your partner has a child support assessment, they need to do this too. This is separate to letting us know.

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

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

When we balance your FTB

When we balance your FTB for 2020-21 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 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 FTB and CCS separately.

If you got FTB fortnightly

You’ll get your last FTB payment for 2020-21 between 2 and 15 July 2021. We can only balance your FTB after we’ve made your last payment and we’ve got 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.

Most parents who pay or receive child support need to lodge a tax return. This helps us to make sure your child support payments are correct. Find out what you need to do for child support.

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 whole financial year
  • you got an income support payment for the whole 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.

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.

Read more about how to check your family balancing status using our mobile app.

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.

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

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

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

If 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.

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

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

Learn how you can check your debts online.

Overpayments

If you live in a locked down Local Government Area

We’ve paused debt raising and new debt recovery for people who live in a locked down Local Government Area.

If we think we've paid you too much FTB during 2020-21, we won’t finalise balancing your payments straight away.

There’s nothing else you need to do. We’ll finish balancing your payments and write to you with the outcome once the pause has ended.

When the pause has ended, we may recover overpayments from all of the following:

  • future FTB payments, including arrears
  • FTB top ups and supplements
  • tax refunds.

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

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

We can recover FTB debts from any of the following:

  • 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 the future. You also have payment options that can help reduce your risk of getting a debt. Read more about payment choices for FTB.

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.

No change

If we’ve paid you the right amount of FTB during the year there’ll be no change.

Page last updated: 29 September 2021