Your family income estimate

We use your family income estimate to work out how much family assistance to pay you. This includes Family Tax Benefit (FTB) and Child Care Subsidy (CCS).

Why we need an income estimate

We use your income estimate to work out your how much FTB and CCS you get during a financial year. So your family income estimate needs to be accurate and up to date.

We’ll ask you to update your income estimate before the start of each financial year. You can also update your estimate during the financial year if your circumstances change.

After the end of each financial year, you’ll need to confirm your actual income. To do this, you need to lodge your tax return or tell us you don't need to lodge one. To get your full entitlement you must confirm your family income. You must do this within 12 months after the end of the financial year. Read more about confirming your income.

We'll compare your income estimate with your actual adjusted taxable income and balance your payments. This is to make sure we paid you the right amount of family assistance.

If you don’t give us an income estimate

We’ll estimate it for you to reduce the risk of us overpaying you. We may update your income estimate based on information from the previous financial year. We’ll use either:

  • your or your partner’s actual income information from the ATO
  • the latest income estimate you’ve given us.

We may also increase your estimate in line with changes to the Australian Average Weekly Earnings. Read more about Australian Average Weekly Earnings on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.

What to know before you estimate your income

If the income estimate you give us is too low, you may get a debt which you'll have to pay back.

If it's too high, we may pay you less than you’re entitled to. If this is the case, you may get the amount you missed out on when we balance your payments.

If you get FTB, you can pick a payment choice that suits you. This can help reduce your risk of getting a debt. Read more about payment choices for FTB.

You must update your income estimate as often as your circumstances change. This is to reduce the risk of getting a debt. Read more about what change of circumstances you need to tell us about if you get:

What to include in your income estimate

You need to tell us about your and your partner’s adjusted taxable income for the whole financial year.

This should include both:

  • income you've already earned during the financial year
  • income you’re likely to earn for the remainder of the year.

Remember, if you're paid weekly or fortnightly, the number of pay days in a financial year can vary.

When you update your income estimate, think about the things you may need to include, such as:

  • any taxable payments you get from us or the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • certain non-taxable payments you get from us or the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • JobKeeper Payment from your employer
  • Farm Household Allowance (FHA) Supplement (lump sums)
  • foreign income
  • taxable lump sum payments
  • other income, such as capital gains or commissions.

You also need to think about whether you’ll get any of the following during the financial year:

  • extra pay for working overtime or extra hours
  • income from casual work, shift work or contract work
  • pay rises or work bonuses
  • redundancy payouts
  • income from business or self-employment
  • reportable fringe benefits – ask your employer first, because how we assess these depends on the type of employer you have
  • early released superannuation – this doesn’t include the First Home Super Saver Scheme or COVID-19 early release of super.

Read more about the First Home Super Saver Scheme and COVID-19 early release of super on the ATO website.

If you changed jobs, or started or returned to work, you need to keep this in mind too.

You don't need to include any of the following that you or your partner get:

Any child support or spousal maintenance you receive may affect your payment rate.

How to update your income estimate

The easiest way to update your income estimate is online. Use your Centrelink online account through myGov, or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. Make sure you've downloaded the latest version of the app first.

For help, use our guide to update your family income estimate and payment choice.

When you need to report income for other payments

If you get an income support payment from us

You’ll need to report your income separately. You need to do this if you get an income support payment from us.

This is different to updating your income estimate for family assistance.

If you pay or receive child support

We need to know your income for the financial year. We need it so we can work out the amount of child support you need to pay or receive.

We won’t use your family income estimate for this. To make sure we base your child support on the right income, always lodge your tax return on time.

Read more about how your income affects child support.

Page last updated: 17 July 2020