Income reporting

How much you or your partner earn affects your payment. We need to know what you both earn so we pay the right amount.

There are changes to claims and your obligations due to coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes changes to waiting periods, the income test, what you need to give us, and your obligations. We’ve suspended participation requirements for Disability Support Pension. We’ve also paused a range of Centrelink debt raising and recovery activities.

What to report

We need to know the gross amount you and your partner earn. Gross income is the amount you earn before tax and other deductions. This is so we can pay you the right amount. If your earnings change, even by a small amount, you need to tell us.

If your claim is successful, you’ll need to report your income even if it’s $0.

You must continue to report every 2 weeks for your payment to continue.

If you don’t report every 2 weeks your payment will stop. If you report late, your payment will be late.

Income can be money you either:

  • earn from a job
  • get from another source, for example an investment
  • get as a gift or allowance.

Read more about how we define income.

Income from self employment

You report employment income differently to your or your partner’s business arrangement.

If you’re self employed, call us on your regular payment line to find out how to report your income. You can also ask us on social media.

Income from employment

Report your and your partner’s income for the whole reporting period, including the first and last days. Report it even if your employer hasn’t paid you yet.

We need to know all of the following:

  • your standard gross hourly pay rate
  • other gross pay rates like overtime or penalty hours
  • the total hours you worked at each pay rate.

Don’t just copy the gross amount on your payslip. The dates on it may not match your reporting period dates.

Remember to note your hours each time you work. You can use our employment diary to keep track of the hours you work. Find it in your Centrelink online account through myGov.

You can also use our timesheet tool in the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app or the earnings worksheet form.

Don't forget to keep records. We may ask you to show proof of your income, such as payslips.

Your total income from your job is:

Total gross earnings plus overtime and penalty earnings equals the income you report.

How to work out your standard pay rate

Employers should include the date, hours you worked, and your hourly rate on your payslips.

If they don’t, divide the gross pay by the hours on your payslip. This gives you your standard hourly rate unless some hours were at another pay rate. Ask your pay office if it’s not clear.

First add up the hours you worked in the reporting period. Then multiply the total hours worked by your standard gross hourly rate. This gives you your income to report unless some hours were at another pay rate.

Find out more about payslips and what your employer should include on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

How to keep track of other pay rates

Overtime and penalty work have different hourly pay rates.

There are ways to help you keep track of when you work. You can:

  • write down your overtime or penalty hours every time you work, don’t rely on your memory
  • keep a record of the roster for the fortnight you work, if you can.

These details can help you keep track of your pay rates during a reporting period. You can:

  • ask your pay office what your hourly overtime or penalty pay rate is
  • multiply your pay rate by the total hours you worked at that rate, to give you the total you earned
  • add this amount to the total you earned at your standard pay rate.

What you need to tell us about leave payments

If you take leave from work you need to report how much of your income in the reporting period was:

  • paid leave
  • hours you worked, including any paid sick leave hours.

You have 14 days to tell us about leave earnings at a different rate from your normal income.

Tell us if your employer pays you a lump sum for leave you built up but didn’t take time off for. We count this differently from other leave.

JobKeeper payment

If you or your partner get income from JobKeeper payment, you must report it to us if you also get an income support payment.

The way you report JobKeeper income can be different to how you report regular income.

You may get paid even though you haven’t worked any hours. You still need to report this income and include that you’ve worked 0 hours.

You also need to report your JobKeeper income against the same period your employer gets JobKeeper payment for you.

Read about how to report income from JobKeeper payment.

Paid Parental Leave

Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay count as income. You don’t need to report these payments to us. We’ll include them when working out your payment.

Read more about Paid Parental Leave counted as income.

Job income – fixed unit rates

Some people get a set amount for each item of work they finish rather than an hourly rate.

If you get a fixed unit rate, you can keep track of your total income rates in a reporting period. To do this:

  • calculate the number of items you produced
  • multiply the fixed unit rate by the number of items.

Income from more than 1 job

You need to report your income from each job separately.

Keep track of your income from different jobs by using a different earnings worksheet form for each employer.

Severance or redundancy

You need to tell us if you leave your job and get a severance or redundancy payment. Your Centrelink payment may stop for a period of time. We call this an income maintenance period.

Superannuation

If you make voluntary superannuation contributions, it counts as income. We include this in your assessable income when we work out how much to pay you.

Nil payment periods

If your payment reduces to $0 for 6 fortnights in a row, we may cancel your payment. This will happen if you have ongoing income, including work earnings for 6 fortnights.

If you continue to report your income, you may keep your concession card and other benefits for the 6 fortnights.

If, during the 6 fortnights your income reduces, you may start getting a payment again without having to reclaim.

Other things we need to know

When you report your income you must also tell us about any changes in your circumstances.

How to tell us about changes to child support

Changes in circumstances can change how much child support you get or pay. To tell us about changes, you can either:

Read about changes that affect your child support.

How to avoid a debt

You must tell us if you report wrong amounts of income or about any changes in your circumstances. If you don’t, we may pay you too much. This means you’ll have a debt to pay back.

Read about owing money.

When to report

You can view your reporting dates 12 weeks in advance online. You can do this in your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

When you start getting a payment, we’ll tell you when you need to report. There are 2 types of reporting:

You can tell us online when you start or stop working. To do this, you can use your Centrelink online account or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. But, you must get one of these payments:

  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • Age Pension
  • Austudy
  • Carer Payment
  • Parenting Payment Single and Partnered
  • Youth Allowance as a Student.

You must call your regular payment line to tell us when you start or stop working if you either:

  • get a different payment from us
  • have a partner who gets Disability Support Pension.

Scheduled reporting

Most people need to report every 14 days. We call this your reporting period. We’ll tell you when your reporting period starts and ends. You must report your and your partner’s gross income for the most recent reporting period.

Each time you put in a report we’ll tell you what your next reporting date is. Report by 5 pm on your reporting date to make sure we can pay you on time. You can’t report before your reporting date unless it’s on a public holiday. We’ll tell you if you need to report on a different day.

You may get a letter in your myGov Inbox asking you to confirm current earnings. You’ll get the letter if you haven’t told us about changes to your earnings for a while. This is only if you get Age Pension, Disability Support Pension or Parenting Payment.

Late reporting

If you report late, your payment could be late. You can report online up to 27 days after your reporting date. If you’re more than 27 days late, you need to call us on your regular payment line.

Not reporting your income

If you have reporting requirements and don’t report how much you earned, we won't pay you.

Unscheduled reporting

If we don’t give you a reporting period, you must still tell us if your or your partner’s income changes.

You can use your Centrelink online account or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app to do the following:

  • tell us if you start or stop working
  • record ongoing income if the amount and frequency stays the same each fortnight
  • edit your ongoing income if it changes.

You can do this if you get:

  • ABSTUDY
  • Age Pension
  • Austudy
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Parenting Payment and don’t have ParentsNext requirements
  • Youth Allowance as a full time student.

You must tell us about any changes to your income or assets within 14 days.

How to report

You can report your income and changes to your circumstances online or by phone.

Use your Centrelink online account through myGov, it’s easy to set up an online account. The employment diary helps you record and report your income.

Use the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app, it’s quick and simple to add the app to your mobile phone. The timesheet helps you record and report your income.

Call the Income reporting line for phone self service - it’s easy to register for phone self service.

If you still get report forms by post, you can call our job seekers line.

If you don’t need to report regularly, you can tell us about changes to your or your partner’s income online. To do this, you can use your Centrelink online account or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. You can also call us on your regular payment line.

Use details from your employment diary or timesheet when you go online or use the app to report your income.

Our reporting employment income online guide can help you use your online account to report.

Correcting a mistake

If you make a mistake with your scheduled reporting, you can fix it using your Centrelink online account or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. But you’ll need to call us on your regular payment line if any of the following apply:

  • you need to fix mistakes for a reporting period earlier than 30 March 2020
  • you need to fix a mistake for a reporting period more than 6 fortnights in the past.

Don’t wait till your next reporting day to tell us if you make a mistake.

Letting someone report for you

Someone close to you or an organisation can report for you, if you tell us that’s what you want. You will need to set them up as a nominee.

Read about getting someone to deal with us on your behalf.

How to get reminders to report

If you’re required to report each fortnight and you forget, we can send you a reminder:

  • to your myGov Inbox
  • by SMS if you have a mobile phone number and we have your details through electronic messaging
  • by post.

You can also get a reminder before you’re due to report. We’ll send you a reminder if you’re either:

  • on a variable reporting arrangement
  • able to report early because of a public holiday.

If you already get messages from us, you’ll now get an SMS if you forget to report your income.

If you don’t currently get messages from us, subscribe now and we’ll send you reminders to report.

Page last updated: 26 May 2020