Download the FREE SBS Radio App for a better listening experience
Do you know if you're eligible for family tax benefit? And if you already get it, do you know there are some changes coming on 1 July? Here is a quick guide to family tax benefit.
What is the family tax benefit?
It’s a payment that helps families with the cost of raising children. It’s part of the taxation system, but most families choose to have the benefits paid to them fortnightly, in advance. In Australia, the Department of Human Services (DHS), with its Centrelink branch is in charge of payments to support families, including the family tax benefit.
Family tax benefit part A and part B
Most Australian families are eligible for a part of the family tax benefit part A. It’s calculated based on your taxable income, the numbers of children you have and the age of the children.
The family tax benefit part B is for low-income and single-income family. Some families can receive both part A and B.
Who is eligible?
First of all you need to be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent visa, a Special Category visa or certain temporary visa types like Partner Provisional or Temporary Protection visa. You could be eligible If your child is younger than 20 years of age and is not receiving a pension or other benefit. Or if you need to provide care for your child at least 35 per cent of the time. You’ll also need to meet the income test requirements.
How do I lodge an application?
You can lodge an application online on the DHS website. You can even start the process before the birth of your child. After you give birth, social workers at the hospital can also answer questions and help you get the documentation you need for your claim, like a birth certificate.
Keep your information accurate and up to date
It’s very important to keep your information up to date because the payments are based on projected income for the year, so be as accurate as possible when you give that number. At the end of the financial year, you’ll need to lodge a tax return or tell the DHS if you don’t need to file one. The DHS will then adjust your debt or top up your payments.
Multilingual staff to assist you
The DHS also has multilingual staff all over the country that can help you in your language. "I think it's fair to say that the staff in our face-to-face services reflects the community that they operate in. For example in Western Sydney, we have a lot of staff with South East Asian background, Chinese and of course people with Arabic background, which means that we are geared to help people who face language difficulties," DHS general manager Hank Jorgen told SBS.
Change to single income family supplement from 1 July 2017
You might be one of the families who receive a supplement at the end of the financial year, in addition to your fortnightly payments. It’s important to know that from 1 July 2017, no new family will get the single income family supplement. But if you already receiving this supplement you will still be entitled to it as long as you remain eligible without break. However you may lose the payments if you leave Australia with your child for more than six weeks or if have too high an income.
The DHS provide translation services in over two hundred languages.
You can call the multilingual phone service to talk about Centrelink payment and services, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm at 131 202.
You can also find information translated in several languages here.
To find out more about the family tax benefit and to lodge an application, check out the DHS website.
Source: Department of Human Services