Balancing: The Basics

Boy runs on the filed.

As the end of the financial year gets closer, many families will be starting to think about tax time.

If you’re one of the over 1 million Australian families who get Family Tax Benefit or Child Care Subsidy, the Department of Human Services will balance your payments after the end of the financial year.

What is balancing

Balancing is the annual process where the department checks you received the right amount of family assistance.

If you get Child Care Subsidy, or Family Tax Benefit as fortnightly payments, these are paid throughout the year based on your family income estimate.

This means, after each financial year ends, your payments need to be balanced to check you were paid the right amount.

There are different possible outcomes for balancing, depending on your circumstances.

If you weren’t paid enough during the financial year, you may be paid a top up. For example, you may get a top up payment if you overestimated your family’s income.

If you were paid too much during the year, you’ll have an overpayment that you’ll need to repay.

This can happen if you underestimated your family’s income, or there were other changes to your circumstances affecting your entitlement to Family Tax Benefit or Child Care Subsidy.

When balancing your payments, we’ll also check if you’re eligible for any supplement payments, like the Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B supplements or the Single Income Family Supplement.

If you have a family assistance or Centrelink debt, we’ll use any top up or supplements payments you get to reduce your debt.

What you need to do

Your payments can only be balanced once the department has the full details of your family income and circumstances for the financial year.

To confirm income details, most families need to either lodge a tax return for the 2018-19 financial year, or advise us if you don’t need to lodge one.

Once we have the information we need, we can start balancing your Family Tax Benefit from early July. Child Care Subsidy balancing can start from late July.

Even though it’s not the end of the financial year yet, there are a few things you can do to get ready:

  • Create a myGov account and link your Centrelink online account so you can manage your payments online or with the latest version of the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.
  • Go to to find out what you need to do after the end of the financial year for your payments to be balanced.
  • Check your family income estimate for the current and upcoming financial year with your online account or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. Remember, your family income estimate should include your and your partner’s estimated income for the whole financial year, and you should update it any time things change.
  • Update your details online if there are any other changes of circumstances for your family. This will reduce your risk of ending up with an overpayment when your payments are balanced.

More information

  • You can find more information about balancing Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Subsidy here.