Family Tax Benefit balancing: what families need to know for 2022

We’re getting ready to start balancing Family Tax Benefit (FTB) for families.

We’ll start balancing FTB for 2021-22 from July. We balance FTB every year to make sure we paid families the right amount.

Before the start of each financial year we ask families to estimate what their income will be for the next 12 months. We use this estimate to work out how much FTB to pay them. They can update this estimate during the course of the year.

When the financial year ends, we compare the income estimate they’ve given us with their actual confirmed income. We do this to work out if we paid them the right amount. This is what we call ‘balancing’.

What do families need to do?

Most families will need to confirm their income. The good news is they don’t need to call or visit us to do this.

Families can confirm their income from 1 July by either:

  • lodging a tax return with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
  • telling us that they or their partner don’t need to lodge a tax return and confirming their income online.

We know many families are keen to get their balancing done as soon as possible. We recommend waiting until mid-July before lodging a tax return. If they wait, a lot of information will pre-fill, saving them time.

If families are not sure what they need to do, they can use our Tax Time Checker to help work out which steps to take.

When do we balance FTB?

We’ll start balancing FTB for 2021-22 from 4 July. We can only start balancing FTB when we have all the information we need.

If families have lodged their tax return, the ATO will send us their income information. We usually get this within 28 days of getting their Notice of Assessment from the ATO.

Families need to get their last fortnightly payment of FTB for the financial year before we can balance their payments. This year, families will get that last payment between 4 July and 15 July.

We’ll write to families with their outcome once we have balanced their FTB. They can track their balancing progress and view their outcomes using their Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

Why don’t we balance Child Care Subsidy at the same time?

We balance FTB and Child Care Subsidy (CCS) separately. We’ll start balancing CCS from mid-August. This is because we need attendance information to cover the full financial year. This comes from child care services and can be submitted up until early August.

We’ll share more information about CCS balancing closer to the date.

What’s different this year?

Families may need to lodge a tax return if they claimed extra payments during the year, like Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment (PLDP) or Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA).

If they got PLDP, it won’t show on their Centrelink payment summary. They will need to report this in their tax return, or when they advise us they, or their partner, are not required to lodge.

They can use the Do I need to lodge a tax return? tool on the ATO website to find out if they need to lodge.

Some families’ CCS may have changed this year because we removed the annual cap and introduced a higher CCS rate. This won’t affect the way we balance payments.

How does child support affect balancing?

If families are registered to pay or receive child support, they need to lodge a tax return. If one partner has a child support assessment, they need to do this too.

What do the different outcomes mean?

When we balance payments there are three possible outcomes. These are a top up, no change or an overpayment. The vast majority of families will get a top up or no change.

If a family overestimated their income, they may be paid a top-up. This is paid separately from their regular payment.

If they underestimated their income and we paid them too much, they will need to pay this back. This is called an overpayment. We will write to them and let them know when they have to repay the debt or set up a repayment arrangement. This will usually be 28 days after we write to them. For more information please visit repaying money on our website.

How long will families have to wait to get their balancing outcome?

There are a range of factors that determine when we can balance someone’s payments.

Families in the first instance should make sure they, and their partner if they have one, have confirmed their income.

Families also need to have received their final FTB payment for the financial year, which will be between 4 July and 15 July.

More information