What Aussies receiving Centrelink payments need to know this tax time

Facing mounting cost-of-living pressures, taxpayers can now lodge their returns for the 2023-2024 financial year and hopefully receive some much-needed tax dollars back.

This includes Australians who receive government payments, who must either lodge a tax return or complete a form explaining they receive a non-taxable payment.

Centrelink payments including JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Age Pension and Parental Leave Pay are all taxable payments and require a tax return to be lodged with the Australian Taxation Office.

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Payments such as the Carer Payment and Disability Support Pension are examples of non-taxable payments which do not require a tax return — however people who receive those payments need to complete a non-lodgement advice form to let the ATO know.

“If you get a Centrelink payment, you may need to lodge a tax return with the ATO or you might need to tell us and the ATO that you don’t need to lodge one,” Centrelink operator Services Australia said.

The full list of taxable payments, or whether you need to complete non-lodgement advice, can be found here.

What you need to do next

Once you have received your income statement, and it is marked as “tax ready”, much of your information will be pre-filled on your ATO tax return form.

However, Services Australia warns those wanting to jump the gun and get in early to be patient.

“If you lodge before you are tax ready, you will need to find, calculate and add the information about your financial situation yourself,” it said.

Centrelink payment information can be expected to be pre-filled in your ATO myTax account by late July.

“If you got other payments from us that don’t show on your Centrelink payment summary, for example an emergency payment, you need to add these yourself,” Services Australia said.

Service Australia recommends taxpayers check all their information is correct before lodging their tax return, otherwise “you may have to amend your tax return later and lodge it again”.

If you don’t need to lodge a tax return, you will still need to tell the ATO via a non-lodgement advice form.

If you receive, or have received the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) during the financial year, you’ll need to confirm your income with Service Australia, even if you have already told the ATO.

“This is so we can balance your CCS,” Service Australia said.

“You can do this in your Centrelink online account linked to myGov or Express Plus Centrelink app.”

Need help with your tax return?

Lodging your return can be confusing, however the ATO offers a Tax Help program which is free for people earning $60,000 or less to help lodge their tax return online.

The program is available from July to October each year, and can also help you:

  • Create a myGov account
  • Lodge an amendment to your tax return
  • Claim a refund of franking credits
  • Tell the ATO if you don’t need to lodge a tax return

Tax Help volunteers are available online, over the phone or in person.

For more information, and to see if you are eligible for Tax Help, click here.

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