What millions of Australians receiving government payments need to know before filing their tax returns this year
With the end of the fiscal year just around the corner, Services Australia is making changes that will give more than a million Australians a cash boost and change how payments can be made.
General Manager of Services Australia, Hank Jongen, joined The Morning Show from Canberra to advise people receiving Centrelink payments before completing their tax returns.
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Services Australia General Manager Hank Jongen advises people receiving Centrelink payments to defer their tax return if they can afford it. Credit: The Morning Show
“My first tip, and if you can afford to do this, is an important one: wait until the end of July because… all your Centrelink information will be pre-populated in MyTax along with any other information (such as) interest on bank accounts and any employment data,” he said.
“That means all you have to do is check the information, make sure it’s correct, and eliminate the risk of errors. But we understand that not everyone can wait until the end of July to do that and may need to get their money out sooner. If you find yourself in that situation, you can request a payment overview from us at the beginning of July.
“You do this through your Centrelink account or our website. That payment overview gives an overview of the payments you have received, but that means that you have to transfer them manually, which increases the risk (of errors).
Boy explained what Australians receiving payments, such as family tax breaks or a childcare allowance, should consider when filing their returns this year.
“We need to balance the income data you provided us against your actual income at the end of the fiscal year,” he said.
“Different families are affected differently; for example, you may receive both or only one of those two payments.
“What I strongly recommend that you do is go to the Services Australia website and use the tax time checker because that will explain to you what you need to do to balance us (your payment) and the timing of that balancing will be.
“It is important to remember that we cannot balance until both members of a couple have filed their tax returns, and if you are not required to file a tax return, then you should also let us know, and again, you can do that through your online Centrelink account through MyGov.”
Australian retirees will receive increased payments this year, while others may now be eligible for a pension. Credit: The Morning Show
In positive news for people receiving a pension, Jongen explained how 1.4 million Australians would soon receive increased benefits.
“The main change is indexation changes, which means that the government has announced increases in asset and income thresholds — the point at which payments start to decline,” he said.
“This means that some retirees who receive a partial pension rate will receive an increase in their pension due to a transfer from an increase in those limits.
“It also means that some people in the margins who were previously ineligible for a pension may now be eligible.
“The other group that will receive an increase in their benefit are those who receive the family benefit; because of those indexation changes, there will be a small increase.”