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Multicultural Early Childhood Centre

Guide to tax for families



The Australian tax system offers a range of tax benefits including credits, refunds, offsets and bonuses to support families. You need a tax file number to be eligible for any of these tax concessions, as do your spouse and your children with income, superannuation or investments.

Your ‘spouse’ includes another person (whether of the same sex or opposite sex) who:

  •  you were in a relationship with that was registered under a prescribed state or territory law
  •  although not legally married to you, lived with you on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

Education tax refund

The education tax refund assists you with the education costs of your dependant, including buying them a personal computer. You can claim the education tax refund if you are entitled to receive family tax benefit Part A. This means you must have lodged a claim for family tax benefit Part A for the child and had your claim approved.

Income tax offsets (formerly rebates) for families

Tax offsets reduce the amount of tax you pay. We use the information on your tax return to calculate your income tax offsets. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for one or more of the following offsets:

  • dependent spouse (without dependent child or student)
  • child-housekeeper or housekeeper
  • parent, spouse’s parent or invalid relative
  • spouse superannuation
  • private health insurance
  • net medical expenses
  •  government benefits (for example, government pensions or Centrelink payments)
  • low income (such as part time participation in the workforce)
  • senior Australians.

Investing on behalf of children

Investments (including savings accounts and shares) in the name of dependent children under the age of 16 attract special income taxation rules. If the child’s tax file number is not supplied to the investment body, they must withhold tax at 46.5% of interest earnings. Earnings from a child’s investments must be declared by the person who rightfully owns and controls the investment.

Superannuation for families

Super is important in planning for your retirement. You may be eligible for a super co-contribution, or for a tax offset for making contributions to your spouse’s superannuation.

Family breakdown

The tax system has provisions in place to assist with easing the financial burden of separating families. These provisions apply to capital gains tax, superannuation and income from child and partner support payments.

Baby bonus

If you had or adopted a child between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2004, you may be eligible for a baby bonus until your child turns five years old. The 2008-09 financial year was the last year for current year claims, but late claims will be accepted until 30 June 2014.

Other topics of interest to families

You may also be interested in first home saver accounts, caring for the disabled, Medicare levy and tax affairs of deceased estates.

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