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  • Do you receive government benefits?

    There have been changes to the way we and other government agencies (including Centrelink and the Department of Human Services) work out your income for:

    • some government benefits and programs
    • claiming some tax offsets or deductions.

    This guide will help you to find out whether you could be affected by these changes and tell you where you can get more information.

    This product is also available in PDF format download Do you receive government benefits? (PDF, 331KB)

    Income tests and you

    We use 'income tests' to work out whether you are entitled to certain benefits, tax offsets and liabilities.

    These income tests include your:

    • reportable fringe benefits
    • reportable superannuation contributions
    • tax free government pensions
    • target foreign income
    • net financial investment loss
    • net rental loss
    • child support you paid.

    Depending on the information you provide at the income tests, you may no longer be eligible for some tax offsets and government benefits. This could also affect the amount of tax you pay.

    What are income tests used for?

    We use the income tests to work out whether you:

    • can claim tax offsets such as the  
      • invalid or invalid carer tax offset
      • seniors and pensioners tax offset net medical expenses offset
      • superannuation spouse contributions tax offset
      • 'Medicare levy surcharge lump-sum-payments-in-arrears' tax offset.
       
    • are eligible for  
      • the government super co-contribution
      • private health insurance rebate
      • an income tax deduction for your personal super contributions
      • an income tax deduction for your business losses (non-commercial losses)
      • income tax concessions from an employee share scheme.
       
    • must  
      • pay the Medicare levy surcharge
      • make or increase Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) , Student Start-up (SSL or ABSTUDY SSL) or Trade support Loan repayments.
       

    You may be affected by the changes if you currently access any of the above programs.

    See also:

    How might this affect you?

    Your income for the purpose of the relevant income test could now be too high for you to qualify for some benefits. This means that you might:

    • no longer qualify for certain tax offsets or you might qualify for a reduced amount
    • no longer qualify for superannuation co-contributions or personal superannuation contributions deductions
    • be liable for the Medicare levy surcharge.

    More information

    • To find out more about how you may be affected, you should seek advice from your tax adviser.
    • Go to ato.gov.au/incometests for more information about income tests.
    • If you would like to discuss the changes to income tests, phone us on 13 28 61 or phone the ATO Indigenous Helpline on 13 10 30.

    If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, phone the ATO through the National Relay Service (NRS) on the numbers listed below:

    • TTY users, phone 13 36 77 and ask for the ATO number you need.
    • Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users, phone 1300 555 727 and ask for the ATO number you need.
    • Internet relay users, connect to the NRS on relayservice.com.auExternal Link and ask for the ATO number you need.
      Last modified: 22 Mar 2017QC 23185