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  • Senior Australians

    If you're a senior Australian, you may be eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset (SAPTO). However, you can't claim the SAPTO if you were in jail for the whole income year.

    The SAPTO can reduce the amount of tax you are liable to pay. In some cases, it may reduce your tax liability to zero and you may not have to lodge a tax return.

    In some cases, if you and your spouse are both eligible for SAPTO, you may be able to transfer your spouse's unused offset to you. We calculate their transfer amount and include this amount when calculating your SAPTO.

    Eligibility for the seniors and pensioners tax offset

    To be eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset (SAPTO), you must meet certain conditions relating to your eligibility for an Australian Government pension or allowance and you and your spouse's income.

    Or you can use the Beneficiary tax offset and seniors and pensioners tax offset calculator to help you determine your eligibility and calculate the amount of offset you can claim.

    Eligibility for an Australian Government pension or allowance

    You meet this condition if any of the following applied to you in 2018–19:

    • you received an Australian Government pension or allowance from Centrelink
    • you received a pension, allowance or benefit from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
    • you satisfied the Centrelink age pension age requirement and were eligible for an Australian Government age pension during the income year, but didn't receive it because you didn't make a claim or because of the application of the income test or asset test and you satisfy one of the following:  
      • you have been an Australian resident age-pension purposes for either 10 continuous years or for more than 10 years of which five years were continuous
      • you have a qualifying residence exemption (because you arrived Australia as a refugee or under a special humanitarian program)
      • you are a woman who was widowed in Australia (at a time when both you and your late partner were Australian residents), you have made a claim for the age pension and you had two years residence immediately before your claim
      • you received a widow B pension, widow allowance, or partner allowance immediately before turning age-pension age
      • you would qualify under an international social security agreement
    • you satisfied the veteran pension age test and were eligible for a pension, allowance or benefit from Veterans’ Affairs during the income year, but didn't receive it because you didn't make a claim or because of the application of the income test or asset test and you satisfy either of the following:  
      • you were a veteran with eligible war service
      • you are a Commonwealth veteran, allied veteran or allied mariner with qualifying service.

    Centrelink pension age test

    To be eligible for an Australian Government age pension from Centrelink, you must be 65 years and six months or older on 30 June 2019.

    Veteran pension age test

    To be eligible for a pension, allowance or benefit from Veterans' Affairs, you must meet the veteran pension age test and on 30 June 2019 be 60 years old or older.

    You meet the veteran pension age test if one of the following applied to you and you were eligible for a pension, allowance or benefit under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986:

    • you have eligible war service, that is, service in World War II or operational service as a member of the Australian Defence Force
    • you're a Commonwealth or allied veteran who served in a conflict in which the Australian Defence Force was engaged during a period of hostilities that is:
      • World War II
      • Korea
      • Malaya, Indonesia
      • Vietnam
    • you're an Australian or allied mariner who served during World War II
    • you're the war widow or widower of a former member of the Australian Defence Force.

    Income

    You meet this condition if any of the following applied to you in 2018–19:

    • you don't have a spouse and your rebate income was less than $50,119
    • you have a spouse and the combined rebate income of you and your spouse was less than $83,580
    • at any time during the year you and your spouse had to live apart due to illness or because one of you was in a nursing home, and the combined rebate income of you and your spouse was less than $95,198.

    The phrase 'had to live apart' due to illness, refers to situations where you and your spouse don't live together because one or both of you have an indefinitely continuing illness or infirmity and as a result your combined living expenses were increased.

    The combined rebate income is the total of all of the following:

    • your rebate income
    • your spouse’s rebate income
    • the amount on which a trustee of a trust was liable to pay tax in respect of your spouse because your spouse was under a legal disability, such as being an undischarged bankrupt or a person who was declared legally incapable because of a mental condition.

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    Last modified: 12 Nov 2019QC 31909