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  • Tax receipt

    Most individual taxpayers receive a tax receipt when they lodge their annual tax return.

    On this page:

    Who receives a tax receipt?

    You will receive a tax receipt as part of the annual income tax return process if:

    • your assessed income tax for an income year is $100 or more
    • you are issued a notice of assessment within 18 months from the end of an income year.

    Assessed income tax is defined as the tax payable on your taxable income minus your tax offsets. This is printed under the heading Assessed tax payable on your Notice of Assessment.

    When you will receive a tax receipt

    Most taxpayers will receive their tax receipt along with their original notice of assessment. Some taxpayers may receive their tax receipt separately.

    If you have lodged your tax return electronically, you will receive your tax receipt via your myGov Inbox along with your notice of assessment.

    If you have lodged your return via mail, you will receive a paper tax receipt along with your notice of assessment via the postal address we have recorded for you.

    We issue your notice of assessment after you have lodged your annual income tax return. If you update your return later (for example to correct a mistake), we don't issue a revised tax receipt with your amended income tax assessment. We don't issue tax receipts for years earlier than the 2015-16 income year.

    Although your tax receipt is issued along with your original notice of assessment, it is not part of your notice of assessment.

    Understanding your tax receipt

    The tax receipt contains a table showing how your taxes have been allocated to key categories of government expenditure. The sample table below provides an example of how this information is presented on your tax receipt.

    The tax receipt also includes information on the level of Australian Government gross debt for the current and previous years. This is to increase transparency on how the government spends taxpayers' money.

    As a result of the deferral of the 2020–21 Budget, your tax receipt for the 2019–20 income year details Australian Government debt levels and where your personal income tax would be spent, based on the 2019–20 Budget. Please note that these figures don't reflect recently announced stimulus measures or new debt levels, which will be reflected in the 2020–21 Budget.

    Sample imagery of a tax receipt for a tax payer whose total tax assessed was $20,000. Coloured bars show the amounts allocated to 20 expenditure categories including health, welfare, recreation and culture.

    Expenditure categories

    The categories of Australian Government expenditure as shown on the tax receipt are explained below:


    Welfare assistance provides:

    • pensions and services to the aged
    • assistance to families with children
    • assistance to people with disabilities
    • assistance to the unemployed.

    It also includes assistance provided to Indigenous Australians which has not been classified elsewhere.


    Assistance provided to the aged includes:

    • income support for seniors (age pension)
    • home care
    • home support
    • the residential and flexible aged care programs.


    The main components of assistance for families with children are:

    • family tax benefit payments
    • child care fee assistance
    • income support to parents
    • paid parental leave.


    The main components of assistance to people with disabilities are:

    • the disability support pension
    • income support for carers
    • assistance to the states for disability services
    • disability employment services.


    Assistance to the unemployed includes payments made to support the unemployed and sick people who are unable to work.


    Health expenses relate to medical services funded through Medicare and the private health insurance rebate. It also covers:

    • payments to the states and territories to deliver essential health services, including public hospitals
    • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
    • Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health programs
    • mental health services
    • health workforce initiatives.


    Defence spending supports Australian military operations overseas and the delivery of navy, army, air and intelligence capabilities and strategic policy advice in the defence of Australia and its national interests. Defence expenses also include assistance to veterans and dependants.


    Education expenses support the delivery of education services through:

    • higher education institutions
    • vocational education and training providers (including technical and further education institutions)
    • government (state and territory) and non-government primary and secondary schools.

    General public services

    General public service expenses support:

    • the organisation and operation of government, such as those related to the parliament, the governor-general, conduct of elections, the collection of taxes, and management of public funds and debt
    • costs related to scientific research, including those incurred by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the Australian Research Council (ARC)
    • economic and statistical services
    • government superannuation benefits.

    Interest on government debt

    Interest on government debt includes interest expenses on Australian government securities, plus additional interest expenses incurred on the government's other minor debt liabilities. Interest on government debt is also known as public debt interest expense.

    See also:

    Transport and communication

    Transport and communication expenses support the infrastructure and regulatory framework for Australia's transport and communication sectors.

    Fuel and energy

    The main expense under this category is the fuel tax credits scheme.

    Foreign affairs and economic aid

    The foreign affairs and economic aid function includes:

    • assistance to developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, particularly countries in the Pacific region
    • contributions to international organisations
    • the operations of the foreign service.

    Industry assistance

    Expenditures under industry assistance include funds to support agriculture, forestry and fishing, as well as the mining, manufacturing and construction industries.

    Agriculture, forestry and fishing expenses support assistance to primary producers, forestry, fishing, land and water resources management, quarantine services and contributions to research and development.

    Mining, manufacturing and construction expenses support programs designed to promote the efficiency and competitiveness of Australian industries. The major components include:

    • the research and development tax incentive
    • programs specific to the automotive, textile, clothing and footwear industries.

    Public order and safety

    Public order and safety expenses relate to:

    • the administration of the federal legal system
    • the provision of legal services, including legal aid, to the community
    • law enforcement and intelligence activities
    • the protection of Australian Government property.

    Housing and community

    Housing and community expenses relate to:

    • the Australian Government's contribution to affordable housing and related national partnerships
    • other Australian Government housing programs
    • the expenses of Defence Housing Australia
    • various regional development and environmental protection programs.


    The main expenses for immigration relate to providing migration, border management and citizenship services.

    Recreation and culture

    Recreation and culture expenses support:

    • public broadcasting and cultural institutions
    • funding for the arts and the film industry
    • assistance to sport and recreation activities
    • the management and protection of national parks and other world heritage areas.

    It also includes expenses relating to the protection and preservation of historic sites and buildings, including war graves.

    Other purposes

    Other purposes include:

    • providing assistance to state, territory and local governments, excluding goods and services tax transfers
    • natural disaster relief, the Contingency Reserve, and expenses related to the nominal interest on unfunded liabilities for government superannuation benefits
    • other economic affairs that consist of expenses on tourism and area promotion, labour market assistance, industrial relations and other economic affairs not elsewhere classified.

    See also:

    Australian government gross debt

    When receipts fall short of payments, the government raises the money through the sale of government bonds, called Australian Government Securities (CGS).

    These government securities are fixed-term debt issued by the Government to investors. As a result of the deferral of the 2020–21 Budget, the gross debt figure for the current year of income (2019–20) is not yet available. The previous year's figure (2018–19) is shown for information purposes.

    Interest payments on gross debt

    Interest payments on gross debt refer to interest payments to be made by the government during the current income year (2019–20) on the Australian Government gross debt. As a result of the deferral of the 2020–21 Budget, this amount is not yet available.

    See also:

      Last modified: 01 Jul 2020QC 40650