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  • Family and dependants for Medicare levy surcharge purposes

    Find out who is considered a member of a family and who is a dependant for the purposes of the Medicare levy surcharge.

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    When you are a member of a family for the MLS

    For Medicare levy surcharge (MLS) purposes, you are a member of a family if, during any period of the year, you:

    • had a spouse or a child who was an Australian resident (regardless of their income), and
    • contributed to their maintenance.

    For the meaning of 'maintenance of a dependant', see Dependants for Medicare levy exemption.

    Spouse (married or de facto) for MLS purposes

    Your spouse includes another person (of any sex) who either:

    • 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.

    An ex-spouse you pay maintenance or child support to is not your dependant.

    Child for MLS purposes

    Your child is only your dependant if they are:

    • under 21 years old
    • 21 to 24 years old and studying full-time at school, college or university.

    Your child is still your dependant if you are paying child support even if they don't live with you.

    Your child includes:

    • your child, whether born in marriage or not
    • your adopted child
    • a newborn or newly adopted child
    • a child of your spouse (your stepchild)
    • someone who is your child within the meaning of the Family Law Act 1975 (for example, a child who is considered to be a child of a person under a state or territory court order giving effect to a surrogacy agreement).

    A foster child is not included as a dependant for MLS purposes.

    When you pay the MLS

    You may have to pay the MLS if:

    • any member of the family did not have an appropriate level of private patient hospital cover, and
    • your income is above a certain amount.
    Last modified: 30 Jun 2023QC 27044