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  • What's new for individuals

    Before you complete your tax return for 2021–22, find out what's new and any changes that may affect you.

    On this page

    Deductibility of COVID-19 tests

    From 1 July 2021, you can claim a deduction for the cost of COVID-19 tests provided you:

    • used the test for a work-related purpose, such as to determine if you can attend or remain at work
    • paid for a qualifying COVID-19 test (such as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or rapid antigen test (RAT))
    • paid for the cost yourself (that is, your employer doesn’t give you a test or reimburse you for the cost)
    • kept a record (such as a receipt) to prove you incurred the cost and that you were required to take the test for work purposes.

    You can only claim the portion of your expense that was used for work-related purposes.

    JobSeeker payment

    From 20 March 2020, the JobSeeker payment has been progressively replacing certain Government payments and allowances you might receive from Services Australia through Centrelink.

    JobSeeker now replaces the welfare payments, Widow Allowance and Partner Allowance, from 1 January 2022.

    As a result of this change, your Centrelink payment summary for 2021–22 may show 2 types of payments, the:

    • Widow or Partner Allowance
    • JobSeeker payment.

    We pre-fill this information in to 'Australian Government allowances and payments' in your tax return when Services Australia reports it to us. This information is usually available by the end of the first week in July each year.

    COVID-19 Disaster Payments

    The Australian Government provided COVID-19 Disaster Payments to eligible individuals. These payments were administered through Services Australia and provided support to individuals who were unable to earn their income because state or territory health orders prevented them working in their usual employment.

    The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income. This means it is a non-taxable payment and you don’t need to include it in your tax return.

    For more information, see Government grants, payments and stimulus during COVID-19.

    Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

    The Australian Government administered the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment through Services Australia to support individuals in certain states who couldn't earn an income because either they:

    • had to self-isolate or quarantine at home
    • were caring for someone with COVID-19.

    This is a taxable payment and you need to include it in your tax return.

    The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment won't show on your payment summary from Services Australia. You need to report this payment in your tax return manually.

    You received advice from Services Australia confirming the amounts you've claimed. Add up all the amounts claimed and include the total in your tax return.

    Enter the amount you received at either:

    • 'Australian Government special payments' if you lodge online using myTax
    • 'Question 24 Other income' if you lodge by paper
    • 'Question 24V' or add the 'Income Details schedule' at field 'Australian government benefit taxable amount' (INCDTLS128), with field 'Australian government benefit type' (INCDTLS126) set to 'Special' if you’re a registered tax professional.

    For more information, see Government grants, payments and stimulus during COVID-19.

    Cost of Living Payment

    The Cost of Living PaymentExternal Link is a $250 one-off payment to help with the cost of living. Services Australia began distributing this payment to eligible individuals in April 2022.

    The Cost of Living Payment is non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income. This means it is a non-taxable payment and you don’t need to include it in your tax return.

    Natural Disaster Assistance Payments

    If you experienced financial hardship as a result of a natural disaster, you may have received a relief payment from:

    • local, state or federal government agencies
    • a charity or community group
    • your employer.

    Disaster Recovery Payments (DRP) are non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income. This means it is a non-taxable payment and you don’t need to include it in your tax return.

    If you have carried forward losses from an earlier income year, you will need to reduce that amount by any exempt income.

    Emergency assistance in the form of gifts from family and friends is not taxable and you don't need to include this in your tax return.

    Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment

    You may have received Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) from Services Australia if you were affected by a natural disaster.

    In the 2021–22 financial year, you may have received AGDRP for:

    • Victorian Storms and Floods which began in June 2021
    • Queensland Floods beginning in January 2022
    • NSW and South East Queensland Floods beginning in February 2022.

    This payment is non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income. This means it is a non-taxable payment and you don’t need to include it in your tax return.

    However, if you have carried forward losses from an earlier income year, you will need to reduce that amount by any exempt income.

    If you received the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment - Special Supplement for the NSW Floods, you don’t need to include this in your tax return because it is non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income.

    Find out more about these floods by reading help for people affected by a natural disaster eventExternal Link.

    Disaster Recovery Allowance

    This short-term allowance from Services Australia was support if you lost income as a direct result of a natural disaster.

    In the 2021–22 financial year, you may have received Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) for:

    • Victorian Storms and Floods which began in June 2021
    • Queensland Floods beginning in January 2022
    • New South Wales and Queensland Storms and Floods beginning November 2021
    • New South Wales and South East Queensland Floods beginning in February 2022.

    Disaster Recovery Allowance and the Disaster Recovery Allowance Top-up are taxable payments which means you pay tax on these amounts and they need to be included in your tax return.

    Services Australia will have sent you a letter confirming the amount of Disaster Recovery Allowance you received.

    When completing your tax return, enter the Disaster Recovery Allowance you received at either:

    • 'Australian Government allowances and payments' if you lodge online using myTax
    • 'Question 5 Australian Government allowances and payments' if you lodge by paper
    • 'Question 5A Australian Government allowance and payments' if you’re a registered tax professional.

    If you received the Disaster Recovery Allowance, you may be eligible to receive the beneficiary tax offset. This may reduce the amount of tax you pay.

    The Disaster Recovery Allowance Top-up and New Zealand Disaster Recovery Allowance will not show on your payment summary from Services Australia. It also won't be prefilled in your tax return. You need to manually include these payments in your tax return.

    When completing your tax return, enter the Disaster Recover Allowance Top-up and New Zealand Disaster Recovery Allowance you received at either:

    • 'Australian Government special payments' if you lodge online using myTax
    • 'Question 24 Other income' if you lodge by paper
    • 'Question 24V' or add the 'Income Details schedule' at field 'Australian government benefit taxable amount' (INCDTLS128), with field 'Australian government benefit type' (INCDTLS126) set to 'Special' if you’re a registered tax professional.

    Find out more about the:

    Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme

    The Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme is administered by the National Indigenous Australians Agency. The Scheme is for survivors of the Stolen Generations who were removed as children from their families whilst in the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory (prior to their respective self-government) or the Jervis Bay Territory.

    The Scheme is a financial and wellbeing package that opened on 1 March 2022 and will close on 30 June 2026. You can apply anytime between 1 March 2022 and 28 February 2026.

    The Territories Stolen Generations Redress scheme payments are non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income. This means it is a non-taxable payment and you don’t need to include it in your tax return.

    For more information, see Territories Stolen Generations Redress SchemeExternal Link.

    Low and middle income tax offset

    The low and middle income tax offset (LMITO) has increased by $420 for the 2021–22 income year. This has increased the maximum offset amount to $1,500. The offset applies to people with a taxable income of less than $126,000, and who are Australian residents for tax purposes.

    LMITO is not a cash refund. The offset can only reduce the amount of tax you need to pay to $0, and if there is any offset remaining you will not receive that amount as a cash refund.

    The amount of offset you are entitled to depends on your individual circumstances, such as your taxable income. You do not need to complete anything extra in your tax return to receive the offset – we work out the amount for you. If you’re eligible, the offset will automatically apply and display on your notice of assessment.

    Medicare levy thresholds

    From 1 July 2021, the low-income thresholds for the Medicare levy and the Medicare levy surcharge have been adjusted in line with the consumer price index (CPI). For more information see Medicare levy reduction for low income earners.

    Removing the $450 threshold for super guarantee eligibility

    From 1 July 2022, your employer may need to contribute to your super regardless of how much you earn per month. The $450 per month threshold for super guarantee has been removed.

    If you’re under 18 years old, you’ll still need to work more than 30 hours in a week to be eligible for super. This criteria has not changed.

    Use our tool to estimate your super.

    Personal super contribution amounts added to ATO online services

    There are limits on how much you can pay into your super fund each financial year without having to pay extra tax. These limits are called 'contribution caps'.

    If you contribute to super and you want to stay under the contribution caps, you'll now be able to easily. You can view your personal super contribution amounts in ATO online services. The new non-concessional contributions, concessional contributions and carry forward screens will display up to five years of contributions data.

    Last modified: 21 Jun 2022QC 32093