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Government payments and allowances

When to declare taxable and tax-free government payments, pensions and allowances in your tax return.

Last updated 25 April 2023

What are government payments, pensions and allowances?

Australian Government payments, pensions and allowances are income amounts that you receive from a government agency. Commonly these payments are from Services Australia or the Department of Veteran's affairs (DVA).

Depending on the payment type you receive, these payments might be either:

  • taxable – meaning you pay tax on the amounts and must declare the income in your tax return
  • tax-free – meaning you don't pay tax on the amounts, but you may need to declare them in your tax return so we can work out your eligibility for tax offsets and other benefits.

If you are unsure of the type of payment you receive, contact the government agency to check.

If you lodge your tax return online we pre-fill most of these payments, pensions and allowances in your tax return. You will need to check the pre-fill information and manually include any amounts that have not pre-filled in your tax return.

For instructions on how to complete government payments, pensions and allowances in your tax return, see Lodgment options for preparing your tax return.

Taxable pensions, payments and allowances

You must include taxable Australian Government pensions, payments and allowances in your tax return.

Taxable government payments, pensions and allowances include:

  • age pension
  • carer payment
  • Austudy payment
  • JobSeeker payment
  • Youth allowance
  • Defence Force income support allowance (DFISA) where the pension, payment or allowance that it relates to is taxable
  • veteran payment
  • invalidity service pension, if you are age-pension age or over
  • disability support pension, if you are age-pension age or over
  • income support supplement
  • parenting payment (partnered)
  • disaster recovery allowance (but not in relation to 201920 bushfires).

This is not an exhaustive list, for a full list of Australian Government payments, pensions and allowances, see:

Tax-free government pensions or benefits

Some Australian Government payments are tax-free but you still need to declare them in your tax return. We use this information to work out if you are eligible for tax offsets and any government benefits or concessions.

Tax-free Australian Government pensions or benefits include:

  • carer payment where either:
    • both the carer and the care receiver are under age-pension age
    • the carer is under age-pension age and any of the care receivers has died.
     
  • disability support pension paid by Centrelink, if you are under age-pension age
  • invalidity service pension, if the veteran is under age-pension age
  • partner service pension where either
    • the partner and the veteran are under the age-pension age and the veteran is receiving an invalidity service pension
    • the partner is under age-pension age, the veteran has died and was receiving an invalidity service pension at the time of death.
     

This is not an exhaustive list, for a full list of tax-free Australian Government pensions and benefits, see Tax-free government pensions or benefits.

Government payments and stimulus during difficult times

During difficult times such as natural disasters or the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal, state or territory governments may provide support payments or grants.

If you received a payment because you were impacted by:

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