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Check the definitions related to dependants.

Last updated 25 June 2019

Child or student

Child includes:

  • your adopted child, stepchild or ex-nuptial child
  • a child of your spouse, and
  • 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 student must be full-time at a school, college or university.


A dependant must be an Australian resident for tax purposes. A dependant can be:

  • your spouse
  • a child who is under 21 years old (see above) and is not a student
  • a student under 25 years old who is studying full time at school, college or university
  • an invalid or an invalid carer.

Maintaining a dependant or another person

You maintained a dependant or maintained another person if any of the following applied:

  • you both lived in the same house
  • you gave them food, clothing and lodging
  • you helped them to pay for their living, medical and educational costs.

If you had a spouse for the whole of 2018–19 and your spouse worked at any time during the year, we still consider you to have maintained your spouse as a dependant for the whole income year.

We consider you to have maintained a dependant or maintained another person even if the two of you were temporarily separated, for example, due to holidays or overseas travel.

If you maintained a dependant or maintained another person for only part of the year, you may need to adjust your claim accordingly.