Your Child Care Payments and the End of Financial Year
Claiming Child Care Benefit & Child Care Rebate – all customers
To claim Child Care Benefit (CCB) or Child Care Rebate (CCR) you need to be assessed and approved for those payments by the Family Assistance Office (FAO). The FAO issues Customer Reference Numbers (CRNs) for you and your child/ren. You must provide the CRN and the date of birth of the parent who is claiming CCB and the CRN and the date of birth of your child/ren to your child care service. With this information, your child care service is able to report your child’s attendance information through the financial year and, depending on the payment method you choose, receive Fee Reduction payments on your behalf.
Reduced Fee Customers
When you apply for CCB and/or CCR as a Fee Reduction, the FAO asks you for an estimate of your family’s income for the current financial year and if this estimate is acceptable it is used to assess your CCB rate for the current year. CCB/CCR payments during the year are an estimate based on your family income estimate.Around May each year the FAO will ask you to update your income estimate for the next financial yearFrom late July onwards, as families lodge their income tax returns, the FAO gets details of actual income from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for the completed financial year. The income reported in your family’s tax return will determine the amount of CCB/CCR you should have been paid for that year.If you and/or your partner do not need to lodge a tax return you should tell the FAO. You should not need to do this if you or your partner received a Government Pension, Benefit or Allowance for the full financial year, as you may be eligible for the maximum rate of CCB and the FAO does not need to obtain your income details from the ATO. The FAO compares the amount of CCB/CCR Fee Reductions paid to your child care service on your behalf during the year to the amount you are entitled to receive based on your family’s actual income.If you were paid less than you were entitled to because you over estimated your income, the FAO may provide you with an additional payment, called a top-up. If you were paid too much, you will have to repay the overpaid amount to the FAO. This whole process is called reconciliation.During the reconciliation process, your actual CCB entitlement will be used to determine your actual annual CCR entitlement. Any CCR payments made during the year will be deducted from that annual entitlement and may either result in you receiving a top up of your CCR entitlement or you having received too much CCR. Any CCR top-up may be used to recover any CCB overpayments and any CCR overpayment may be recovered from a CCB top-up. CCB and CCR overpayments may also be recovered from tax refunds.
Zero Rate Customers
It is a good idea to claim CCB, even if it is at a ‘zero rate’ during the year, as this will ensure that your CCR is paid more ‘automatically’ and you will not have to go through the continual ‘Lump Sum Claim’ process at the end of each financial year. Please call the FAO on 136150 if you wish to test your eligibility.If you claimed CCB, but did not receive any fee reduction during the financial year (either because your income estimate was too high, or because you chose the zero rate payment option), your CCB can be reconciled from late July without waiting for the ATO to confirm your income details. Your actual CCR entitlement will also be calculated at this time.For any part of a financial year where you were not eligible for CCB as a reduced or zero rate, you will need to complete a Lump Sum Claim at the end of the financial year.
Lump Sum – Full Fee Customers
If you choose to pay full child care fees and then claim CCB/CCR as a Lump Sum after the end of the financial year, your CCB and CCR entitlements will be paid by the FAO when you lodge your claim and your income details have been confirmed by the ATO (if required).The FAO can only make CCB and CCR payments if you provide the CRN and the date of birth of the parent who is claiming and the CRN and the date of birth of your child/ren to your child care service. With this information, your child care service is able to report your child’s attendance information to the FAO for calculation of CCB and CCR.Rather than lodging a Child Care Benefit Lump Sum Claim after the end of each financial year, you may wish to claim Child Care Benefit as reduced fees (at the zero rate payment option) instead. This way, you can choose to receive the Child Care Rebate as a more frequent payment. If you would like to make a claim for the current financial year please call 13 6150 or claim online at www.centrelink.gov.au