5 Tax deductions for families

The Australian tax system has a range of tax benefits including refunds, offsets and credits to support families. A tax file number is required for each family member generating an income to be eligible for any of these tax concessions, superannuation or investments.

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Low income

You may be eligible for a tax offset if you are a low-income earner. If you only work part-time you may fall into this category. This offset does not need to be claimed as the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will calculate it for you when you lodge your tax return. Minors (children under 18 years of age) can no longer access the low income tax offset to reduce the tax payable on their unearned income (for example, from interest or property). Refer to the low income tax offset calculator to determine whether you are eligible.

Spouse superannuation

If you make post-tax contributions to your spouse’s superannuation account, you may be eligible to claim a tax offset if you meet the income tests. To qualify, you and your spouse need to have been Australian residents when the contribution was made, you and your spouse must not have been living separately and apart on a permanent basis when the contribution was made, and you have not claimed a tax deduction for the contribution. For further details, visit the ATO.

Medical expenses

You can claim a tax offset of 20 per cent (that is, 20 cents on the dollar) of your net medical expenses over an indexed threshold. Net medical expenses include treatment from registered medical practitioners, hospitalisation and nursing home care. The expenses do not include medication unless prescribed by a medical practitioner, cosmetic surgery only, and retirement accommodation unless it is providing you or your dependants’ nursing care. See net medical expenses tax offset calculator.

Private health insurance

If you and your dependants have private health insurance you may be eligible for a refundable tax offset. The amount of this offset is determined by the income level of the adult parties included in the policy. You can claim a private health insurance tax offset if you paid a premium for a complying private health insurance policy or if your employer paid this premium on your behalf. Further details available at the ATO.

Government benefits

You may be eligible for the beneficiary tax offset if you receive a government benefit such as a Centrelink benefit or Commonwealth education allowance. If your only income is from these benefits, the beneficiary tax offset will usually reduce the tax you have to pay to nil. See the beneficiary tax offset calculator to calculate an estimate of this offset.

For more information, visit the ATO’s guide to tax for families to see whether you may be eligible for other tax offsets.

More about tax and families

New tax laws you should know
How to create a budget
Working mums to pocket $10,000 with paid parental leave

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