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Tax Bonus have you got yours?

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#1 smtm

Posted 25 May 2009 - 11:59 AM

Have you got your tax bonus payment yet?

There is a great deal of confusion over who gets the latest round of handouts, and exactly what handouts are on offer – so I shall do my best to clear up any possible misunderstandings. Here is what I know…

The Tax Bonus relates to the $900 payment announced earlier this year, according to the ATO, all payments of this amount will be made by 16th May 09. If you haven’t yet received your tax bonus there could be a couple of reasons why...

• Are your bank account and address details the same as per your 07/08 tax return notice, if not you need to call 1300 686 636 so the ATO can redirect payment.
• If you used a tax agent to prepare your tax return you may find your payment has been sent to your tax agents office.
• Have you lodged your 07/08 tax return before March 2009? If you have lodged your tax return for 2007/08 then it will be paid directly to you, either through an account you have nominated on your tax return or by cheque.
• If you lodged your tax return in March, you may have to wait about another 4 weeks after you receive your tax assessment notice before you receive your Tax Bonus, if you are eligible.

Finally you may not have received your tax bonus because… you’re deemed ineligible. You will be eligible for the payment if your 2007-08 taxable income was $100,000 or less and you paid tax. The key here is, you must have paid tax to be eligible and you must have completed and lodged your 2007-08 tax return. Whether you have paid tax or not is a tricky one because personal circumstances are different from one person to another, its difficult to give a blanket definition, you may have paid tax and due to various rebates Tax offsets and other credits, found your tax paid is reduce to nil. This appears to be a very common situation, we all strive to reduce our tax paid, and it seems this is working against those who have managed to eliminate their tax liability with rebates, concessions and deductions.

Sadly some taxpayers in need of the Tax Bonus, have discovered because they are entitled to other non-related rebates and or concessions, they are deemed to have not paid tax. I highly recommend you make the call to the ATO (ph 1300 686 636 or use the Bonus Tax Calculator  or www.australia.gov.au/taxbonuspayment). It may mean you are on the phone for a good half hour as I was today, but I think it is better to be informed than think your entitled to a bonus and find out your not… or worse still spend the money you don’t have under the belief you are entitled to the bonus.

Also note, to be eligible for the Tax Bonus you need to have lodged your 07/08 tax return by the 30th June 09. If you are eligible for the tax bonus you have about a month to get your tax affairs in order and lodge your return.

Whilst on the phone today I have also discovered there are some other bonuses on offer that perhaps you may or may not be aware of….You might like to call Centrelink Ph 13 61 50 or the ATO 1300 686 636 to find out if you are entitled to any of these bonuses.  

I am confident most of you will be aware of these, nevertheless I shall document them for those who don't. There is so much confusion, I even struggle to keep up with who gets what. I only just found out today, because I don’t receive the FTB fortnightly (I normally prefer to wait till tax time to make sure my income estimate is spot on) I won’t get the $1,000 per child given out in December or the Tax Bonus until I lodge my 08/09 tax return… if I was signed up for FTB before the 23rd March 09 I would have received the bonuses on offer. Suffice to say the tax return will be submitted on the 1st July this year!

Economic Security Strategy - Bonus $1,000
This is the $1,000 bonus given out at Christmas time for families. Families who are eligible, to receive the family tax benefit part A will get this bonus. If you receive your FTB as a lump sum, upon the submission of your 08/09 tax return, you will receive this amount.

Back to School Bonus
The Back to School Bonus is a one-off lump sum payment of $950 per eligible child.
It is paid to assist low-and middle-income families eligible for Family Tax Benefit A with school-age children.

Families with children of school age who are eligible for Family Tax Benefit-A will receive the Back to School Bonus for each eligible school aged child (aged 4 to 18).

If you are currently receiving Family Tax Benefit-A as a fortnightly payment, Centrelink should have paid you the $950 bonus from the fortnight commencing 11 March 2009.

However if you have decided to receive your Family Tax Benefit-A as a lump sum the Back to School Bonus will be paid upon the submission of your 2008-09 tax return.

Single-Income Family Bonus
The single Income Family Bonus of $950 is additional financial assistance to families who rely on one main income earner. This includes, sole parent families and two-parent families where one parent chooses to stay at home or balance some paid work with caring for children.

The Bonus will be a one-off payment of $950 per family to every family entitled to Family Tax Benefit Part B, irrespective of the number of children.

Centrelink will automatically pay the one-off Bonus in the fortnight commencing 11 March 2009 for families who receive their family assistance as fortnightly instalments.

I hope this has helped to clear up any confusion? And if you are entitled to the tax bonus.. spend it wisely!

Sonia Williams a mother of two, qualified accountant, author and founder of the site Show Mummy the Money, designed to help mums, save, make and protect their money. This information is correct at time of writing. It is general advice only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information.

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