At the end of each financial year Services Australia compares a family’s income estimate with their actual income to check they got the right amount of Child Care Subsidy (CCS). This process is called balancing. Families need to confirm their income for balancing to occur.
On this page:
Providing an income estimate
Before a financial year starts, families tell Services Australia what they think they’ll earn that year.
This is called an income estimate. Services Australia uses this estimate to work out how much CCS to pay families.
Services Australia contacts families to remind them to provide a new estimate for the next financial year.
If families don’t give a new estimate, Services Australia estimates a family’s income using information from the current year. However, this amount may not be accurate.
If it’s too low, families may get a debt. If it's too high, families may receive less than they’re entitled.
Families can update their estimate at any time during the year if their circumstances change.
After the end of the financial year on 30 June, families need to confirm what they actually earned that year.
Services Australia then compares this with the family’s income estimate.
This is known as balancing, and it is how Services Australia checks that families received the correct amount of CCS.
Families confirm their income by:
- lodging their tax return with the Australian Taxation Office, or
- telling Services Australia they don’t need to lodge a tax return, even if they’ve already told the ATO.
If a parent separates from their partner, Services Australia will also need their ex-partner's income.
If a parent is concerned that their ex-partner won’t lodge their tax return by the deadline they should call the Families line.
Deadlines to confirm income
For each financial year, two deadlines apply for confirming income.
One year after the financial year ends
Families have one year to confirm their income.
If they don’t confirm their income within 12 months after the end of a financial year their CCS will stop. They’ll have to pay full fees for child care.
If they receive Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS), it will also stop. However, ACCS Child Wellbeing payments will continue.
CCS and ACCS can only restart after families have confirmed their income.
Two years after the financial year ends
Families who still haven’t confirmed their income two years after a financial year ends may have to repay any CCS they received for that financial year.
Their CCS and ACCS, including Child Wellbeing, will also be cancelled.
Families will need to make a new claim if they wish to get CCS or ACCS again. They can only do so after they confirm their income and repay any outstanding debt or enter into a payment arrangement.
Payments cannot be granted or backdated for the period before income is confirmed.
Families who meet the first deadline don’t need to worry about the second one.
Financial years being balanced
2022–23 financial year
Services Australia is balancing CCS payments for the 2022–23 financial year.
Families must confirm their income with Services Australia so their payments can be balanced. Once Services Australia has balanced a family’s CCS, they will send them an outcome.
Families must confirm their 2022–23 income by 30 June 2024.
If they don’t, their CCS will stop. This means they’ll pay full fees when they use child care.
Services Australia can start a family’s CCS again, but only after they’ve confirmed their income. This means families may miss out on CCS.
2021–22 financial year
Most families confirmed their 2021–22 income by the first deadline on 30 June 2023. Families who haven’t must do so by the second deadline on 30 June 2024.
Families that miss this second deadline may need to repay all the CCS they got in 2021–22. They will also lose their CCS eligibility.
These families will need to make a new claim to get CCS again. Families can only claim CCS again once they have:
- confirmed their income, and
- repaid any current or previous child care-related debt, or
- entered into a repayment arrangement.
Families who miss the second deadline will also miss out on any top up of CCS for which they may have been eligible.
Session reports for previous financial years
The Child Care Subsidy System has closed for previous financial years. To submit, vary or withdraw session reports for a previous financial year, you’ll need to submit an application.
If a family’s CCS has been balanced, any changes to session reports will:
- be raised as a debt with the provider if the changes result in a reduction to CCS entitlement, or
- be paid directly to the family if the changes result in an increase to CCS entitlement.
Services Australia withholds 5% of a family's CCS. If a family receives too much CCS, the withholdings that have been set aside will reduce what they owe at the end of the financial year.
Families can change their withholding percentage up to twice a year using their Centrelink online account through myGov. If families want to change it more than this, they’ll need to call the Families line.
What do providers need to do?
The balancing process is a matter between families and Services Australia.
You may notice a change to the amount of CCS you receive on behalf of a family after Services Australia balances payments.
You will also need to charge full fees to families if their CCS stops.
If your families have any questions regarding the balancing process, please direct them to Services Australia.