Our guide to the Federal Budget

Show me your surplus.  A billion this and a billion that.

The billions don’t mean much either way unless you know whether your family stands to benefit or not.

Here’s our quick summary of this year’s Federal Budget and how it will affect working mums and their families.

Let us know what you think and whether your family will be better off – or if we’ve missed anything important to you 🙂

Changes to Family Tax Payments

You probably already know if you receive Family Tax Benefit Part A.

If not, and your household income is below about $150,000, you can find out more here to see if you are eligible.

The Government has announced extra payments of up to $600 per family – but that amount doesn’t go to everyone.

This year’s Budget will increase the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit A which could mean an extra $300 for families with one child, and $600 for families with two or more children. Families receiving the base rate will get $100 if they have one child, and $200 if they have two or more.

When it comes, more than a million families will receive an increase of at least $300. 

Fine print: The benefits don’t start until July 2013 so don’t spend the money yet. There will also be new eligibility criteria so that families will no longer receive the payment if their child is over 18 and not in full-time study.

Tax Changes

From 1 July 2012, the tax‑free threshold will increase from $6,000 to $18,200, which means anyone who earns less than that won’t need to lodge a tax return.  Even better it means a tax cut for anyone on an income of less than about $80,000, which means most part time workers.  Like lots of mums.  Big tick for this one 🙂

The Schoolkids Bonus

We’ve written previously about the Education Tax Refund and tried to encourage everyone to claim it.  Despite our efforts, the Government says that more than 1 million families still aren’t receiving their full entitlement because we’re not very good at keeping receipts or knowing whether we’re eligible.

The new SchoolKids Bonus will go to everyone who was eligible for the old benefit but it will be delivered automatically without a need to keep receipts or make a specific claim.

So what do you get?

  • $410 for each child in primary school
  • $820 for each child in high school

This is about the same are you could get under the Education Tax Refund so if you were one of the super diligent and receipt keeping parents, you’ll be no worse off.

Important note – Joe Hockey has indicated that the Opposition may not support these changes so they’re not yet guaranteed.  Parliament has to vote on the Budget for them to come into effect.  You can let him know how you feel if you’re concerned on Twitter @JoeHockey.

Mums of children with a disability

For mums with a child with a disability there is great news with the first steps towards a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

According to the Every Australian Counts campaign which has been calling for the NDIS to be funded, the scheme will:

Revolutionise the way people with a disability, their families and carers are supported in Australia.  It will replace all the current state and territory disability systems, because they don’t work.

The NDIS will [help]… hundreds of thousands of Australians with disability and their families to have the opportunity to participate actively in their communities by providing targeted supports aligned to need.

The Government has announced $1 billion to start getting the scheme established.  There will be a need for more, but it’s a very good start.

So, most of us should do quite well out of it all, especially those families on average incomes or below.  Good stuff.

Want more information specific to your family circumstances?  The Daily Telegraph has an excellent calculator where you can put in your income and number of kids and it will tell you what it means for you here.

What do you think?  Will your family benefit?

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7 responses to “Our guide to the Federal Budget

  1. Sharon Burke

    I am disappointed about the superannuation contributions limit (9% plus salary sacrifice amount), being $25000 for the next two years, rather than $50000 for Australians over 50 with superannuation balances less than $500000. Many women take breaks from the workforce to raise children or work part-time when their children are young. Once we are over 50 and our children are mostly grown, it’s a great time to catch up on our superannuation contributions. Only a relatively small amount of money will be saved by the government implementing this measure. Most of the women adversely affected by this don’t earn anywhere near $300000 per annum (a small fraction of this at best). The limit should be $50000 effective immediately.

  2. Until these changes I was eligible for the education tax refund and claimed using the receipts I collected. The money was handy as I was able to pay my children’s government school fees (which are voluntary). Centrelink advised me I am not eligible for the school kids bonus – that is a shame – because this means I cannot pay school fees this year.

    • My understanding is that the payment cutoffs are the same so you should be eligible for both? Did Centrelink give you a reason? That is v concerning

      • Hi – It did feel it was strange that in previous years I had been able to obtain the tax refund through eligible receipts. I expect that I became ineligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A when they changed the income thresholds. I still receive Part B payments. As a single parent raising 3 children – believe me my income does not enable me to save and I live from pay to pay. I was disappointed I could not receive the school kids bonus as I would like to pass it on to the school in payment of the voluntary fees. I realise the school is funded by State and Commonwealth Governments anyway – but I would prefer to be able to direct the bonus to my children’s school.

  3. Hmm that makes sense. Agreed. Thanks for letting me know. Kirsten

  4. Very good post. I’m dealing with some of these issues as well..

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