Tag Archives: Education Tax Refund

Top 3 Most Googled Questions From Working Mums in 2012, and the answers!

One of the best features of a WordPress blog is that it has an excellent feature to help you work out how people found you.

google

I love going through the list of search terms regularly and I often wonder if some of these readers found what they came for.  Some of it is a bit odd, (like ’50 shades of grey bogan version’), others make a lot of sense (‘how do I get family tax benefit’) while other search terms are a bit of a worry (‘road rage outside daycare centre’).

Today, we’re working through the list and answering some the questions readers most often ‘googled’ to find us.

We don’t pretend to have all the answers, (does any mum?) so feel free to correct and clarify.   But in the interests of sharing any working mum knowledge there is, here’s our answers to the Top 3 Most Googled Questions from Working Mums in 2012.

1. Can I claim school uniforms on my taxes?

This is officially our Most Googled Question.  The question probably comes from the Education Tax Refund which made school uniforms a legitimate tax deduction for a couple of years there, but it has now been replaced by the SchoolKids Bonus, which is a similar payment to the same families who were previously eligible but with with a bit less paperwork.  Find out moreabout who is eligible and how to get it here.

2. How to be a good working mum?

First, you already are. It makes me sad that so many of us wonder about this – so much that we’re googling the damn question!  If you love your kids, and want to do a good job, you are being a good mum,  so our first suggestion is to relax, and give yourself a little credit.

More practically we’d also suggest the most important thing is to build yourself in wriggle room.  Organise your days, hours, childcare and transport as though things are going to go wrong sometimes. Kids will get sick, work will be unreasonable and the trains won’t always ever run on time.

If you use up all of the time your parents are able help out on a weekly basis, what will you do during school holidays?  Would you be better off putting kids in daycare or after school care and having grandparents help out when things fall apart?  Do any of your daycare centre workers do babysitting out of hours?  Find out ahead of time in case you get caught.

There will be times when you need a backup plan for your backup plan, so when you’re working out how many days to work, make sure you consider the things that can go wrong and not just how it will go when all is running smoothly.

If you’re not yet back at work and think I’m being pessimistic, remember your plans to learn French/lose all of your baby weight/organise the kitchen renovation while on maternity leave.  Yes, working has its practical realities too.

It’s also perfectly reasonable to work out how you’re going to do whatever’s important to your sanity.  Coffee with girlfriends?  Exercise?  Regular access to white wine? Escaping the house without any small people clinging onto your person and wiping their leftovers on your white shirt? It’s all a fair enough ask – and possible even though you’re managing the needs of employer/colleagues/partners and children 24 hours a day.  If you’re not yet convinced, check out this piece what a great Role Model  you are when you take a little something for yourself.

3. Who gets carbon tax compensation?

Interest in this one has died off a little towards the end of the year, probably because the tax came in and THE WORLD DID NOT END.  Amazing really.

We still get asked occasionally though so here’s the short version of the answer.

  • Family Tax Benefit Part A recipients received up to $110 for each child.
  • Family Tax Benefit Part B recipients received up to $69 per family.
  • Single pensioners received up to $250.
  • Pensioner couples received up to $190 per eligible member.

Most of it’s already been paid though, so hope you noticed it!

You can find out more about carbon tax compensation in this post.

What’s your No 1 question as a working mum?  Email me at kirstenandrews(at)bigpond(dot)com

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The Schoolkids Bonus – paid this week into the bank accounts of eligible families

This January, parents of the 1.3million school aged children who meet income test requirements will receive half of a new payment designed to help families with school costs.

From 9 to 22 January eligible families will receive, directly into their bank accounts:

– $205 for each primary student (with another $205 paid in July) and
– $410 for each secondary student (with another $410 paid in July).

The Schoolkids Bonus replaces the old Education Tax Refund but there’s no need to collect receipts or claim it through your tax.

Handy if you’re buying school shoes, uniforms or getting kids haircuts this week.  Judging by the chaos at my local store, pretty much everyone in Australia is doing exactly that right now..

You need to be receiving an eligible payment, which for most people means Family Tax Benefit A.  If you’re not receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A, you can find out if you’re eligible here.

Note that if you receive your Family Tax Benefit as a lump sum at the end of the year, you will receive your payment then, so don’t panic if it’s not there now.

While you’re at it, there is also quite a good online estimator to help you work out eligibility for any other family payments here.

The good news is that if you think you’re eligible but haven’t applied yet, you won’t get the money this week but you can still register your children and receive the payment here.

Note that while it’s *technically* possible to do this all online, we find the website very clunky and difficult to use, as opposed to collecting an paper copy of the form from your local DHS Service centre or Medicare office.

It may not cover a round of school shoes and uniforms for everyone, but every little bit helps!

Heard about carbon tax compensation but not sure if your family is eligible? Find out here

There’s been a lot of debate about the carbon tax, but not much clear information on who’s getting the compensation, what you have to do to get it, and what costs will go up that our compensation is supposed to cover.

Here are some answers.

If you have any questions or would like clarification on anything, please say so in the comments section and we’ll try and find out for you!

  1. Who’s getting compensation?

There is some money which the government is calling a Clean Energy Advance which will go to pensioners and others on income support, plus everyone who receives Family Tax Benefit part A and B.

This money will be paid as a lump sum and you should have received it already.

We always suggest you check the official government websites before determining your eligibility but the general rules are:

  • Family  Tax Benefit Part A is paid to families earning up to around $160,000 a year, depending on number of kids and their ages.
  • Family Tax Benefit Part B is limited to families (single parent or couple) where the primary earner earns up to about $150,000 a year and the secondary earner earns up to $25,000 a year

So what do I get?

  • Family Tax Benefit Part A recipients will receive up to $110 for each child.
  • Family Tax Benefit Part B recipients will receive up to $69 per family.
  • Single pensioners will receive up to $250.
  • Pensioner couples will receive up to $190 per eligible member.

These lump sum payments are designed to cover the first 9 months of the carbon price for pensioners and the first 12 months of the carbon price for families.

There will also be regular payments called the Clean Energy Supplement added to your regular payments.  Or added at the end if you receive your Family Tax Benefit as a lump sum.  These start from March next year for pensioners and from July next year for families.

It’s ridiculously hard to find out details about this supplement and rates on government websites that is in plain English, but if you want to find out more about your specific circumstances, there is a pretty good estimator here where you can enter your personal circumstances.

Note it says it takes about 15 minutes to fill out, but it only took me three. Maybe that’s working mum efficiency 🙂

  1. What do I have to do to get it?

Nothing.  Everyone eligible for these payments is already ‘in the system’ so the payments will be made to the bank account you’ve already provided the government.

Changes to your tax rate if you’re earning under $80,000 (more details here) should be made automatically by your employer.

  1. But what will the carbon tax cost in extra costs for power etc?

The estimator can give you specific details for your family, but for mine it reckons prices will go up around $20 a week.  Less if I can get Miss 3 to watch less Dora the Explorer and save on the power bill. Unfortunately there is no chance of that happening anytime soon…

There are some typical scenarios of different family types here if you don’t have time for the Estimator but want a general idea for your family type.

Other assistance details are available for:

Low income earners here

Single income families (where the income earner doesn’t get much of a tax cut) here

And some families may be eligible for an essential medical equipment payment and you can get more info here.

Check it out and let us know how you think you’ll go.

What will your costs be?

Do you think you’ll be worse off or better off?

Do you have more questions?

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?

Seven things that could save you thousands of dollars

Those of you with children at school might already know this. Super diligent and receipt-keeping parents will have already claimed the Education Tax Refund.

It’s been around a few years, so you’ll know that it means you can claim the cost of educating primary and secondary school children on your tax.

However, there are some new things you may not know.

This year, you can claim school uniforms for the first time as part of the Education Tax Refund.

Until July last year you could claim other expenses but not school uniforms. This means a lot more of your Back to School expenses are -for the first time – tax deductible.

We’ve written previously about back to school expenses here but for many families, this is big news.

However, it’s important to know that the Education Tax Refund is available only to anyone who receives Family Tax Benefit Part A.

Despite its rather natty name (umm, not), Family Tax Benefit Part A is a government payment which helps with the cost of raising children. If you receive it you probably know about it. If not, and your household income is below about $150,000, it’s worth finding out more about it here.

For starters, here’s a list of seven things we think you should know.

1. The Education Tax Refund means you can claim costs like computers (and maintenance), USB sticks,  textbooks and stationery.

2. You can even claim your home internet connection, but not if you are also claiming it as a work expense.

3. School fees, transport costs, sporting equipment and musical instruments cannot be claimed but trade tools can.

4. Carers, legal guardians and independent students can claim it too.

5. You need to have receipts for any expenses claimed.

6. You can get up to 50% of your costs back up to a maximum of $794 for each primary school child or $1,588 for each secondary school child – which means you can get back $397 and $794 respectively.

7. If you don’t need to do a tax return, there is a form you can fill out to claim.

You can get more details (and a lot more words!) on the official government website here.

So there you have it. Seven things that could save you thousands of dollars. What will you do with your money at tax time?