Shared Parenting: Who Gets What When It Comes to Family Tax Benefits?


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Family-Tax-Benefits-and-Shared-CareFamily Tax Benefit payments are provided by the government subject to eligibility criteria to assist families with the cost of raising children.

Not all families however come in the conventional in-tact form, and some confusion can arise as to how Family Tax Benefits are divided in some circumstances.

When two separated parents share care of the child for instance, which parent is eligible for what amount of Family Tax Benefit (FTB) payments becomes much more complicated.

How much you are entitled to is calculated on the percentage of time that you care for your child, but this can be difficult to determine.

How do I prove how often my child is in my care?

This is a lot easier when both parents agree on the amount of time the child has and will spend with each parent. When the two parents dispute how often they care for the child, the Department of Human Services will make the decision. 1 If this is the case, try to provide copies of any of the following items that may support your claim.

  • A copy of a Parenting Plan or Family Law Order which details the custody arrangement.
  • Written communication between you and the other parent, such as emails or text messages that mention days to pick up or drop off the children.
  • Regular attendance at activities with your child, such as a sporting event you attend every week, a pre-school program you take them to and from, or a regular play group.
  • Tickets for travel or events with your child
  • Statements from friends or relatives who can confirm that you have the child as often as you say you do.

How much can I receive?

Listed below is what you are entitled to depending on how often your child is in your care. The below list specifies time in nights per fortnight for ease of use, but it is actually the percentage of time that matters. The amount of FTB you may receive depends on the percentage of time the child is under your care, with key percentages being 14% (Regular Care), 35% (Shared Care) and 65% (Primary Care).

Shared care – 1 night or less per fortnight

If you care for your child less than 14% of the time, you will not be eligible to receive any FTB or associated benefits.

Shared care – Between 2 and 4 nights per fortnight

If you care for your child between 14% and 35% of the time, this is considered “regular care” and you are not eligible to receive the FTB2. However, you may be eligible for some of the benefits attached to FTB, such as rent assistance or a Health Care Card.3

Shared care – Between 5 and 9 nights per fortnight

Family tax benefits are allocated differently when each parent has the child between 35% and 65% of the time. If this is the case, this is “Shared Care” and the FTB can be split between the two parents.4

The Department of Human Services formula for working this out is listed below.5

  • If you can for the child between 35% and 48% of the time, you can receive 25%of the FTB with an additional 2% for every percentage over 35%. E.g. If you care for the child 40% of the time you are entitled to 25% + (5 x 2%), which is 35% of the FTB.
  • If you care for the child between 48% and 52% of the time, you may receive 50% of the FTB.
  • If you care for the child between 52% and 65% of the time, you may receive 51% of the FTB with an additional 2% for every percentage point over 53%. E.g. If you care for the child 55% of the time, you may receive 51% + (2 x 2%), which is 55% of the FTB.
Care of child What you may receive
Percentage of time Days per fortnight Percentage of FTB FTB-A per child per fortnight ***
35% 4.9 days 25% Up to $57.50
40% 5.6 days 35% Up to $80.51
45% 6.3 days 45% Up to $103.51
48-52% 6.7-7.3  days 50% Up to $115.01
55% 7.7 days 55% Up to $126.511
60% 8.4 days 65% Up to $149.51

*** This is based on the current maximum payment rate for Family Tax Benefit Part A of $230.02 per child per fortnight,6[i] and does not include other FTB payments or related benefits, such as Family Tax Benefit Part B, large family supplement or rent assistance.

Shared care – 10 nights or more per fortnight

If you are responsible for your child more than 65% of the time, this is considered “primary care” and youmay receive 100% of the FTB for which you are eligible. 7

Download Presentation (PPTX)

  1. Human Services Website – Your percentage of care affects your Child Support http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/child-support/child-support-assessment/your-percentage-of-care-affects-your-child-support.
  2. Human Services Website – Your percentage of care affects your Child Support http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/child-support/child-support-assessment/your-percentage-of-care-affects-your-child-support.
  3. Human Services Website – Your percentage of care affects your Child Support http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/child-support/child-support-assessment/your-percentage-of-care-affects-your-child-support.
  4. Human Services Website – Your percentage of care affects your Child Support http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/child-support/child-support-assessment/your-percentage-of-care-affects-your-child-support.
  5. Information Booklet about your claim for Family Assistancehttp://www.humanservices.gov.au/spw/customer/forms/resources/ci011-1407en.pdf.
  6. Human Services Website – Payment rates for Family Tax Benefit Part Ahttp://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/family-tax-benefit-part-a-part-b/ftb-a-payment-rates
  7. Human Services Website – Your percentage of care affects your Child Support http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/child-support/child-support-assessment/your-percentage-of-care-affects-your-child-support.
Susan Jayne

Susan Jayne

Online Legal Information Author at Family Law Express
Susan Jayne is currently in her fourth year of attaining degrees in both Law and Psychology. While volunteering at a Psychology Clinic throughout her university studies, she’s aspiring to find a career which utilises her new found knowledge in both of her chosen fields.
Susan Jayne
Categories: Family Tax Benefit Part A, Family Tax Benefit Part B, Family Tax Benefits, Shared Parenting, Substantial and Significant Time
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