Balancing Child Care Subsidy

Families must confirm their income each financial year to ensure they are paid the right amount of Child Care Subsidy (CCS). This is called ‘balancing’ or ‘reconciliation’.

Balancing is underway for the 2018–19 and 2019–20 financial years.

On this page:

What is balancing?

Before a financial year starts, families tell Services Australia what they think they’ll earn that year.

This is called an income estimate. We use this estimate to work out how much CCS to pay families. Families can update their estimate at any time during the year if their circumstances change.

After the end of the financial year, families need to confirm what they actually earned that year.

This is known as balancing, and it is how we ensure we paid families the correct amount of CCS.

For each financial year, there are two deadlines for confirming income:

First deadline

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, they’ll lose their CCS and have to pay full fees for child care.

Second deadline

Families who still haven’t confirmed their income two years after a financial year ends will have to repay any CCS they received for that financial year and they will no longer be eligible for CCS.

Families who meet the first deadline don’t need to worry about the second one.

How do families confirm their income?

Families confirm their income by:

If a parent separates from their partner/s, Services Australia will also need their ex-partner's income.

If a parent is concerned that their ex-partner/s won’t lodge their tax return by the deadline they should call the Families line.

When are the next deadlines?

2018–19 financial year

First deadline

Most families confirmed their 2018–19 income before the first deadline on 31 March 2021.

Any families who missed the first deadline will have lost their CCS from 5 April 2021.

Services Australia can start their CCS again if they confirm their income before the 30 June 2021.

Payments will restart the first CCS Monday after their income is confirmed.

Second deadline

Families who missed the first deadline must confirm their 2018–19 income by the second deadline on 30 June 2021.

If they don’t, they may need to pay back all the CCS they got in 2018–19.

They will also lose their CCS eligibility from 12 July 2021.

You will need to direct families to make a new claim if they wish to get a reduced fee again.

Families can only claim CCS entitlements again once they have confirmed their income and:

  • repaid any current or previous CCS or Child Care Benefit debt, or
  • entered into a repayment arrangement.

2019–20 financial year

First deadline

Families must confirm their 2019–20 income before the first deadline on 30 June 2021.

If they don’t their CCS will stop. This means they’ll need to pay full fees when they use child care.

Services Australia will be able to start it again but only after families have confirmed their income. This means families may miss out on CCS they may have otherwise got.

Second deadline

Any families who still haven’t confirmed their income by the second deadline on 30 June 2022 may need to pay back all the CCS they got for 2019–20.

Families’ CCS eligibility will also stop from the first CCS fortnight of the 2022-23 financial year.

You will need to direct families to make a new claim if they wish to get a reduced fee again.

Families can only claim CCS entitlements again once they have confirmed their income and:

  • repaid any current or previous CCS or Child Care Benefit debt, or
  • entered into a repayment arrangement.

2021-22 family income estimate

Services Australia uses a family’s income estimate to work out how much Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Subsidy a family gets. It’s important families provide, therefore, an accurate as possible family income estimate for 2021-22. 

Services Australia sends letters to 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 income information from the current year, and may adjust it.

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 give a new estimate using either:

What is withholding?

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.

Learn more about withholding CCS

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.

Session reports

The Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS) has closed for the 2019–20 financial year.

If you need to submit, vary or withdraw session reports for any period between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020, you’ll need to apply.

Learn more about amending session reports from a previous financial year

Resources

Share these resources with families.

Resource You can…
Information sheet – CCS Balancing distribute this article to families who attend your service.
Self-print poster – Family Update display this poster at your service.
Video – Balancing CCS share this video with families who attend your service.