Simplified Income Reporting coming in December 2020

24 July 2020

The Australian Government is improving and simplifying the way that employment income is reported and assessed for social security purposes. These changes will make reporting easier for payment recipients, meaning people will receive the right amount of income support and be less likely to incur a debt.

The Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Report and other Measures) Act 2020 (the Act) passed Parliament on 2 March 2020 receiving Royal Assent on 6 March 2020.

The Act was due to commence on 1 July 2020. However, to respond to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian Government passed the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 on 23 March 2020. This Act contained amendments to the Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures Act 2020 to defer implementation for up to 12 months, to commence either by Government proclamation or on 1 July 2021.

The Governor-General made the proclamation on 23 July 2020 setting a commencement of 7 December 2020.

In the coming months, Services Australia will conduct communication activities to advise customers of the changes.

Background

Currently, payment recipients must make a calculation to report their, or their partner’s, earnings based on the number and value of shifts they have worked. This may be different to what they have actually been paid.

Under this change, people will be able to refer to their or their partner’s payslip in order to report their gross employment income to Centrelink. This will make reporting easier so that people get the right amount of payment.

The Australian Taxation Office will provide Centrelink with Single Touch Payroll data, where an individual has been established as a mutual client. This information will be used to assist people to report their employment income. Most of these changes will start in December 2020 but there are some small changes happening earlier than this.

From mid September 2020, the data will be used to pre-fill payment recipients’ employer information.  As employers progressively start reporting the Single Touch Payroll expanded dataset over time, recipients will start to see their income also pre-filled through their usual reporting channel. People will still be responsible for reporting their income and making sure the information is correct. They will have the ability to review, update or add additional employment details before finalising their report to Centrelink.

This change will affect anyone who has to report their employment income for social security purposes, including partners of payment recipients. Affected payments include:

  • ABSTUDY
  • Age Pension
  • Austudy
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Jobseeker Payment
  • Partner Allowance
  • Parenting Payment (single and partnered)
  • Special Benefit
  • Status Resolution Support Services
  • Widow Allowance
  • Youth Allowance.

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