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Schoolkids Bonus arrives in 2013 Here's what you need to know

Schoolkids Bonus arrives in 2013 Here's what you need to know

Author: bTa_vantage/Tuesday, October 2, 2012/Categories: Blog

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The federal government's assistance for families with schoolchildren will continue in a different form in 2013.

The old Education Tax Refund (ETR) was replaced in the 2012 budget by a new payment called the Schoolkids Bonus. It is ostensibly the same thing as the ETR – a payment to help families meet school expenses – however it works in a different way, and overall it represents a better deal for those parents who qualify.

We'll get to the detail in a minute, however the key things for clients to take away are:

  • The Schoolkids Bonus is a fixed amount – $410 for primary and $820 for secondary students – and you no longer need to claim it through your tax return
  • Qualifying parents should have received a one off 'transitional' payment of $419 in June 2012, as the system changes over from ETR to Schoolkids Bonus.

Schoolkids Bonus is an automatic payment

The good news for parents who qualify is the Schoolkids Bonus will be paid directly to your bank account twice per year, rather than you having to save receipts and claim expenses back through the tax system.

From 1 January 2013, eligible families will receive $410 for each child in primary school, and $820 for each child in secondary school. The payments will be made in two equal instalments in January and July, or in other words before the start of the first and third school terms.

Under the old ETR, the maximum allowable payments were $409 for primary and $818 for secondary students, so now everyone is effectively guaranteed the previous maximum.

As was the case for the ETR, eligibility for the Schoolkids Bonus is based on Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB), as well as receipt of some income support payments. If you claim FTB as a lump sum, you'll get the Schoolkids Bonus when you make your claim.

Did you get your transitional ETR payment?

In the change over from ETR to Schoolkids Bonus, the ETR for 2011-12 was paid out in full in June 2012. The government used 8 May as the qualifying date, so if you were eligible for the ETR on this date you should have received the lump-sum ETR payment into your bank account, between 20 and 29 June.

If you didn't receive this payment but believe you should have, you may still be eligible to receive it. If your child finished school at the end of 2011, for instance; or if you didn't specifically qualify for FTB on 8 May but did at another time during the financial year, you may well still be entitled to it. If this is the case we encourage you to contact Centrelink on 132 468.

As always, feel free to get in touch with bTa Vantage if you'd like further information on your entitlements.

Disclaimer: This information is generic in nature and provided on a discretionary basis only. You must always seek professional advice regarding its applicability to your own circumstance.

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