The Child Care Rebate (CCR) is a payment from the Government that helps working families with the cost of child care.
If you use approved child care for work, training or study-related purposes the Government covers 50 per cent of your out-of-pocket costs up to $7500 per child per year. Out-of-pocket expenses are total child care costs minus any Child Care Benefit you receive.
Currently the CCR is not means tested, which means you can receive it no matter how much you earn as long as you meet the eligibility criteria (see below).
In the 2010 Federal Budget it was announced that the CCR will change in 2012. For more information on these changes click here.
What is the Child Care Rebate and how has it changed?
When it was first introduced the CCR was delivered as a tax offset which reduced a family's taxable income in the following financial year.
Now, the CCR is paid directly into the bank account of eligible families (see below).
Am I eligible to claim the CCR?
To claim the CCR you must:
- Be eligible to receive the Child Care Benefit even if you don't actually receive any. (For more information see below).
- Meet the Child Care Benefit work/study/training test
- Use approved child care. Approved child care is formal child care, such as long day care, family day care, in-home care, outside school hours care and vacation care.
Families who use registered care are not eligible to receive the CCR. Your child care provider can tell you if they are approved, or you can check with the Department of Human Services on 13 61 50.
The CCR is not means tested and all families who are eligible to receive the Child Care Benefit will receive the CCR.
The Australian Government's Child Care Estimator can help you determine your eligibility and how much assistance you can expect to receive.
CCR eligibility after changes to Child Care Benefit levels
As long as you continue to meet the basic eligibility criteria for receiving the Child Care Benefit you will receive the CCR, regardless of your family's income.
Click here for further information on the eligibility criteria required to receive the Child Care Benefit.
If you are unsure whether you are eligible for either the CCR or Child Care Benefit you should contact Department of Human Services to confirm your eligibility.
How and when will my CCR be paid?
There are four ways to receive your CCR:
- Direct to your approved child care service paid fortnightly
- Direct to your bank account paid fortnightly
- Quarterly payment to your bank account
- Annual payment to your bank account.
From July 2011 you have the option to receive your CCR paid fortnightly either to your child care service provider or your bank account. The frequency of the fortnightly payment depends on how frequently your child care service provider submits your child care attendance records. For some families this will mean a fortnightly payment but for others it will actually be paid weekly.
Where you are receiving the higher than zero rate of Child Care Benefit and you choose the CCR fortnightly payment option, the Department of Human Services will withhold 15 per cent of the payment to ensure that you do not accumulate a debt or overpayment within a financial year. The balance of these funds withheld will be reconciled at the end of the financial year (when your tax returns have been lodged and all your child care attendance information has been received). Any outstanding amounts will be paid as a direct payment to your bank account.
Where your Child Care Benefit entitlement is zero you will receive your full 50 per cent CCR as a fortnightly payment up to the annual cap. As you do not receive Child Care Benefit during the year, there is no risk of a debt after the end of the financial year reconciliation process.
The CCR will be paid quarterly once the Department of Human Services has received your child care attendance details from your approved child care service. Quarterly payments will be paid to you automatically if you receive your Child Care Benefit as reduced fees, at the zero rate, or more than the zero rate unless you nominate to receive fortnightly payments.
The CCR is based on your Child Care Benefit entitlement. If you choose to claim Child Care Benefit as a lump sum payment, you will not receive your CCR entitlement until the end of that year, once your Child Care Benefit entitlement has been determined.
If you (or your partner if you have one) are not required to lodge a tax return you need to advise the Department of Human Services so that your CCR payment (if you're eligible) can still be processed.
Visit the Department of Human Services website.