Non taxable amounts generally fall into three categories:
- exempt income
- non-assessable non-exempt income (“NANE”), and
- other non-taxable amounts which don’t affect your tax return.
For individuals see:
- Amounts not included as income 2022
- Amounts not included as income 2021
- Amounts not included as income 2020
- Amounts not included as income 2019
- Amounts not included as income 2018
Tax Treatment of Covid Relief Payments
State & Territory Covid-19 Support Payments
The government has legislated to provide that payments received in 2020-21 by businesses under the various COVID-19 recovery grant programs administered by States and Territories are treated as non assessable non-exempt income (NANE). See Treasury Laws Amendment (COVID-19 Economic Response) Bill 2021
The Treasury Laws Amendment (COVID-19 Economic Response No 2) Bill 2021 includes measures:
- Schedule 3 to the Bill enables 2021-22 Commonwealth Covid-19 program support payments to small businesses and businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million to be not taxable (NANE).
- Schedule 5 to the Bill makes Commonwealth COVID-19 disaster payments paid to individuals not subject to income tax (NANE). This covers payments to individuals that live or work in hotspot areas and have had their income affected by COVID-19 restrictions, and applies retrospectively from the 2020-21 year.
In general, expenditure incurred incurred in order to secure a non-taxable grant is not deductible. Expenditure with more than one purpose should be apportioned on a fair and reasonable basis, a record should be kept of the calculations. See further at Government grants and payments during COVID-19
|Government Payment||Tax treatment|
|Robodebt class action settlements||Not taxable or required to report|
|JobKeeper||Assessable income, no GST|
|Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments||Assessable income **|
|Employment payments||Normal tax tax treatment (salary, leave, redundancy etc)|
|Cash Flow Boost||Exempt|
|Unit Trust distributes Cash Flow Boost||Not taxable but CGT event E4 (cost base attribution)|
|Company distributes Cash Flow Boost (dividend)||Taxable as a dividend|
|Pandemic leave disaster payment to individuals||Assessable income, no GST|
|(Covid-based) Early release of super||Tax free|
|Child Care Transition Payment (paid to providers)||Assessable income, GST free supply|
|Creative Economy Support – grant||Assessable income, no GST|
|Creative Economy Support – concessional loan||Not assessable. Interest/deductions accounted for in the normal way|
|Consumer Travel Support grant||Assessable income, no GST|
|Vic & NSW Government business support grants||Non assessable non-exempt income (NANE), no GST|
|State Govt Voucher Subsidies||Assessable income, and GST accountable|
** Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments are assessable income but will NOT be included in the Centrelink payment summary, nor will it be prefilled in your income tax return. Tax return instructions are set out here.
Human Services Emergency Payments
The following payments are taxable:
- Disaster Recovery Allowance
- Disaster Recovery Allowance Top-up
- New Zealand Disaster Recovery Allowance
- Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.
The following payments are not taxable:
- Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment
- Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment – Special Supplement for a natural disaster
- Australian Victim of Terrorism Overseas Payment
- COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
See detailed information at servicesaustralia.gov.au
See also at ato.gov.au: Government grants and payments during COVID-19
For more information, see What to exclude from your business’s assessable income.
Redress Scheme Payments For NT & ACT Stolen Generations
Redress payments made to individuals under the Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme are exempt from tax and won’t affect eligibility for other Commonwealth payments and benefits. Legislation applies from 2021-22.
Disaster Relief Payments
[update 20 September 2020]
Most one-time and emergency disaster relief payments are exempt, or may become so after specific government action to declare them as such.
Some exempt payments may still need to be declared, although non-taxable.
Payments to volunteer firefighters, assistance provided by charities and employers are exempt from tax.
For more information, see Disaster assistance payments and your tax
[Update 6 February 2020]
Legislation has been passed to make disaster relief payments being made to individuals and businesses impacted by the devastating bushfires tax exempt.
- Disaster Recovery Allowance payments made to individuals; and
- Payments to small businesses and primary producers that would otherwise have been taxable
National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse
Taxation Determination TD 2018/16 – payments are not assessable or subject to capital gains tax. The determination applies from 1 July 2018.
Stolen Generation Compensation
Stolen Generation lump sums payments made by the various states and territories are not taxable income and do not need to be disclosed in a tax return. See here and further TR 95/35, CR 2016/86
Defence Force Overseas Projects
Information regarding the tax position of ADF personnel deployed overseas (including overseas forces tax offset) and the special tax treatment of income received in connection with a joint space and defence project.
See Australian Defence Forces overseas service
See Foreign income exemption for temporary residents.
- What to include in your business’s assessable income
- Low income tax offset
- Medicare levy income thresholds
Because of the complexity of rules determining taxability of income, and potentially high penalties for getting things wrong, qualified advice is always recommended. Some items may be partially taxable. For Tax Office guidance call 132861.
This page was last modified 2022-07-14