The baby bonus is a payment from the ATO you may be entitled to if you had a baby or gained legal responsibility for a child aged under five, between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2004. The 2008/2009 tax return is the last tax return in which it can be claimed.
It is a refundable tax-offset for a maximum period of 5 years for only one eligible child per family. You may be able to transfer eligibility to your spouse.
If you keep the year before you started to have legal responsibility for the child as your base year and you make a claim each year, you will be entitled to a part-year payment in the year the child was born and the year the child turns five, and full-year payments for the four years in between.
If you choose the year that you started to have legal responsibility for the child as your base year and you make a claim each year, you will be entitled to full-year payments up to and including the year the child turns five. For an adoptive child the payment in the last year may not be a full-year payment.
How much baby bonus you get depends on your own taxable income each year. If your taxable income is $25,000 or less you will be entitled to a minimum annual amount of $500 in a full year.
If your taxable income is more than $25,000 in a claim year, you will only get the baby bonus if your taxable income has reduced when compared to your base year income. You may get up to $2,500 if there is a significant reduction in your taxable income.
The baby bonus was replaced by the ‘maternity payment’ from 1 July 2004. You may be entitled to the maternity payment if your baby was born on or after 1 July 2004.
The maternity payment is administered by the Family Assistance Office and just to confuse everyone they have renamed it the Baby Bonus. This payment has different rules, and is separate to the Tax Office Baby Bonus Tax Offset. Refer to the ‘Government Benefits’ section in the Main Menu of this website.
If you are already claiming the original baby bonus, you may continue to claim it until your child turns five.