by KIRSTEN ANDREWS
There are some things on your To-Do list that just aren’t sexy. However with the end of the financial year only a week away,, it’s well worth taking the time to check out deadlines and changes to government regulations, laws and policies – to find out whether any of them will cost or save you money.
Here are three things we recommend checking out this week. You won’t need to do them all but if you scan the list, it may save you something you can spend in the sales!
1. Consider whether you can afford to pay your health insurance a year in advance.
From July 1 2012, the private health insurance rebate will be income tested.
If you expect to earn more than $84,000 as a single or more than $168,000 as a family next financial year, your 30% rebate will be affected and could be reduced to 20%, 10% or nothing – depending on your income.
Most health insurers are allowing you to make a payment up to a year in advance, which allows you to avoid the price hike, so give them a call and work out if you can afford it.
Note that many health insurance companies are getting a lot of calls about this at the moment so if you’re not prepared to wait on hold, try calling early in the morning or later at night. More information is available here.
2. Make a donation to charity.
We all mean to and lots of us do so regularly. But many of us also don’t claim our donations back on our tax.
At this time of year, many charities are running specific campaigns to help you get a receipt just before you get your group certificate and head off to your accountant. Go here for a worthy cause that will give you a receipt right away.
3. If you’re a parent, check you are claiming all you can for child care help
Many parents assume they’re not eligible for ‘anything’ from the government to help with childcare costs but did you know that all mums who work or study more than 15 hours a week and use formal child care are eligible for some support? Not just those who earn below a certain level of income. Not just those who receive Family Tax Benefit. All of us.
If you had kids in care in between July 2009 and June 2010, you have only a few days to get your forms into the Family Assistance Office because you can get the money retrospectively but only for two years after the end of the financial year.
The Government estimates that as many as 100,000 families who are eligible for this support aren’t claiming this benefit.
Here’s the fine print.
The Child Care Rebate is not means tested. You have to be working, studying or training to qualify but you can get up to $7500 per child per year regardless of your income. Verification of this from a government website is here.
The other form of support, the Child Care Benefit is designed to help people who need the financial help most. This one is only available to families on incomes up to around $160,000. You can read more about this one here.
For both forms of benefit, long day care, family day care and outside school hours care and occasional care all qualify but any informal care (grandparents, nannies or babysitters) doesn’t.
You can get the form for both forms of support from the Family Assistance Office, located in Medicare offices.
What do you still need to do before the end of financial year? Have you got any money-saving tips you can share?