Non-taxable bonuses for the elderly

THERE are two one-off non-taxable bonuses this year for older Australians with lower incomes, to help them maintain the value of their savings and retirement incomes and to compensate for the effects of the GST.

They are the Aged Persons Savings Bonus (up to $1000) and Self Funded Retirees Supplementary Bonus (up to $2000).

Both bonuses are calculated on a dollar for dollar basis on savings and retirement income and total annual retirement income. For couples, each member is treated separately and the partner’s income will not affect the other’s bonuses.

Both bonuses are subject to the same income test. Annual income below $20,000 will not affect the bonuses. Above that level, the bonus is phased out until it is eliminated at income of $30,000.

Taxpayers can nominate either the 1998-99 or 99-00 taxable income as the relevant threshold. If there is no nomination, the ATO will select the lower taxable income between those years.

For people not lodging tax returns, Centrelink will use the same means of assessment as they do for pensions.

Centrelink and DVA will have sent forms to clients thought eligible for the bonus who did not lodge a tax return for 98/99 or will not be lodging a tax return for 99/00.

Other taxpayers will receive a claim form from the ATO. The bonus will then be paid when the person lodges the claim form and their 99/00 tax return.

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