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Assessment of Non-Sugarcane Farm Income


Last amended: 18 August 2014

Assess actual income not deemed income



In the assessment of non-sugarcane farm income for the sugarcane farmers' income test, deemed income is not calculated on financial assets. Income from financial assets is assessed using the actual income amount received, as disclosed on the income tax return.

Actual income relating to financial assets

The table below sets out the income that should be assessed for various forms of financial assets.

Financial asset

Income to be assessed

Bank accounts, cash deposits, debentures, loans etc.

Interest paid

Shares and managed investments

Dividends or distributions paid plus capital gains

Imputation credits and foreign tax credits


Annuities and other income streams

Net taxable income as shown on tax return

Disposal of income and assets

If the sugarcane farmer or their partner has disposed of any assets during the three years prior to divestment, no income is assessed under the sugarcane farmers' income test, as no actual return would be received. As with other financial assets, deeming provisions do not apply to gifted assets. If the person qualifies for a pension or allowance under RASF, assessment of gifts under the deprivation provisions will apply in determining the rate of pension payable. Disposal of income is included in the sugarcane farmers' income test.

Payments not assessed as income



The following payments will not be assessed as income:

  • income support payments including Family Tax Benefit
  • Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY
  • payments made under the Farm Household Support Act 1992 (repealed 2014)
  • payments made under the VEA
  • eligible termination payments.
Assessment of all other income

All other non-sugarcane farm income normally assessable under the income test will be taken into account under the sugarcane farmers' income test. Under the test, non-farm profits cannot be offset by non-farm losses.    

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According to section 5J(1) of the VEA a financial asset means;


In 1990 the government introduced legislative changes called “deeming” to simplify the assessment of cash deposits and income from certain investments. These changes were made:

  • in response to pensioner concerns about complex income and assets test rules;
  • to encourage pensioners to maximise their private income.

Deemed income is the minimum rate that the government expects income support pensioners to earn from investments.

Banks created “pensioner accounts” which paid interest at the deeming rate set by the government.

On 1 July 1996 further changes meant the deeming rate was applied to all financial assets as defined in section 5J(1) of the VEA.



According to section 5H of the VEA income is:

  • an amount earned, derived or received by a person for the person's own use or benefit;
  • a periodical payment by way of gift or allowance; or
  • a periodical benefit by way of gift or allowance.



Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.