The Australian government offers a 30 percent tax rebate on childcare expenditures. Suppose you sent your child to childcare on the 30th July 2004. All you have to do to receive your 30 percent is to earn money in 2004 and 2005 (I think), make sure that day was registered for another scheme that offered some money back on childcare, make sure your centre was registered for it, do your tax return for 2004-2005 but be careful not to think that that has anything to do with the rebate, wait one year (or so), do your tax return for 2005-2006 being careful to have stored your receipts and proof of registration (for the other government scheme) , send your tax return in with a claim for the rebate, have it sent back because in fact it is your spouses’ name on the registration (for the other government scheme), do your spouses tax return again, then wait and you receive a rebate (but not for everything) because it turns out that the registration for the other government scheme had some other issues that I will spare you. The good news is that in two years time when you claim for childcare in 2005-2006, you might know what to do unless someone changes something somewhere.
Somehow despite the glaring vote winning nature of this government scheme, the Labor opposition believes that they can win voters by giving the rebate on the spot without its current tight integration with our tax system and the 17 other rebates for childcare. This is clearly a political fallacy as it is difficult to imagine that they lost any votes when the government put in this scheme in the first place. Indeed, just leaving people to work out what the current scheme would be would surely be enough to win power.
Of course, a little more seriously, how about some big rationalisation that recognises that lots of rebates the government offers are family based and so (a) either they should come through providers; or (b) we should have options of family-based tax returns.