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States announce payroll tax exemption on JobKeeper payments

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
07 May 2020 1 minute readShare
payroll tax exemption

Businesses employing Queenslanders will not pay payroll tax on the government’s JobKeeper payments, the state has announced, following a similar move by the Victorian government earlier this week.

The Queensland government is the latest to announce a payroll tax exemption on JobKeeper payments, which is expected to put $360 million back into the accounts of the state’s businesses over the next six months.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad confirmed on Wednesday that administrative arrangements had been fast-tracked to ensure payroll tax assessments do not include JobKeeper payments.

“Exempting JobKeeper from payroll tax assessments at this time helps protect Queensland businesses and Queensland jobs,” Ms Trad said.

“Now it’s up to the federal government to help Queensland workers by exempting JobKeeper payments from income tax assessment.”

Victoria responds

Earlier this week, the Victorian government said it will provide a further $491 million in tax relief to help save businesses and jobs, and freeze a host of fees, charges and levies.

Treasurer Tim Pallas announced businesses participating in the JobKeeper scheme in Victoria will be exempt from payroll tax and the WorkCover premium on payments to their employees if their staff are currently stood down.

Moreover, Mr Pallas said payments above a part-time employee’s usual salary will also be included in this exemption, meaning businesses are not paying more to keep their staff on due to the scheme.

“These changes will help businesses, save jobs and reduce the burden on households hit hard by the coronavirus,” Mr Pallas said.

“This is money in the pocket of Victorian businesses doing it tough. We know these restrictions have been incredibly difficult — but staying apart has been essential in slowing the spread of the virus and saving lives.”

Other states 

South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT were among the first to exempt JobKeeper payments from payroll tax in April.

In NSW, however, businesses have the option to defer their payroll tax arrangements until October 2020, but they are still required to lodge the 2019–20 annual reconciliation by the due date. 

Similarly, businesses in the Northern Territory are given the option to defer payroll tax liabilities until 21 September, if they meet certain criteria including estimated total Australian taxable wages for 2019–20 of over $7.5 million and a reduction in turnover of at least 50 per cent compared to the corresponding month or quarter last year.

States announce payroll tax exemption on JobKeeper payments
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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