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Employers told to brace for change as implementation of tax cuts begins

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
12 October 2020 2 minute readShare
Tax cuts

The ATO anticipates it will have updated the tax withholding schedules by the end of this week, following which employers will be tasked with making adjustments in their payroll processes and systems to reflect the tax cuts legislated on Friday.

After the government’s stage 2 tax cuts breezed through Parliament on Friday, the ATO has confirmed the updated tax withholding schedules will be ready within days and assured businesses it stands ready to help support them through this change.

Once the tax withholding schedules have been updated and published, employers will then need to adjust their payroll processes and systems so that their employees’ take-home pay matches up with their new tax bracket. 


The Tax Office noted that the complexity of implementing these adjustments may be different for each employer.

“This means that some people may notice the tax cuts reflected in their take-home pay within a few days or weeks, while for others it may be longer,” the ATO said.


“Any ‘over-withholding’ that occurred prior to the employer updating their payroll software and processes will be included in the tax assessment of the employee at the end of the income year.”

The ATO earlier confirmed that excess tax workers paid from 1 July will be included in their tax assessment at the end of the 2020 financial year.

“The adjustments to the withholding schedules are designed to ensure that taxpayers have the correct amount of tax withheld from their pay going forward,” it said.

“It is not possible for the ATO to determine the extent of ‘over-withholding’ that may have occurred for each and every taxpayer as this is highly dependent on individual circumstances and will be different for everyone.”



Last week, the Institute of Public Accountants warned that the retrospective component of the tax cuts may not translate into ringing cash register sales as soon as the Treasury expected.

“The ATO is unable to retrospectively deal with the PAYG overpaid for the first quarter of the financial year. Therefore, many salary and wage earners may not get the ‘backpay’ for the months of July, August and September as instantly as first thought,” said IPA chief executive Andrew Conway.

“If you take someone who was going to receive the maximum benefit of $2,564, one quarter of this amount, i.e. $641, has already accrued and will not be immediately available to stimulate the economy as intended.”

The Treasury’s ideal scenario, Mr Conway pointed out, is that this money would be out in the economy as soon as possible. 

“We had hoped that Single Touch Payroll may have allowed for the flexibility to deliver the desired outcome. However, this does not seem to be the case,” Mr Conway said.

“However, all is not lost. Taxpayers earning income outside of wages and salaries can immediately take advantage of stage 2 tax cuts by varying down their quarterly instalment in the September BAS which is due on 28 October 2020. Small-business entrepreneurs are mostly unincorporated entities and therefore are also beneficiaries of the stage 2 tax cuts.”

Employers told to brace for change as implementation of tax cuts begins
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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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