The Payroll Tax Relief (COVID-19 Response) Act passed through Parliament in April 2020, giving around 10,700 small businesses a four-month payroll tax waiver as well as payroll tax exemptions for payments made under the Commonwealth government’s JobKeeper scheme.
The act includes powers that would allow other payroll tax measures to be introduced as part of COVID-19 relief measures.
The bill preserves the regulation-making powers in the event other payroll relief tax measures are required after 20 April 2021.
WA Finance Minister Ben Wyatt said he introduced the legislation to extend the powers to give enough time to put the bill through Parliament ahead of the WA state election in March 2021.
Current laws giving the government power to introduce payroll tax support measures to respond to economic impacts of COVID-19 expire on 21 April 2021.
“The bill introduced today will allow the government to continue this support, as required, into the future. It is vital that this bill is passed so additional payroll tax support can be provided to WA small businesses, if it is needed,” WA Finance Minister Ben Wyatt said.
“If this is delayed until after the election, it may well result in businesses missing out on the cash flow benefits that future payroll tax relief could bring.”
The announcement comes after the Western Australian government posted a budget surplus of $1.7 billion at the end of the 2019–20 financial year and the economy grew by 1.1 per cent.
The government has projected an operating surplus of $1.2 billion for the 2020–21 financial year, notwithstanding the initiatives announced in the 2020–21 budget.