COVID-19: Does EOFY mean the end of your payroll tax waiver?


The COVID-19 pandemic means this end of financial year is far from usual. But, as well as getting your regular ducks in a row, this June 30 also brings changes to some coronavirus stimulus support measures. Specifically, for many, it means the end of payroll tax exemption.

As it became clear COVID-19 was going to have a serious effect on businesses, each state and territory government implemented their own stimulus packages, adding to the measures provided by the federal government.

Most of these packages included payroll tax waivers, and most of those are set to expire next week.

New South Wales waived payroll tax until the end of the financial year, for businesses with payroll of up to $10 million. As of July 1, all businesses will have the option of deferring their payments until October 2020.

The tax-free threshold for payroll tax is also increasing to $1 million in New South Wales from July 1, 2020.

Businesses in Victoria with payroll of less than $3 million were eligible for a full tax refund for the 2019-20 financial year. As of July 1, they will be liable for the tax, but payments for the first three months of the new financial year can be deferred until January 2021.

In Western Australia, for businesses with payroll of less than $7.5 million, payroll tax has been waived for the four months leading up to EOFY. As of July 1, there is currently no deferral scheme in place, but the tax-free threshold will increase to $1 million.

The Tasmanian government waived payroll tax for businesses with annual wage bills of up to $5 million, and for some businesses in the hospitality, tourism and seafood industries, for the full 2019-20 financial year. As it stands, it doesn’t look like there are any ongoing deferral measures.

However, there are also longer-term waivers for youth employees, apprenticeships and trainees.

In Queensland, employers that paid less than $6.5 million in taxable wages were eligible to apply for a refund of two months’ payroll tax, a three-month holiday. or a deferral for the 2020 calendar year. The expiry date for these depends on when the individual business applied, so there may be no direct link to EOFY. But, it’s as good a time as any to double check for when that support might run out.

Elsewhere, the payroll tax waiver in the Australian Capital Territory is in play until September, and 2020-21 payments can be deferred until July 1, 2022. The Northern Territory and South Australia waivers are also applicable for six months.

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