enzh-TW

Payroll tax

Payroll tax is a state tax on the wages paid by employers when the total wages exemption threshold is exceeded. Exemption thresholds vary between states. The definition of wages generally includes employer superannuation contributions and fringe benefits, although the definition also varies between states.

NOTE: Payroll tax is not the same as PAYG withholding tax collected by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). PAYG is the tax deducted from an employee's income and forwarded to the ATO.

The following organisations are generally exempt from payroll tax, provided specific qualifying conditions are met:

  • Religious institutions
  • Public benevolent institutions
  • Public or non-profit hospitals
  • Non-profit non-government schools
  • Charitable organisations

Land tax All landowners, except those in the Northern Territory, may be liable for land tax. In the Australian Capital Territory land tax is levied on lessees under a Crown lease, because land generally cannot be acquired under freehold title. Landowners are generally liable for land tax when the unimproved value of taxable land exceeds certain thresholds (excluding the ACT). In some states, deductions and rebates are available, depending on how the land is used. Principal places of residence are generally exempt from land tax, however this depends on particular qualifying criteria (these vary between jurisdictions). Land owned and used by the following types of organisations might be exempt from land tax:

  • Non-profit societies
  • Clubs and associations
  • Religious institutions
  • Public benevolent institutions
  • Charitable institutions

Stamp duty Stamp duty is levied on particular written documents and transactions, including:

  • Motor vehicle registrations and transfers
  • Insurance policies
  • Leases
  • Mortgages
  • Hire purchase agreements
  • Property transfers (e.g. transfer of businesses, real estate, and particular shares)

The stamp duty rate varies according to the type of transaction and its value. Depending on the nature of the transaction, certain concessions and exemptions may be available. State tax web sites Particular deductions and exemptions vary between states for all duties. For additional state-specific information, visit the applicable state web site: 

In addition to employees' salaries and wages, employers are required to pay superannuation contributions on behalf of all eligible employees. This compulsory contribution is called the superannuation guarantee. The definition of employee for this purpose includes certain contractors. The minimum contribution from 1 July 2014 is 9.5% of each eligible employee's earnings base (usually their ordinary time earnings) and must be paid within 28 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Employers must also provide employees with a choice of superannuation fund.

The minimum contribution rate will remain at 9.5% until 30 June 2018. After that date, the rate will increase by 0.5% each financial year until it reaches 12% from 1 July 2022.

Employers are generally required to pay superannuation contributions for employees if they are:

  • Over the age of 18 (no upper age limit applies)
  • Paid $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month.

If an employer fails to make the minimum contributions for a quarter by the due date, the employer is liable for the Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC). The SGC comprises the unpaid contributions calculated on a higher earnings base, plus an interest charge (which is credited to the employee's superannuation account) and an administration fee. The employer cannot claim an income tax deduction for the SGC.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) provides the following tools to help you understand and meet your obligations:

Taxpayers who do not meet their tax obligations may face penalty or interest charges. To avoid these charges, ensure you pay the full amount of tax you owe by the due date.

The main charges for failing to meet tax obligations are the:

  • General interest charge (GIC) - applies to a variety of situations, whenever amounts owing to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) are paid after the due date.
  • Shortfall interest charge (SIC) -  applies to a variety of situations where a tax liability is increased in an amended assessment
  • Failure to lodge on time penalty (FTL) - administrative penalty which may be applied if a taxpayer fails to lodge a return, statement, notice, or another document with the ATO by the due date.

Additional penalties include failing to:

  • Keep or retain required records
  • Retain or produce required declarations
  • Provide access and reasonable facilities to an authorised tax officer
  • Apply for or cancel GST registration when required
  • Issue a required tax invoice or adjustment note
  • Register as a PAYG withholder when required
  • Lodge a required activity statement electronically
  • Pay a required amount electronically

If a taxpayer is audited and an amended assessment is raised, further penalties of up to 75% of the additional tax levied may be applied, depending on the severity of the offence. Examples include making a false or misleading statement, not taking reasonable care, or taking a position that is not reasonably arguable in a tax return or other document.

Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) is a tax on wine levied at 29% of the taxable value of wine. The taxing point is the last wholesale sale, or a retail sale or application for own use (e.g. tastings) when there is no wholesale sale. The taxable value is the actual sale price (excluding WET and GST) for wholesale sales, or a notional equivalent value in the other situations.

WET affects wine manufacturers, wholesalers, and importers. Retailers do not have a WET liability unless they make their own wholesale wine. WET is paid as part of the entity's activity statement, the tax period is the same as the entity's tax period for GST (which may be monthly, quarterly or annually).

The Producer Rebate scheme entitles wine producers to a rebate of WET for up to $500,000 of domestic sales each financial year. There is a modified producer rebate scheme for New Zealand wine producers. Generally, WET is included in the price that retailers such as bottle shops and restaurants pay when purchasing wine. The retailer is not entitled to claim back the cost of the WET, as the WET is built into the price the retailer pays and then passed on to the consumer. WET applies to the following alcoholic beverages:

  • Grape wine (including sparkling and fortified wine, marsala, vermouth, wine cocktails, and creams)
  • Other fruit wines and vegetable wines (including fortified fruit and vegetable wines)
  • Cider and perry
  • Mead (including fortified mead) and sake
MORE: See the ATO web site for more information on Wine Equalisation Tax and for instructions on filling out the WET section of the Activity Statement.

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