Payroll tax changes will help in reducing costs for businesses: NSW government

DISINCENTIVE TO EMPLOYMENT: Western NSW Business Chamber regional manager, Vicki Seccombe, said payroll tax serves as a disincentive to employing more people. Photo: FILE
DISINCENTIVE TO EMPLOYMENT: Western NSW Business Chamber regional manager, Vicki Seccombe, said payroll tax serves as a disincentive to employing more people. Photo: FILE

Small businesses in the Central West are unhappy with the recent payroll tax reforms announced by the NSW government.

The NSW government, which has decided to implement all 12 recommendations of the NSW Productivity Commission, said small businesses with a payroll tax liability under $20,000 will have the option of paying their taxes once a year from July 2019.

Currently, all businesses are required to file monthly returns and make monthly payments. 

Businesses with tax liabilities under $150,000 have also been given the option of filing one annual return and making pre-set monthly installment payments, based on their previous year’s liability.

The NSW government believes that these two steps will help businesses save about $10 million per year and an average of about 16 hours work each year by 2020-21. 

Bathurst Business Chamber president Angus Edwards said the changes will not make much difference to small businesses in the region.

“Businesses want payroll tax to be reduced or removed,” Mr Edwards said.

“We see the payroll tax as a disincentive to businesses employing more staff.

“It is simply tinkering around the edges and not addressing the main issue, which is reducing the threshold of payroll tax. Small businesses are being asked to pay a tax whenever they employ a new staff,” he said.

Western NSW Business Chamber regional manager, Vicki Seccombe, said the change is a step in the right direction for reducing red tape for businesses and their associated administration costs, but it’s definitely not going to help all businesses in the region.

“Payroll tax is a tax on jobs and job creation. It serves as a disincentive to employ more people,” Ms Seccombe said. 

“The chamber has been advocating for changes to this tax and the payroll tax threshold should be lifted, so we were pleased in June this year to see changes announced that included the payroll tax threshold lift to $850,000 in the first year, and then by $50,000 per year for the next three years.”

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NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the time and resources taken up to calculate and pay payroll tax are itself a tax on productivity. 

“We are reducing the costs and making compliance easier giving businesses more time and money that can be reinvested back into their business and the people working in them,” Mr Perrottet said. 

Reforms announced by the NSW government:

  • From July 2019, around 11,000 small businesses with a payroll tax liability under $20,000 will have the option of paying their payroll tax just once a year, with a single annual return 
  • From mid-2019, businesses which become payroll tax compliant within three months of being notified will receive a 50 per cent reduction in their penalty, saving businesses around $400,000 in total each year 
  • Businesses will also be given an extra week to complete their annual reconciliation requirements, starting with this financial year.
  • Firms with payroll greater than $1 million will also save up to $13,625 in tax annually from 2021-22
This story Don’t want payroll taxes, Central West businesses unhappy with reforms first appeared on Western Advocate.