Lodgment of returns

Monthly returns and annual reconciliation

ACT monthly tax returns and payments (July – Nov, Jan - May) are due by the 7th day of the following month.  The December return is due by the 14th day of the following month to allow for Christmas/New Year shutdown period.  When the due date falls on a weekend or a public holiday, the lodgment and payment due date becomes the next working day. There is no separate monthly return form for June.  June wages are to be included in the annual reconciliation return. 

The annual reconciliation return must be lodged with the ACT Revenue Office by 21 July of the same year.  Any additional tax calculated in the annual reconciliation return must be paid by 21 July of the same year.  Once an annual reconciliation return has been lodged and processed, employers will be issued with an annual payroll tax assessment notice.  This notice will identify any underpaid tax liability, or refund entitlement of any overpaid amount.

Even though a number of employers may be grouped for payroll tax purposes, each employer must register separately.  Each employer is required to lodge separate returns except where the return is covered under an approved joint return lodgment.

Online lodgment and payment of tax

Monthly returns and the Annual Reconciliation return must be lodged using the Online Payroll Tax Return Form.  The online form provides customised tax calculations based on employer status.  A guideline for using this form is also provided.  In the annual reconciliation return, the tax-free threshold is auto-adjusted based on the period the employer was liable to pay or paid taxable wages or interstate wages in the return year.

Once an online Payroll Tax Return is submitted, payment details are displayed in the copy of the submission.  Payments can be made separately either by EFT or BPAY.  

Designated Group Employer

ACT employers that are members of a business group may nominate a Designated Group Employer (DGE).  Only the DGE will be able to claim the ACT payroll tax free threshold amount.  If the DGE wishes to claim the ACT tax free threshold in any monthly return or annual reconciliation return, it will have to provide both its ACT wages paid together with the group's entire Australia-wide wages (including wages paid in the ACT).  A business group may nominate a DGE if:

  • The group member being nominated as the DGE has paid (or is likely to have paid) Australia-wide wages in excess of $2,000,000 during the financial year,  or;
  • No individual member of the group has paid (or is likely to have paid) Australia-wide wages in excess of $2,000,000 but the sum of the Australia-wide wages paid by all members of the group exceeds $2,000,000.

If an employer is a member of a group and is not the DGE, it cannot claim any tax free threshold entitlement and the amount of payroll tax is calculated at the flat rate of 6.85% of its ACT wages.

To make an application to nominate a DGE use the Application to nominate a Designated Group Employer (DGE) or a Joint Return Lodger (JRL) for ACT Payroll Tax (external site).

Joint return lodger

A Designated Group Employer (DGE) may apply to the Commissioner to lodge a joint return covering stated members of the group.  Once approved, the DGE must lodge a single return on behalf of all stated members of the group including itself.  Consolidated ACT wages must be declared in each return together with the Australia-wide wages paid by all group members.

To nominate a Designated Group Employer as a Joint Return Lodger use the Application to nominate a Designated Group Employer (DGE) or a Joint Return Lodger (JRL) for ACT Payroll Tax (external site).

Variation of lodgment period

An employer may apply to the Commissioner for a variation of the period, or the time within which, the employer is to lodge payroll tax returns.  An application must be in writing, addressed to the Commissioner and specify the grounds on which the variation is sought.  The Commissioner will consider applications to lodge annual payroll tax returns by employers who anticipate that their annual ACT payroll tax liability will be $6,000 or less or where their circumstances justify lodgment on this basis.  Further details on this threshold and the application process can be found in DI2014-245.

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