Payroll tax

Information and FAQ's

Have there been any changes to your employer status or group structure? Did you know that declaring the wrong grouping or employers status on your next payroll tax return may result in an incorrect calculation of your payroll tax liability? Please read below for further information.

Your employer status is related to your grouping structure declared for payroll tax return purposes. As a starting point to gauge whether you may be grouped for payroll tax – click on the questionnaire or refer to some of the FAQ's below.

Are you registered for payroll tax in the ACT?
Independent employer (non-group member) lodging for himself/herself/itself

Is a person (including any other entity that the law recognises as a person, such as a corporation) who pays taxable wages  in the ACT, but is not a member of a group under any of the grouping provisions in the Payroll Tax Act 2011 (the Act).

Member of a group lodging for herself/himself/itself

Is a person (including any other entity that the law recognises as a person, such as a corporation) who pays taxable wages  in the ACT and who is a member of a group under any of the grouping provisions in the Act. However, this person is not entitled to claim the ACT tax-free threshold.

Designated group employer (DGE) for a group and lodging a return for herself/himself/itself

Is a person (including any other entity that the law recognises as a person, such as a corporation) who:

  • is a qualified member  of a group who is designated by the members of the group to be the designated group employer for the group for the Act, provided the designation is approved by the Commissioner for ACT Revenue; or
  • where there is no qualified member of the group, a member of the group who is designated by the members of the group to be the designated group employer for the group for the Act, provided the designation is approved by the Commissioner for ACT Revenue; or
  • if the members of a group do not designate a member as the designated group employer within 7 days after the end of the month that the group is established, the member of the group that the Commissioner ACT Revenue designates as the designated group employer.

    The DGE of a group is the only member of the group who can claim the ACT tax-free threshold under the Act. Where the DGE has lodged a payroll tax return for herself/himself/itself, all other group members must also lodge their own returns.
Designated group employer (DGE) and lodging a joint return for herself/himself/itself and other group members

is a person (including any other entity that the law recognises as a person, such as a corporation) who:

  • is a qualified member of a group who is designated by the members of the group to be the designated group employer for the group for the Act, provided the designation is approved by the Commissioner for ACT Revenue; or
  • where there is no qualified member of the group, a member of the group who is designated by the members of the group to be the designated group employer for the group for the Act, provided the designation is approved by the Commissioner for ACT Revenue; or
  • if the members of a group do not designate a member as the designated group employer within 7 days after the end of the month that the group is established, the member of the group that the Commissioner ACT Revenue designates as the designated group employer.


    The DGE may, with the Commissioner for ACT Revenue’s approval, lodge a joint return covering stated members of the group. Where the DGE lodges a joint return, the other members of the group stated in the joint return are not required to lodge their own payroll tax returns.

The Payroll Tax Act 2011 provides how a ‘group’ is made up for the purposes of assessing an employer’s liability for payroll tax. Under these grouping provisions, two or more employers may constitute a group if, for example:

  • they are related bodies corporate within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (this is commonly known as a holding and subsidiary relationship);
  • they use a common set of employees;
  • they each have a controlling interest in a number of businesses;
  • one employer has a controlling interest in another employer (being a corporation);an employer is a member of two or more groups,  the members of all the groups together make up a  group.

For further information on grouping of employers please refer to the Payroll Tax Act 2011 on our resources page.

Any employer whose total taxable wages (including those paid or payable outside the ACT) exceeds the tax free threshold, or who is a member of a group whose total taxable wages (including those paid or payable outside the ACT) exceeds the tax free threshold must apply for registration as an employer under the Payroll Tax Act 2011. Employers applying to be registered are required to provide important information about their employer status, business activity and group structure, and to declare that the information provided is correct, accurate, up to date and not false or misleading.

It is important that you declare the correct employer status, business activity and group structure (Incorrectly declaring your employer status or business activity or group structure may result in your business over-paying or under-paying its payroll tax liability. This may trigger an investigation by the Commissioner for ACT Revenue, which could result in penalty tax and interest charges being imposed on you. Providing false or misleading information on your application is also a serious offence under the Criminal Code 2002.

If there have been changes to your group structure or employer status you need to notify the Commissioner for ACT Revenue immediately. This will ensure that the required changes are made to our records and you are provided with any additional information relevant to you, which may include changes to your payroll tax liability.

You can advise the ACT Revenue Office of any changes by:

If your business involves trusts or tracing of interests, please refer to the Payroll Tax Act 2011 or contact the
ACT Revenue Office to ensure your Employer Status and/or Group Structure can correctly be identified.

Disclaimer

The information provided on this website is not legal advice and you should not rely on it as if it is legal advice. This information is a guide only. Working out an employer’s payroll tax liability, including whether employers are members of a group, under the Payroll Tax Act 2011 is complex and information on this website may not take into account your particular circumstances.

No information on this website, including information generated by responses entered by you, should be treated as advice about payroll tax grouping or an assessment of any person’s payroll tax liability under the Payroll Tax Act 2011 or any other tax law. An assessment of your payroll tax liability will be made once you have submitted all relevant information to the Commissioner for ACT Revenue, and that assessment may be different from information shown on this website after relevant information is taken into account.

For more information about payroll tax grouping, please refer to the circulars and legislation on our resources pages or contact us by telephone on (02) 6207 0028.

To lodge your payroll tax return please click on the following link Payroll Tax Return.