Palaszczuk
Palaszczuk

Qld businesses will be spared big payroll tax bills

QUEENSLAND businesses will not be hit with hefty payroll tax bills from stood-down staff earning the Federal Government's JobKeeper payments, saving $360 million over the next six months.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will today unveil plans to exempt the payments from payroll tax in a major win for mothballed businesses and those struggling to survive the coronavirus crisis.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland had warned some businesses faced a higher payroll liability than normal because their employees were earning more from the $1500-a-fortnight JobKeeper payments.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will unveil plans to exempt JobKeeper payments from payroll tax. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will unveil plans to exempt JobKeeper payments from payroll tax. Picture: Liam Kidston.

About 140,000 Queensland businesses are estimated to have employees who have been stood down and are on the federally funded payment.

Ms Palaszczuk said the State Government was helping to keep businesses afloat by exempting the JobKeeper payments from payroll tax.

"We know businesses and workers have been doing it tough through the necessary restrictions we have put in place to come down hard on the spread of coronavirus," she said.

"To date we've done well containing the virus, and that means we may soon be able to ease some restrictions. But life will be tough for many businesses for months to come, so we will ensure they don't have to foot the bill for payroll tax on the Federal Government's JobKeeper payments which are now starting to flow."

The decision comes three weeks after Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland's Amanda Rohan warned there was no other option but to exempt businesses.

"Businesses have told us that in some instances the JobKeeper payments may be more than their employees' wages, causing some businesses to pay higher payroll tax than they usually would," she said.

"This would be a direct disincentive for businesses not to take up the job-saving JobKeeper stimulus, causing further stress to employees and businesses alike."

State Treasurer Jackie Trad said the measure had been fast-tracked and would provide businesses with an extra $360 million in relief over the next six months.

"Measures to relieve payroll tax have been at the heart of the Palaszczuk Government's response, including tax holidays, tax deferrals, and payroll tax refunds that have put more than $340 million back into the accounts of Queensland businesses," she said.

Originally published as Payroll move a big win for state businesses