The summary below is based on information released to date (31 March 2020) by the WA Government to assist businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there may be further relief packages to follow.

Please note the recent change relating to a possible payroll tax waiver and payroll tax deferment.

Payroll tax concessions

The following is a summary of WA Payroll Tax concessions announced by the Government as part of the COVID-19 Stimulus Package to assist business owners.

Payroll tax waiver / Payroll tax deferment

  • Australian taxable wages (for employers, or groups of employers) less than $5 million at 29 February 2020
    • Do not need to apply for the waiver.
    • The business must lodge and pay all returns up to and including its February 2020 return.
    • If the taxpayer’s Australian taxable wages (including WA taxable wages and interstate taxable wages) are less than $5 million, it should lodge its returns for March 2020 to June 2020, entering its WA taxable wages as normal. Then record its WA taxable wages in the ‘exempt (other) wages’ field to apply the waiver.
  • Australian taxable wages (for employers, or groups of employers) $5 million or more at 29 February 2020 (and expect wages to be less than $7.5 million at 30 June), or new employers from 1 March 2020.
    • Apply to defer lodging and paying returns.
    • Payroll tax for March 2020 to June 2020 will be waived at annual reconciliation if Australian taxable wages are less than $7.5 million at 30 June 2020.
      • Complete the Application Form and submit it via a web enquiry. If the business is a member of a group for payroll tax purposes, the designated group employer (DGE) must submit the application.
      • Lodge and pay all returns up to and including the February 2020 return.
    • If the application is approved, the due date for lodgment and payment will be extended to 21 July 2020. The approval advice will include instructions for completing annual reconciliation.
      • If the taxpayer’s 2019-20 annual Australian taxable wages are less than $7.5 million, payroll tax for the March to June returns will be waived.
      • If the taxpayer’s 2019-20 annual Australian taxable wages are $7.5 million or more, the taxpayer will need to complete its returns and pay tax for the months that were deferred.
  • Annual Australian taxable wages (for employers, or groups of employers) expected to be more than $7.5 million:

Small businesses that pay payroll tax will receive a one-off grant of $17,500

  • Small and medium businesses whose annual Australian Taxable Wages for 2018-19 were between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500 to assist them to manage the impacts of COVID-19.
  • No applications are required. Grants will automatically be paid from July, but there may be delays for taxpayers whose tax status changed during the 2018-19 assessment period or who commenced as new employers in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • If the business was not previously registered for payroll tax, its 2019-20 Australian taxable wages will be used to determine the its eligibility for the grant.  The grant will automatically be paid by cheque at the completion of the annual reconciliation process.
  • For a group of employers, a single grant will be payable to the designated group employer.
  • Eligible taxpayers should log in to Revenue Online to ensure their postal address is correct.

$1 million payroll tax threshold brought forward by six months to July 1, 2020

  • The WA Government will fast-track additional payroll tax relief for small businesses, with the payroll tax threshold increasing to $1 million from July 1, 2020, six months earlier than planned. The threshold increase will be reflected in Revenue Online when it comes into effect.

For further information refer to the COVID-19 relief: Payroll Tax Employer Guide.

Other small and medium-sized business assistance

  • Electricity bills for certain small businesses will be reduced, with a one-off $2,500 credit available for Synergy and Horizon Power customers that consume less than 50 megawatt hours (MWh) per annum. The credit is available for current customers (as of March 31, 2020) and will be allocated from May 1, 2020 to reduce current and future electricity bills.
  • There is a waiver of a wide range of licence fees for small and medium sized businesses in COVID-19 impacted industries for the next 12 months. This includes licences for building services, plumbers and electricians; tourism businesses operating in national and marine parks; boat registration and mooring fees for tourism operators and commercial fishers; commercial fisheries licences; taxi booking service authorisation fees; settlement agent licence fees; and other statutory planning fees. Liquor licence renewal fees for 2020 will be waived and refunds provided for businesses that have already paid.
  • Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can also apply for an interest-free payment arrangement and for late payment penalties to be waived for payroll tax, transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax.
  • No small businesses facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 will face power or water disconnections due to late payments. In addition, no interest will be charged on deferred bill payments. For electricity, this will apply to Synergy and Horizon Power customers who consume 50MWh or less.