As part of the State Government budget announcements, Treasurer Cameron Dick this week announced Queensland payroll tax refunds for eligible businesses for the months of July and August 2020.

The refunds of payroll tax do not have to be repaid (they are not a deferral).

Eligibility for Queensland payroll tax refunds

Businesses will be eligible for the Queensland payroll tax refunds where they are an employer (or part of a group of employers) who pay $6.5m or less in Australian taxable wages in a financial year and who are registered for payroll tax.

Importantly, JobKeeper payments are not included in Australian taxable wages. JobKeeper payments are exempt from payroll tax.

Employers who meet this criteria can apply for the refunds for the amount of payroll tax paid or payable for the months of July and August 2020.

How to apply for payroll tax refunds

Eligible business can apply online for the payroll tax refunds via the Queensland Office of State Revenue:

Apply Online

Applications for payroll tax refunds must be made by 30 October 2020.

If your business has not yet paid its payroll tax liability for the months of July and August 2020, they will not need to be paid. However, in order to receive the benefit of the relief, you need to lodge your return for the relevant period. 

The following information if required for the online application:

  • Business Name
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Payroll Tax Client Number*
  • Contact Email Address
  • Contact Phone Number
  • Contact Name

*7-digit client number of the taxpayer. You can find the taxpayer name and client number in the top-left corner of OSR Online.

It’s important that the information provided in the application is accurate. The Office of State Revenue may audit your eligibility to the refund and if you’re deemed not be eligible, you will have to repay the refund and interest and penalties may apply.

Payroll tax lodgement periods

How and when the payroll tax refunds are paid, or applied to your businesses payroll tax liability depends on how frequently you lodge.

Lodgement Cycle How Refund Applied
Monthly If return for the applicable monthly has been lodged, refund will be paid. If you’ve not lodged the return yet, complete the Online Refund Application first, then lodge your return. Refund will be applied in the calculation (no requirement to pay monthly liability).
Half-yearly or Quarterly Complete the Online Refund Application. A pro-rata refund will be applied in the calculation.
Annual The following steps need to be followed:

  1. Complete the online refund application form.
  2. Send an email to payrolltax@treasury.qld.gov.au to change your lodgement frequency from annual to half-yearly.
  3. Wait for an email that confirms when to lodge your half-yearly return.
  4. A pro-rata refund will be applied in the calculation of the half-yearly return. OSR will contact you if they need to change you back to lodging once a year.

Payroll tax deferrals

As previously announced, payroll tax deferrals are available for eligible Queensland businesses. In addition to the above payroll tax refunds, the deferral dates for payroll tax have also been extended.

Return period 2020 Lodgement due date Deferred payment due date
2019-20 annual 21 July 2020 7 October 2021
July 7 August 2020 14 January 2021
August 7 September 2020 14 January 2021
September 7 October 2020 7 October 2021
July-September quarter 7 October 2020 7 October 2021
October 9 November 2020 14 January 2022
November 7 December 2020 14 January 2022
December 14 January 2021 14 January 2022
October-December quarter 14 January 2021 14 January 2022
July-December half-year 14 January 2021 14 January 2022

As with the payroll tax refunds, eligible businesses need to apply online to defer the payment of their payroll tax liabilities.

Apply for Deferral

If you have already been approved to defer payment until January 2021, you do not need to reapply for the revised due dates. These new dates will appear in your year-to-date returns in OSR Online.

Applications for payroll tax deferrals must be made by 31 December 2020.

Other Queensland 2020 budget announcements

The Treasurer also announced an additional $249 million from existing funding in COVID-19 related tax relief to small businesses, including the following:

  • A two-month waiver for businesses with payrolls of up to $6.5 million for July and August 2020 (as above);
  • An extension of the 25 per cent land tax rebate for FY21 to enable landlords to continue providing rental relief to tenants;
  • An extension of the exemption of JobKeeper payments for payroll tax;
  • An extension of existing rent relief to the end of 2020 for business renting state government premises and still affected by COVID-19.
  • Transfer duty would be abolished when eligible small businesses restructure to reduce the cost of doing business.

We are yet to see any details around the abolition of transfer duty (stamp duty) on eligible small business restructures, however we will provide an update when more information is made available.