Payroll Tax

Who is liable for payroll tax?

A payroll tax liability arises in South Australia when an employer (or a Group of employers) has a wages bill in excess of $600 000 for services rendered by employees anywhere in Australia if any of those services are rendered or performed in South Australia.

See Revenue Ruling PTA039 for further information.

back to top


An employer (or a member of a Group of employers) who, in any month, pays wages which are liable to payroll tax in South Australia must register for payroll tax when the Australian wages bill of the employer or group exceeds $50 000 in any month.

For ease of administration, RevenueSA recommends such registration when an employer's wages bill consistently exceeds $11 538 per week.

Register for payroll tax 

back to top

The Government has announced amendments to the Payroll Tax Act 2009 to reduce payroll tax for small businesses.

With these amendments, from 1 January 2019, businesses with annual taxable wages of up to $1.5 million will be exempt from payroll tax and those with wages between $1.5 million and $1.7 million will benefit from a reduced payroll tax rate. The legislative amendments to implement the above measures are contained in the Payroll Tax (Exemption for Small Business) Bill 2018 (the “Bill”), which was introduced into Parliament on 20 June 2018.

This rate table will be updated once the Bill comes into force as an Act.

Effective Date Annual Australian Taxable Payroll
Does not exceed
$600 000
Exceeds $600 000
but not $1 million
Exceeds $1 million
but not $1.5 million
Exceeds $1.5 million
from 1 July 2017 nil 2.5% variable from 2.5% to 4.95% 4.95%
1 July 2009 to 30 June 2017 nil 4.95%
1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009(1) nil 5%
Variable PRT Calculator

Calculate your rate here for 2017-2018

Enter total Australian wages (if you are part of a group, please enter your group's total Australian wages) for the full financial year*

*NOTE: the rate is based on annualised wages. e.g. If you employ for only 150 days in the year and the wages paid during that period is $630 000, your annualised wages total would be calculated as follows:
$630 000/150 multiplied by 365 or 366 days. Your annualised wages would therefore be $1 533 000.

back to top

What payments are considered 'wages'?

In general any remuneration attributed to employees is included. Common items are wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, allowances, directors fees, fringe benefits, payments in kind, eligible termination payments and superannuation contributions.

Additionally, payments for service contracts, to employment agencies, and to other third parties may be deemed to be wages assessable for payroll tax. With respect to service contracts and employment agencies, refer to the Relevant Contractors Decision Tools page.

For further information, refer to the Payroll Tax Guide to Legislation.

back to top

Are contractor payments considered 'wages'?

With respect to service contracts and employment agencies, please refer to the Relevant Contracts Decision Tools page.

back to top


Grouping Provisions within the Payroll Tax Act 2009 are designed to ensure employers are not able to artificially maintain their wages bill below $600 000 per annum by splitting their businesses into separate employing entities.

Businesses may be grouped where:

  • one company is related to another company under Section 50 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cwlth); or
  • Businesses have common employees; or
  • the same person or persons together, have a controlling interest of more than 50% in each of two or more businesses; or
  • an entity has a direct, indirect or aggregate controlling interest in a corporation (“tracing provisions”).

    This is not an exhaustive list.

Only one employer in a group is able to utilise the allowable deduction entitlement. This employer is known as the Designated Group Employer. Any annual deduction entitlement not taken up by the Designated Group Employer can be transferred to the other group members only at the time of Annual Reconciliation.

As this is a complex area, and cannot be fully covered in a brief document, further information should be sought from RevenueSA if you suspect Grouping Provisions may affect you.

For further information, refer to:

Information Circular 4 - Groupings

Commissioner's Discretion to Exclude from a Group - PTA031

Grouping of Professional Practices & Administrative Businesses - PTA017

Application to Exclude from a Group

back to top

Employment outside South Australia

The full annual deduction entitlement of $600 000 is only available to employers (or group of employers) who do not pay wages in another state or territory.

If wages are paid elsewhere in Australia the deduction entitlement is calculated using wage estimates for a full financial year and applying the formula below:

Total South Australian Wages X  $600 000
Total Australian Wages

back to top

Payroll tax nexus arrangements

What if an employee works in multiple states?

Where a business has an employee working in in more than one state or territory in one month payroll tax will be liable in the state or territory where the employee has their principal place of residence.

Where the worker does not reside in Australia, tax is to be paid to the state or territory where the registered Australian Business Number (ABN) address of the employer is located.

Further information is available in Revenue Ruling PTA039.

back to top

More information

More detailed information is available in the Payroll Tax Guide to Legislation and the Payroll Tax Information Circulars and Revenue Rulings.

Watch harmonised payroll tax education videos and register for harmonised payroll tax webinars.

View the Payroll Tax Act 2009

You can be automatically informed of any changes to payroll tax or other tax information by subscribing to RevenueSA’s free Electronic Subscription Services.

You can subscribe via our  Subscription Service page.

Other enquiries

Taxation Services – Payroll Tax
GPO Box 1353

Telephone: (08) 8204 9880
Fax: (08) 8226 3805

back to top