Wages paid to employees who are absent from work to volunteer as fire fighters, or to respond to other emergencies, may be exempt from payroll tax in respect of any period they are engaged as a volunteer member of SACFS or emergency services organisation responding to the bushfire emergencies.
If you are unsure if wages paid are exempt please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 8226 3750 (option 5).
Further information is also available in the Payroll Tax Guide to Legislation.
A payroll tax liability arises in South Australia when an employer (or a Group of employers) has a wages bill in excess of:
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 on where payroll tax liability is to be paid.
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 taxable wages of the employer or group exceeds:
For ease of administration, RevenueSA recommends such registration when an employer's taxable wages consistently exceeds:
From 1 January 2019, businesses with annual taxable wages of up to $1.5 million are no longer liable for payroll tax and those with taxable wages between $1.5 million and $1.7 million benefit from a reduced payroll tax rate.
|Effective Date||Annual Australian Taxable Payroll|
| Does not exceed |
| Exceeds |
| Exceeds |
| Exceeds |
$1.5 million but not
|from 1 January 2019||nil||variable from 0% to 4.95%||4.95%|
|1 July 2017 to 31 December 2018||nil||2.5%*||variable from 2.5% to 4.95%*||4.95%|
|1 July 2009 to 30 June 2017||nil||4.95%|
* Reduced rate provided by ex gratia.
A rate table is available to provide an indication of the new payroll tax rates.
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.
With respect to service contracts and employment agencies, please refer to the Relevant Contracts Decision Tools page.
Grouping Provisions within the Payroll Tax Act 2009 are designed to ensure employers are not able to artificially maintain their wages bill below $1.5 million per annum by splitting their businesses into separate employing entities.
Businesses may be grouped where:
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:
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
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.
More detailed information is available in the Payroll Tax Guide to Legislation and the Payroll Tax Information Circulars and Revenue Rulings.
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.
Taxation Services – Payroll Tax
GPO Box 1353
ADELAIDE SA 5001
Telephone: (08) 8204 9880
Fax: (08) 8226 3805