Last updated on: 01/07/2022
Once an employer has registered with the revenue office of each state and territory in which they are liable for payroll tax, returns need to be submitted to the revenue office of each state and territory that wages are paid.
To access a return lodgement / payment portal, click on the applicable state or territory name below. Details will appear in a new window.
Lodging monthly returns
Generally, a registered employer needs to lodge a return each month. Monthly returns are due on the 7th of the following month. For example, a return for April needs to be lodged by the 7th May.
Where the 7th falls on a weekend or public holiday, lodgment and payment of returns will be accepted on the next business day.
Some states and territories offer alternative lodging periods and or due dates. Information on specific state or territory periodic return options can be found on their revenue office website.
Lodging annual returns
All registered employers need to lodge an annual return at the end of the financial year.
Most states and territories call the annual return an “annual reconciliation” but some call it an “annual adjustment return”.
The annual return must be lodged by the 21st July each year, except in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and South Australia, where it must be lodged by 28th July.
Where the due date falls on a weekend or public holiday, lodgment and payment of returns will be accepted on the next business day.
The deduction entitlement (also referred to as a monthly wage threshold, deduction threshold, threshold entitlement, deduction/deductable amount or annual deduction amount) is a ‘tax free’ amount a registered employer (or Designated Group Employer (DGE)) can deduct from the taxable wages before calculating how much payroll tax they are liable for.
The amount an employer can deduct will reduce if the registered employer did not pay wages for the full financial year, or pay wages in multiple states or territories.
If the registered employer is part of a group of employers, only the DGE is entitled to the threshold/deduction. In some states and territories, if the DGE’s wages are less than the group’s threshold/deduction entitlement, any unused threshold/deduction may be allocated to another employer in the group during the annual return or annual reconciliation.
The calculation and amount of the deduction entitlement varies between each state or territory. For information on specific state or territory threshold/deductions, click on the applicable state or territory name below:
Failing to or incorrectly lodging a return
Australian state and territory revenue offices regularly conduct audits and investigations to ensure all liable employers are complying with their obligations under payroll tax legislation.
Commonly identified areas that registered employers have issues with include:
- failing to include all taxable wages in the total wages calculation (e.g. director’s fees and other remuneration; superannuation payments; taxable fringe benefits);
- failing to declare fringe benefits and benefits under employee share schemes;
- incorrectly claiming an exemption for certain wages;
- declaring wages in the wrong state or territory;
- incorrectly classifying employees as contractors;
- lodging under the incorrect grouping status;
- late lodgement and / or payment of monthly or annual returns; and or
- failing to declare payments to portable long service leave and redundancy schemes (applicable in Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory only).
Penalties may be imposed when it is identified that an employer has provided false or misleading information in lodged payroll tax returns or in response to requests by a revenue office for information.
Employers who voluntarily declare their liabilities may receive significantly lower penalties than those who do not.
For information on specific state or territory compliance activities, click on the applicable state or territory name below: