Payroll Tax

Further information is also available in the Payroll Tax Guide to Legislation.


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 futher information.

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Registration

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 $12 500 per week.

Register for Payroll Tax 

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Tax rates and wage thresholds

Period Rate Threshold
1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017
1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016
1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015
1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014
1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013
1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012
1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011
1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010
4.95% $600 000

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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.

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Are contractor payments considered 'wages'?

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

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Groups

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

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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


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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.

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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 by visiting our website via the Subscription Service page.

Other enquiries

Taxation Services – Payroll Tax
GPO Box 1353
ADELAIDE  SA 5001

Telephone: (08) 8204 9880
Fax: (08) 8226 3805
Email:payrolltax@sa.gov.au

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