COVID-19 Relief - Payroll Tax Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to apply for the waiver?

Wages up to $4 million

If your business or business group reported Australian (annualised grouped) wages up to $4 million for 2018-19 and you were registered for payroll tax and completed your 2018-19 Annual Reconciliation, you do not need to apply, RevenueSA will automatically apply the waiver.

Wages over $4 million

Businesses or business groups with wages over $4 million do not receive a waiver, but may be eligible to apply for a deferral. See Do I need to apply for the deferral?

Do I need to apply for the deferral?

Yes. The deferral is not automatically applied.

If your business reported Australian (annualised grouped) wages over $4 million for 2018-19, and you have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, you can defer your payroll tax obligations.

You can nominate to defer your obligation when submitting your monthly return in RevenueSA Online.

Which wages are used to determine if my business is eligible?

We use your ’total Australian (annualised grouped)’ wages for 2018-19. This is the SA and interstate wages paid to your employees.

The $4 million is the gross wages for the group (before deduction entitlement).

If you were not registered for payroll tax in 2018-19 or you did not complete your 2018-19 Annual Reconciliation, RevenueSA will consider your application for a deferral or waiver.

I haven’t registered for payroll tax before. Can I apply for a waiver or deferral?

If you were not registered for payroll tax for the 2018-19 financial year, you may still be eligible for a deferral (if wages are over $4 million).

You will need to request a deferral through RevenueSA Online when lodging your next monthly return.

If you were not receiving a waiver for the months March to August 2020, you are unable to apply for a waiver for the additional 3 months.

Is this relief only for businesses that closed because of COVID-19?

No, the business does not need to be closed to be eligible for the relief.

All businesses with Australian (annualised grouped) wages under $4 million are eligible for a waiver. These businesses do not have to demonstrate that they have been adversely impacted by COVID-19.

Any business with over $4 million in grouped wages which has been adversely impacted may apply for a deferral. These businesses must declare that they have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, but they do not have to be on the verge of closing or already closed.

My business closed due to COVID-19. What does this mean for my payroll tax obligations?

If your business has ceased to employ and won’t recommence trading in the future, you may cancel your payroll tax registration.

If I receive the waiver or deferral, do I still have to lodge my monthly payroll tax returns?

Yes, monthly payroll tax returns must be lodged to capture wages for each month. This is for reporting purposes only.

Do I still need to lodge an Annual Reconciliation?

Yes, your Annual Reconciliation must have been lodged by 14 August 2020.

What information do I need to provide to show my business has been adversely impacted by COVID-19?

If your business has Australian (annualised grouped) wages up to $4 million, you do not need to provide any evidence that you have been adversely impacted.

If your business has Australian (annualised grouped) wages over $4 million, you will need to provide documentation to demonstrate you have been adversely impacted, which could include the following:

  • BAS Statement
  • Financial statements
  • Sales figure comparisons from this year compared to last year
  • Evidence that you have received JobKeeper payments.

This is not a comprehensive list. Other evidence may be provided if it clearly shows your business has been adversely impacted.

What does adversely impacted mean?

If your current turnover, profit, customers, bookings, retail sales, supply contracts or other factors are negatively affected, compared to normal operating conditions you are considered ’adversely impacted’.

Monthly Payments

If my monthly tax liability is under the threshold, do I need to lodge a nil return like normal?

Yes, you still need to lodge a nil return.

I have set up future dated payments. Do I need to cancel these?

Yes, you will need to log into RevenueSA Online to cancel future payments.

Click here for instructions on how to void a payment.

If I have deferred my payments, can I still make a monthly payment if I wish?

Yes, you can continue to pay if you would like to. This will reduce the amount you will need to pay at the end of the deferral period.

Concerned about meeting your deferred payroll tax obligations?

Businesses who continue to be impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19 and who face ongoing difficulties in meeting their deferred payroll tax obligations will be able to negotiate a repayment plan with RevenueSA for the deferred tax liabilities. More information will be available on RevenueSA’s website shortly.

If you are struggling to meet your payment obligations because of COVID-19, please contact us as early as possible (phone 8226 3750).

JobKeeper Payments

Are JobKeeper payments subject to payroll tax?

No, these payments are not subject to payroll tax.

The amount payable does not need to be included in the total salaries and wages declared in your monthly return.

However, your business will need to report the JobKeeper payment amounts separately in RevenueSA Online.

Are JobKeeper payments included in my taxable wages?

No they are not included. JobKeeper payments paid to an employee are classed as exempt wages.

Is the entire JobKeeper subsidy exempt from payroll tax?

The JobKeeper wage subsidy is exempt from payroll tax. Any payments made in addition to the JobKeeper amount are liable for payroll tax.

For example, if a business pays an employee $200 + the full JobKeeper payment each fortnight, the $200 is declared as wages and the JobKeeper payment is exempt from payroll tax.

The JobKeeper payments are recorded in your return for reporting purposes only and don’t form part of your taxable wages.

What if my employees’ normal earnings are less than the amount of the JobKeeper payment?

If you are eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment for that employee, the amount received via the JobKeeper initiative is exempt.

How do I reflect the JobKeeper payments in my monthly return?

If your normal monthly wage bill is $30,000, but you have received $10,000 in JobKeeper payments, you should report $20,000 of regular wages in your monthly return as normal, and report the $10,000 JobKeeper payments only in the JobKeeper field – not as part of your wages.

The JobKeeper payments are recorded in your return for reporting purposes only and don’t form part of your taxable wages.

The amount of the JobKeeper payment I received covers a longer period than the period of the monthly return. Do I have to average out the JobKeeper payment?


For payroll tax, JobKeeper payments are exempt wages.

For RevenueSA’s purposes this means that the JobKeeper amount you report in the relevant field of your monthly return is not included in payroll.

You do not need to average the JobKeeper out as we do not use the JobKeeper information for your monthly payroll tax.