Payroll tax cuts in regional Victoria

Thousands of businesses across regional Victoria have already taken advantage of the Victorian Government’s regional payroll tax cuts, which have saved businesses more than $31 million in the first financial year it was introduced.

Since 1 July 2017, a lower Victoria payroll tax rate of 3.65% has applied to wages paid by regional employers. This rate has further reduced to 2.425% from 1 July 2018.

Which employers are eligible to receive the regional payroll tax rate?

Regional employers who are based on regional Victoria (First requirement) and pay at least 85% of Victorian taxable wages to regional employees (Second requirement) will qualify for the regional payroll tax rate.

First requirement: Based in regional Victoria

An employer is based in regional Victoria if it either has an ABN and a registered business address in regional Victoria or if it does not have an ABN has its principal place of business in regional Victoria.

In general, this is determined with reference to the state of affairs in the month the wages were paid. Where businesses move addresses during a month, the location of an employer will be determined with reference to the state of affairs on the last day of the month.

Regional Victoria is defined to include a certain regional councils. The qualifying regional councils are listed below.

Second requirement: 85% of wages paid to regional employees

To qualify for the regional payroll tax rate, a regional employer must also pay at least 85% of its monthly Victorian taxable wages to regional employees under both the monthly payroll tax returns and the annual payroll tax return.

A regional employee is an employee who performs services for their regional employer mainly in regional Victoria in a month. Whilst there is no legislative guidance on what ‘mainly’ means, the State Revenue Office indicates this would be satisfied where more than 50% of an employee’s services is performed in regional Victoria during a month.

Restructuring your business

Any business that has a Victorian regional presence but is below the 85% threshold could consider a restructure to ensure the regional part of their business is eligible to access the discounted regional payroll tax rate.

Any restructure must be carefully considered and implemented. Not only should anti-avoidance provisions be considered but other issues that could arise out of such a restructure. These could include:

  • Triggering tax or duty by moving to the new structure;

  • Employment law issues of moving employees to a new structure;

  • Assignments of leases and other legal arrangements required in such a restructure;

  • The need to put in place new internal processes and intra group dealings.

To discuss this further, please contact:

Denise Tan
Senior Associate
Sladen Legal
T +61 3 9611 0160  | M +61 438 714 965
Level 5, 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, 3008 Victoria, Australia

Phil Broderick
Sladen Legal
T +61 3 9611 0163  l M +61 419 512 801   
Level 5, 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, 3008, Victoria, Australia


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