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Navigating the Latest Payroll Tax Updates for Your Medical Practice

Given the high risk of payroll tax audits across the medical and allied health industry, organisations must understand and adapt to the changing payroll tax landscape.


Payroll tax updates for medical practices
Payroll Tax Updates for Medical Practices

Revenue authorities in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and NSW issued harmonised rulings that may subject many medical practices to payroll tax on practitioner payments.


The rulings implied that payroll tax is likely to apply to payments made by medical practices to medical practitioners under the relevant contracts (new and existing) payroll tax provisions.


The rulings provided clarity on the harmonised official position of revenue authorities across various jurisdictions and that payroll is not just payable on employees but may also be payable on contractor doctors.


Relevant contracts

The rulings expanded the meaning of a relevant contract to include all agreements that can be characterised as a contract for the performance of work. Previously, generally only payments that were directly referable to services rendered were treated as being subject to payroll tax.

The rulings have determined that if a medical centre engages a practitioner to practice from its premises, or if it provides patients with access to the medical services of a practitioner, a relevant contract likely exists.


Exclusions

Certain exclusions may still apply:

  • the practitioner providing services to the public generally (e.g. if the practitioner provides services to more than one medical practice)

  • the practitioner performing work for no more than 90 days in a financial year

  • services performed by two or more persons (e.g., a practitioner personally providing a nurse or assistant).

State based concessions

Certain concessions have been announced/offered in ACT, SA, QLD and NSW which The Neill Family Group has briefly outlined below:

  • ACT – payroll tax on payments made to GPs is waived till 30 June 2023 with the compliance deadline extended to 2025. An exemption is also available for GP payments for practices which bulk bill 65 percent of all patients and have registered for MyMedicare, ending 30 June 2025. Applications must be submitted with the ACT Revenue by 29 February 2024

  • SA – An amnesty is available on GP payments till 30 June 2024 for designated medical practices that make a voluntary disclosure and register for payroll tax if necessary. Medical practices must comply with payroll tax obligations post 30 June 2024.

  • QLD – An amnesty is available on GP payments till 30 June 2025 for medical practices that make a voluntary disclosure prior to 30 June 2025 and register for payroll tax if necessary.

  • NSW – the Office of state revenue has a put a pause on audits of medical centres for 12 months, ending 4 September 2024 any interest and penalties accrued will also be put on hold.


Please note, the amnesties in QLD and SA are not automatically available, only the medical practices that successfully submitted expressions of interest before cut-off date (submissions now closed) will have the amnesty period for which the payroll tax will not apply to payments made to contracted GPs.


Northern Territory and Tasmania have not yet issued a revenue ruling on this matter, and any amnesty arrangements are also unclear. With respect to Western Australia, the payroll tax legislation does not contain relevant contract provisions, therefore these arrangements may not be subject to the same scrutiny.


Next steps

Developments in payroll tax in recent years have made it clear that contracts with contractor doctors may be deemed a relevant contract under legislation, and money paid to the contracted doctor may qualify as wages for the purpose of payroll tax.


These are important changes so contact The Neill Family Group if you have any questions and we can assist you in reviewing your current arrangements, any potential payroll tax liabilities and suggest changes if required.


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