Navigating Australian Payroll Taxes: What You Need to Know

As a North Lakes business owner, it’s important to understand the payroll tax obligations you have to comply with under Australian law. Payroll tax is a state tax on the wages and salaries paid by businesses to their employees. Each state has its own payroll tax rules and thresholds, so it’s essential to know the rules for the state in which your business operates. In this blog post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on Australian payroll taxes to help you navigate your tax obligations.

1. Understanding Payroll Tax

Payroll tax is a state-based tax that is levied on the wages and salaries paid by businesses to their employees. The tax is calculated on the total wages and salaries paid by the business during a specific period, usually a month. The rate of payroll tax varies between states and territories, and businesses are required to register for payroll tax in each state where they have a presence.

2. Payroll Tax Thresholds

Each state and territory has its own payroll tax threshold, which is the amount of wages or salaries paid by a business that triggers the obligation to pay payroll tax. In most states and territories, the threshold is $1.5 million, but it can vary depending on the location of your business. If your business’s total taxable wages exceed the threshold, you will need to register for payroll tax and pay the applicable tax rate.

Once your business has registered for payroll tax, you will need to calculate and pay the tax regularly. Payroll tax is calculated on the total taxable wages paid by your business, and the tax rate varies between states and territories. In some states, there are different rates based on the size of your business or the industry you operate in.

To calculate your payroll tax liability, you’ll need to determine your total taxable wages for the relevant period and apply the applicable tax rate. It’s important to note that certain types of payments, such as superannuation contributions and allowances, may be excluded from taxable wages. This is where a professional accountant can help in making sure you’re including the right payments and exclusions.

4. Payroll Tax Reporting and Payment

In addition to calculating payroll tax, you will also need to report and pay the tax to the relevant state or territory revenue office. The reporting requirements vary between states, but in general, you will need to provide details of your business’s taxable wages and the amount of payroll tax owed. You will also need to lodge your payroll tax return and pay the tax by the due date to avoid penalties and interest.

5. Payroll Tax Exemptions and Concessions

Some states and territories offer exemptions or concessions from payroll tax for certain types of businesses or industries. For example, in Queensland, businesses with annual taxable wages of up to $6.5 million may be eligible for a payroll tax rebate if they employ apprentices or trainees. Other states offer exemptions for wages paid to certain types of employees, such as indigenous employees or employees with a disability.

6. Virtual CFO Services

As a North Lakes business owner, managing your payroll tax obligations can be time-consuming and complex. Hiring a virtual CFO service can help you manage your payroll tax and other financial obligations, allowing you to focus on growing your business.

Virtual CFO services provide access to professional accountants and financial advisors who can help you navigate the complexities of payroll tax and other tax obligations.


Payroll tax is an important aspect of running a business in Australia, and it’s crucial to understand its registration, reporting, and payment requirements. As a North Lakes business owner, you need to be aware of the specific rules and thresholds in your state or territory. If you’re having difficulty managing your payroll tax obligations, or any other financial obligations, Total Business Partners can assist you in meeting your tax obligations.