Tasmanian tax agents are reporting that JobKeeper is "unexpectedly" being factored into business' payroll tax amounts, including one business which was hit with a $7000 increase in its tax burden.
The government gave an assurance that JobKeeper was "exempt" from payroll tax during Parliament this week having previously announced a waiver.
But in an email sent to Labor's small business spokesperson Janie Finlay, a tax agent confirmed they were seeing JobKeeper being factored in to payroll tax.
"The business was unexpectedly taxed on their total wages including JobKeeper less the payroll tax threshold," the agent said.
"This amount was then proportionately reduced based on the percentage of JobKeeper wages over total wages, overall only providing a small payroll tax concession.
"Based on prior media coverage and initial government headlines of payroll tax waiver it was expected that the total JobKeeper wage would be excluded from the calculation, thus providing a much great (sic) concession."
JobKeeper came to an end in March, and in April last year the Tasmanian Government announced the "waiving" of payroll tax on JobKeeper to "help maximise the benefit of the stimulus measure". As JobKeeper was extended, so too was the waiver.
Parliament heard that the issue could be occurring due to JobKeeper tipping some businesses over the next income threshold.
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Ms Finlay said businesses would only become aware that there was a payroll tax burden on JobKeeper when they completed their annual returns.
"Is it the case that where federal government funds have been provided to Tasmanian businesses to support workers, to secure jobs, that were provided because there was an awareness of how hard things are, that in fact that money ... has been taxed by the state government to provide revenue?" she said.
"It cannot be believed that the government is so desperate for funds that they would tax the very money that is being given to these businesses to secure jobs and support workers, and in turn support their families."
Advice on the State Revenue Office website details the way in which payroll tax on JobKeeper is calculated, providing a concession rather than a full waiver.
Small Business Minister Jane Howlett said any concerned businesses should contact her office.
"If the opposition genuinely want to help small businesses and they have examples of small businesses who need more support, please contact my office and we will work together. We will work together and we will find a solution," she told Parliament.
"As I indicated yesterday, businesses do not pay payroll tax on the proportion of their wages which are attributable to JobKeeper."
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