Stamp duty & payroll tax

Stamp duty

Ward Keller is at the forefront of Northern Territory revenue law and policy.

We are widely regarded as the leading firm for advice on Northern Territory stamp duty and payroll tax matters.

Our accomplishments in this area include:

  • securing stamp duty exemptions for large-scale corporate reconstruction and capital raisings
  • preparing objections to stamp duty assessments, including issues dealing with land-rich duty
  • preparing submissions to government on ex-gratia stamp duty relief
  • representing clients in Territory Revenue Office audits, in the Taxation and Royalty Appeals Tribunal and the Supreme Court
  • actively participating in shaping Northern Territory taxation policy and legislation through the Northern Territory Taxation Administration and Liaison Committee (TTALC)
  • instituting the Annual Budget Breakfast for the business community in partnership with the ANZ bankKPMGMorgans and Master Builders NT, where key Territory and federal budgetary measures are analysed and discussed

We advise on:

  • transaction structuring
  • document preparation
  • current legislation, prospective amendments and policy issues
  • technical and practical solutions

Payroll tax

Payroll tax is a compulsory levy (currently 5.5% of an employer’s taxable wages) for all employers with a payroll over $1.5 million. The tax is paid by monthly return.

It seems simple, but payroll tax can get complicated in three areas:

  • The meaning of an ’employee’, which is not defined in the Payroll Tax Act and takes its meaning from common law. This is particularly relevant to the IT industry, which tends to use sub-contractors.
  • The definition of ‘wages’ and what payments (such as allowances, fringe benefits, shares or options, workers’ compensation payments, apprenticeships and maternity leave) are included for payroll tax purposes.
  • The issue of ‘grouping’, which can arise out of common owners, common control and shared employees. These issues are complex and often have devastating consequences for a business if picked up in a Revenue Office audit.

Our accomplishments in the area of payroll tax include:

  • successful objections to payroll tax assessments on grouping
  • obtaining payroll tax refunds and a government payroll tax amnesty on contractor arrangements
  • educating clients on their payroll tax obligations and running compliance audits