On 15 April 2020, the WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt introduced the Pay-roll Tax Relief (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 (“the Bill”) to WA’s Legislative Assembly, with the Bill passing the Assembly on the same day.
Due to the urgency of the legislation, the Bill was introduced to, and passed through, the Legislative Council (“Council”) on 16 April 2020, and received assent on 20 April 2020 as the Pay-roll Tax Relief (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 (No 16 of 2020) (the “Act”). All provisions of this Act have fully commenced.
The Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum (“the EM”) notes that the object of the legislation is to “exempt wages paid between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 for employers or groups with Australian taxable wages less than $7.5 million in 2019-20 and wage subsidies paid by employers to employees under the Australian Government’s JobKeeper payment scheme” from pay-roll tax.
The EM notes that the measures are expected to provide specific relief related to the pandemic, rather than generally applying to pay-roll tax. As the COVID-19 pandemic and response is a rapidly evolving situation, regulation-making powers have been included in the legislation to allow other wages and payments to be exempted from pay-roll tax if further relief is required.
Commenting on the Bill in his speech, the Treasurer said:
The Hon Diane Evers (Greens) said in her speech:
In a WA Government media release, the Minister commented:
The media release also notes that the Department of Finance will:
Businesses to benefit from fast-tracked payment terms will include construction companies, maintenance contractors, building landlords and community services organisations.
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Pay-roll Tax Relief (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 (WA) – Bill and supporting information available from TimeBase's LawOne Service
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