Payroll tax exemption on JobKeeper payments

Published Thursday, 07 May, 2020 at 09:30 AM


Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad

The Palaszczuk Government has moved to ensure businesses employing Queenslanders will not pay payroll tax on the Federal Government’s JobKeeper payments.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the move was her Government’s latest initiative to support Queensland businesses and Queensland jobs.

"We know businesses and workers have been doing it tough through the necessary restrictions we have put in place to come down hard on the spread of coronavirus.

“To date we’ve done well containing the virus, and that means we may soon be able to ease some restrictions.

“But life will be tough for many businesses for months to come, so we will ensure they don’t have to foot the bill for payroll tax on the Federal Government’s JobKeeper payments which are now starting to flow.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said administrative arrangements had been fast-tracked to ensure payroll tax assessments do not include JobKeeper payments, providing additional effective relief of $360 million over six months to businesses employing Queenslanders.

“The Federal Government has decided to make JobKeeper a taxable allowance – that is, it will count as income when recipients come to file their tax return,” Ms Trad said.

“Since COVID-19 started affecting Queensland businesses and jobs in January, we have been talking regularly to business.

“Measures to relive payroll tax have been at the heart of the Palaszczuk Government’s response, including tax holidays, tax deferrals, and payroll tax refunds that have put more than $345 million back into the accounts of Queensland businesses.

“We’re also delivering $500 million in jobs support loans, $400 million in land tax relief for property owners to pass on to tenants, rebates on utility bills for households and small-to-medium businesses, and a range of other measures to support Queenslanders and industry.

“By working together, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the livelihoods of Queenslanders so we can bounce back on the other side of this pandemic.”

“That’s why we are delivering our plan to:

  • Protect traditional industries fundamental to our economy, that are continuing to operate;
  • Preserving industries during this period of forced hibernation, like tourism and hospitality, so they can re-emerge and re-employ;
  • Investing in necessary public services to support the immediate needs of our community; and
  • Planning for our economic recovery and Queensland’s economic security.

“Exempting JobKeeper from payroll tax assessments at this time helps protect Queensland businesses and Queensland jobs.”

“Now it’s up to the Federal Government to help Queensland workers by exempting JobKeeper payments from income tax assessment.”

The JobKeeper payment scheme commenced on 30 March and is available for eligible businesses to cover the costs of their employees’ wages through payments of $1,500 per fortnight to eligible employees.

Ms Trad said Queensland Treasury’s Office of State Revenue would be adjusting its payroll tax information to ensure there is a smooth transition when the next payroll tax returns are due to be lodged next week.

Further details of the Queensland Government’s multi-billion dollar COVID-19 jobs and business support package is available at

Media Contact:  Geoff Breusch 0417 272 875