Warning as tax amnesty applications left incomplete

4 minute read

GPs who applied for payroll tax amnesty in Queensland need to make a voluntary disclosure of annual wages and payments, as well as register to pay the tax, before they will be accepted.

Queensland GPs who submitted an expression of interest for the state’s payroll tax amnesty program say the revenue office is leaving them in the dark, but a change of government could bring a reversal of fortunes.  

Practices had until 10 November last year to apply for the amnesty, which wipes away any payroll tax obligations in relation to contractor GPs until July 2025. 

“There is a high degree of anxiety and uncertainty among practice owners in Queensland at the moment,” RACGP Queensland chair Dr Cath Hester told The Medical Republic.  

“On one hand, we have the temporary amnesty, which is a good start, but then there is some uncertainty about how rigorously practices are going to be pursued in the next financial year.” 

As well as being the first state to introduce a payroll tax amnesty for general practice, Queensland is also the only jurisdiction to release a detailed ruling on the business structures that create a payroll tax liability.  

Using the ruling as a guide, clinics in Queensland can technically re-jig payment flows to make the money paid to contracted GPs exempt from being classified as wages. 

Dr Hester said some clinics were already in the process of restructuring. 

Others, she told TMR, were holding off until the October state election, which the Liberal National Party is tipped to win.  

While campaigning has yet to begin in earnest, the LNP has reportedly given verbal assurances to the peak bodies that if elected it will give a full exemption for any payroll tax levied on general practice services.  

“From my point of view, that’s the only sensible outcome,” Dr Hester said.  

“If the state government and the opposition are genuine about reducing pressure on EDs and improving patient access to primary care in the community, that’s the only possible solution for the payroll tax problem.” 

TMR asked the shadow treasurer, shadow health minister and the opposition leader to confirm their stance on payroll tax for general practice but did not receive a reply before deadline.  

It’s important to note that responding to the 2023 expression of interest was not sufficient to be granted amnesty.  

When questioned on why some practices might not have been told whether they qualify for the amnesty yet, a spokesman for the Queensland Revenue Office told TMR that it won’t actually assess practices as eligible for the amnesty until they complete two more steps.  

First, they must register to pay payroll tax in Queensland if they were not already doing so.  

Each clinic also has to make a voluntary disclosure of all their annual wage information going back five years, along with the total payments made to contracted GPs and copies of the agreements with contracted GPs.  

The deadline for this is the same as the end of the amnesty, 30 June 2025.  

“We are unable to determine a medical practice’s eligibility for the amnesty or refund prior period payroll tax liabilities until they voluntarily disclose the amounts they have paid to contracted GPs,” the QRO spokesman said.

The good news, though, is that there are only a handful of reasons that an application for amnesty would be deemed ineligible.  

These include contracted GPs who fall under an existing exemption (e.g. working for less than 90 days in a financial year) aren’t eligible because they won’t draw payroll tax anyway, GPs who are already considered employees under common law and doctors who aren’t specialist GPs or vocationally registered GPs.  

GP registrars are included, but doctors with general registration only will not be eligible.  

End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×