The Queensland Government has announced a payroll tax amnesty on payments made to contracted general practitioners until 30 June 2025.
Practitioners who advise medical practices and general practitioners on tax liability and employment matters should consider whether their clients should lodge an expression of interest.
Some medical practices may seek to restructure their arrangements to comply with the new ruling. These practices may still need to consider whether it is appropriate to register for the amnesty in light of historical arrangements.
To be considered for the amnesty, eligible medical practices must submit an expression of interest form to the Queensland Revenue Office (QRO) by 10 November 2023.
This date has been extended by the government from the previously advised date of 29 September 2023.
On 14 September 2023, Treasurer Cameron Dick announced that “under normal business arrangements patient fees, including the Medicare benefit, and any out-of-pocket expenses when they are paid directly by a patient to a GP for that GP’s services will not be subject to payroll tax”. These changes are further described in the Queensland Revenue Office’s (QRO) new public ruling, Relevant contracts – medical centres.
Who is affected?
QRO has published an administrative arrangement which sets out the eligibility and effect for the amnesty and supporting Commissioner of State Revenue’s guidelines on how the amnesty will be administered.
The amnesty is limited to payments made to contracted GPs. The Administrative Arrangement defines a general practitioner or GP as a doctor registered as a general practitioner with the Medical Board of Australia.
What is the amnesty?
Medical practices that successfully apply for the amnesty will not be required to pay payroll tax on payments made to contracted GPs up to 30 June 2025 and for the previous five years (i.e. 2018–25). Where such medical practices are liable for payroll tax in relation to contracted GPs, they will be required to start paying payroll tax from 1 July 2025.
Entities that do not complete an expression of interest by 10 November 2023 will not be considered for the amnesty.
Under the Payroll Tax Act 1971 (Qld), payroll tax is imposed on taxable wages paid or payable by an employer. Payments made under a relevant contract are subject to payroll tax, unless an exemption applies.
Payments made to GPs under a relevant contract are subject to payroll tax under the Payroll Tax Act, unless an exemption applies. While this provision has been in place since 2008, it has been identified there is a potential widespread lack of awareness of the application of the relevant provisions in the Payroll Tax Act among medical practices that engage GPs under contract arrangements.
Consequently, on 3 February 2023, the Queensland Government announced a payroll tax amnesty in relation to payments made to contracted GPs up until 30 June 2025. . The amnesty is designed to incentivise and support medical practices to bring themselves into compliance with their payroll tax obligations.
QLS understands an entity can register an expression of interest and continue to seek advice about their payroll tax liability position following 29 September 2023. However, entities which do not register by 29 September 2023 will not be eligible for the amnesty.
What are the eligibility requirements?
The Administrative Arrangement provides the eligibility requirements for the amnesty. A medical practice must:
- Be a designated medical practice;
- Submit an expression of interest using the online form on the relevant website by 10 November 2023;
- Make a voluntary disclosure and, if not already registered for payroll tax, register for payroll tax in Queensland by 30 June 2025; and
- Comply with its ongoing payroll tax obligations after making the voluntary disclosure, this includes from 1 July 2025.
Expressing interest is the first step and does not confirm eligibility for the amnesty. QRO will contact each medical practice that submits an expression of interest by 10 November 2023 regarding the requirements of the amnesty and the next steps.
The QRO webpage, Payroll tax amnesty for contracted general practitioners, provides further information.