News and media releases

Revenews

01 November 2019

Here are the past edition of Revenews, our newsletter.

2020

July

COVID-19 (coronavirus) relief measures 

The NSW Government has introduced numerous initiatives to help support and provide relief to individuals and businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Payroll tax relief

As part of the NSW Government’s economic package to help businesses impacted by COVID-19, several payroll tax relief measures have been implemented, including:

  • a payroll tax deferral arrangement for all businesses until October 2020
  • a 25 per cent reduction on the annual tax liability for 2019/20 for businesses with grouped Australian wages of $10 million or less
  • tax-free threshold increase from $900,000 to $1 million for 2020/21.

The 2020 Payroll Tax annual reconciliation is now available on the Revenue NSW website. The due date for lodgement and payment of the annual reconciliation has been extended to 30 October 2020. For more information on how to lodge and pay your annual reconciliation, visit our website.

Payroll tax exemption for JobKeeper payments

Employers must pay their eligible employees a minimum of $1500 per fortnight to receive the JobKeeper payments. The government will exempt from payroll tax any additional wages paid to employees to meet the requirements of the JobKeeper scheme.

For more information, visit our website.

Land tax relief for landlords

The NSW Government is providing support to commercial and residential landlords and their tenants, through a $440 million land tax COVID-19 relief scheme.

The package allows eligible landlords to apply for land tax relief of up to 25 per cent if they reduce the rent of commercial or residential tenants who are in financial distress due to COVID-19 for any period between 1 April 2020 and 30 September 2020. The rent reduction must be given without any requirement to be paid back at a later date.

For more information, or to apply, visit our website.

Other payment deferrals

The NSW Government has announced a range of relief measures to help businesses impacted by COVID-19, including payment deferrals for:

  • the parking space levy
  • gaming machine tax
  • lotteries and keno duties.

For more information, visit our website.

Bushfire relief measures

Help and support is still available for our customers who were affected by the 2019/20 bushfires.

Duty relief for homes and motor vehicles

Duty relief is available for people whose homes were destroyed during the 2019/20 NSW bushfires and who choose to purchase a replacement property elsewhere, rather than rebuild.

For more information on the relief available, eligibility criteria and lodgement requirements, visit our website.

Applications close 2 March 2022.

If your motor vehicle was written off as a result of the bushfires (or other declared natural disaster) the NSW Government may be able to refund any motor vehicle duty you pay on a replacement vehicle.

To apply, or for more information on eligibility criteria, visit our website.

Payroll tax exemptions

Any wages paid (or payable) to an employee for bushfire-fighting activities or emergency operations are exempt from payroll tax.

To be eligible for this exemption, a letter outlining the employee’s period of involvement with NSW Rural Fire Service or the NSW State Emergency Service will need to be provided.

For more information on the help available for customers affected by natural disasters, visit our website.

Land tax relief

In response to the bushfire emergency, Revenue NSW delayed the state-wide issuing of land tax assessments.

A three-month grace period was also applied to the issuing of land tax assessments to all bushfire affected suburbs. These assessments will be issued soon.

If you were affected by the recent bushfires and receive a land tax assessment, a range of relief options are available to you, including:

  • providing more time to pay
  • waiving interest
  • providing additional time to lodge documents or returns.

To discuss relief options, call us on 1300 138 118.

2020 land tax assessment notices

If you have provided us with your email address, your 2020 land tax assessment notice will have been emailed to you from Service NSW. If we don’t have an email address, your notice will have been posted to you. You can update your notification preference by logging into Land Tax Online.

Paying your land tax

You can now schedule your land tax payments to be direct debited from your nominated bank account via Land Tax Online.

Updated instructions for paying your land tax at settlement via an electronic lodgement network operator (ELNO) are now available on our website.

Incorrect land tax assessments

If you receive a land tax assessment with incorrect details, you should inform us by logging into Land Tax Online and updating your information.

You can update:

  • land listed that was sold prior to the taxing date
  • land that includes any percentage interests owned not shown on your notice of assessment
  • land being taxed where an exemption should apply.

eDuties now mandatory

From 4 May 2020, all complex assessing and refund applications must be lodged digitally through our eDuties service. Revenue NSW will no longer be accepting paper assessments.

eDuties will improve turnaround times for transactions and customers will be able to track lodgements and their progress more effectively.

New Revenue NSW Deputy Secretary

On 28 April 2020, we welcomed Scott Johnston as our new Deputy Secretary of Revenue NSW, Chief Commissioner of State Revenue and Commissioner of Fines Administration.

Scott is a highly experienced senior leader with a career spanning the Australian and United Kingdom public sectors. Prior to joining Revenue NSW, Scott was Acting Commissioner at the NSW Public Service Commission, leading the NSW Government’s agenda around diversity, work of the future and reform across the sector.

To find out more about Scott’s background, visit our website

2019

February

This month we invite you to our free 2018 Payroll Tax annual reconciliation and state revenue update seminars.

We talk about our support for Revenue NSW jobs for indigenous employees.

For feedback and ideas for future issues, please email us.

Payroll tax administration review

NSW Treasury is reviewing how we administer payroll tax and is asking for your feedback.

The Treasury review also relates to Revenue NSW’s current practices in administering payroll tax. Payroll tax rates and thresholds are outside the scope of this review.

The review may identify further areas of harmonisation and consider arrangements of other jurisdictions. You can read the terms of reference as well as the consultation guide at Treasury.

Have your say by 5pm Friday, 6 July 2018.

More information

Contact NSW Treasury by email, or phone: 02 9228 4028.

Free 2018 payroll tax annual reconciliation seminars

Come and join us for 2018 Payroll Tax Annual Reconciliation Seminars from 25 June 2018 – 19 July 2018, in Sydney CBD, North Sydney, Parramatta,  Blacktown, Burwood, Hurstville, Ryde, Hornsby, Castle Hill, Liverpool, Campbelltown, Mascot, Gymea, Newcastle and Wollongong.

These seminars will be tailored towards both registered payroll tax customers and professionals.

Every seminar will include an in-depth demonstration of the online registration 2018 payroll tax annual reconciliation, and an overview of NSW payroll tax liability, exemptions and rebates. You will also learn about the administrative aspects of payroll tax, and we will explain how Revenue NSW treats contractors and grouping.

Register to attend these free seminars.

State revenue update seminars

We are hosting our annual free revenue updates on state taxes. These seminars will provide a comprehensive update of changes to tax law as well as the most important cases of 2017/2018.

Seminars will be held during 23 July 2018 – 16 August 2018 in Sydney CBD, North Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown, Hurstville, Ryde, Castle Hill, Campbelltown, Newcastle and Wollongong.

We are taking registrations for these free seminars from the end of June.

Register to attend.

Revenue NSW supports indigenous certified jobs

Every year, Revenue NSW manages 50,000 telephone call related to resolving fines debt. Much of these phone calls come from vulnerable or disadvantage customers who identify as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

The recent creation of our indigenous identified roles in the team will help ensure Revenue NSW recognises and resources an important customer base. This allows our customers to get support from staff with an appropriate cultural background.

Indigenous identified roles will enhance the already great work we are doing in our community outreach activities, by providing additional telephone access as well as direct referral at face-to-face events.

Revenue NSW's support for indigenous identified roles is in line with the NSW Government's Aboriginal workforce strategy. The strategy implements key initiatives to increase Aboriginal employment levels across the NSW Public Sector.

Read more about NSW Government's Aboriginal workforce strategy.

June

A consolidated approach to NSW state debt recovery

We continue to deliver consolidated debt collection services in partnership with state and local government authorities, achieving better social and economic outcomes for NSW.

With the introduction of the State Debt Recovery Act 2018, we now collect unpaid fees, charges and other amounts that are excluded from our existing fines collection activities, administered under the Fines Act 1996.

Our debt recovery guidelines outlines the various recovery and enforcement actions we can undertake without engaging local courts, and explains how we support vulnerable people who can’t pay.

If you get a notice from us for any unpaid amounts, visit managing a fee.

Payroll tax for real estate agencies

If you’re a licensee-in-charge or principal of a real estate agency, visit our payroll tax for the real estate industry webpage. It has everything you need to know, including information for contract sales agents, how to apply the payroll tax contractor exemptions, and the minimum records to keep.

We’re also running a free seminar on Thursday 23rd May 2019. Don’t miss it. It covers an array of payroll tax topics.

CPD points will be awarded. Spaces are limited, so register now.

Electronic duties return

The following transaction types are now available through EDR.

Declaration of trust by custodian – $500.00 is payable on a declaration of trust by a custodian, who declares that dutiable property is held on trust for the trust for the trustee of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF).

Partition – a concessional rate of duty may be applied when dutiable property that is co-owned is partitioned, with the result that each co-owner receives one or more of the properties.

Establishment of a trust relating to unidentified property and non-dutiable property – duty of $500.00 is charged in respect of an instrument executed in NSW, which declares that property, although not identified in the instrument, is to be held in trust for a person(s) or purpose(s) mentioned in the instrument.

Variation of a contract – in certain circumstances, to assist with the settlement process, you will now be able to process a deed or agreement varying a contract for sale of land.

Additional valuation types

There are now three valuation types available through EDR:

1. Valuation from Valuer General
2. Valuation from suitably qualified person
3. Agreement for sale of land – previous sale.

Duties assessment number (DAN)

The unique reference number issued for duties assessments is now known as a duties assessment number (DAN).

Revenue Academy

Revenue Academy is an online learning platform, developed to assist EDR clients. It provides training modules and user guides.

Read more about EDR.

Increase in emergency services levy

An increase in emergency services levy contributions will go towards helping NSW firefighters access workers compensation entitlements when diagnosed with work-related cancers.

Read more.

Incentive schemes closing

The Jobs Action Plan rebate and the Small Business Grant Scheme are closing on 30 June 2019. Only new jobs created before 1 July 2019 will be eligible for either scheme.

Contractors and payroll tax

We’ve released a new Commissioner’s practice note for payroll tax.

It’s relevant if you have dealings with contractors. It includes information about ‘relevant contracts’, types of contractors, exemptions, record keeping, and anti-avoidance provisions. It helps you decide if payments to independent contractors are liable for payroll tax.

Guidelines for employment agency contracts

We’ve released a new Commissioner’s practice note on employment agency contracts.

It’s relevant if you procure the services of another person for a client of an employment agent. It has information about the key elements of an employment agency contract and includes key findings of recent NSW Supreme Court decisions, together with some case studies.

Exemption for transfers

This practice note clarifies whether section 68 of the Duties Act 1997 will apply when parties to a break-up of a marriage or de facto relationship have agreed to resolve their matter by arbitration.

For more information, read the complete practice note.

Upcoming seminars and webinars

2019 PRT annual reconciliation

These seminars will provide an overview of how to calculate your payroll tax liability, and discuss exemptions and rebates. We will also demonstrate how to lodge your 2019 annual reconciliation.

Seminars will be conducted throughout NSW from late June to mid-July

State revenue updates 2019

These seminars will cover general information about what we administer, plus recent changes and common mistakes relating to land tax, duties, surcharges, first home benefits and payroll tax.

Seminars will be conducted throughout NSW from late July to mid-August.

Attendance qualifies you for continuing professional development (CPD) points.

Registrations will open soon.

Stay up to date with our new seminars and webinars.

August

NSW Budget 2019-20

The Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet MP, handed down the 2019-20 NSW Budget on 18 June delivering on the election commitments for residents of NSW.

For more information on the specific commitments that the Department of Customer Service is responsible for, refer to the Budget Papers.

The budget includes changes to payroll tax and transfer duty, and relief from surcharges for some foreign retirees. Read more.

We join the Department of Customer Service

As of 1 July 2019, we officially became part of the newly created Department of Customer Service.

We look forward to contributing towards the NSW Government’s key priorities, including:

  • working better by putting the customer at the centre of everything we do
  • ensuring communities are well-connected with quality local environments
  • breaking the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage by fixing problems that have been in the ‘too-hard basket’ for too long
  • committing to the highest quality education irrespective of location or circumstance
  • striving for a strong economy with quality jobs and job security for all workers.

What’s new from 1 July 2019

As of 1 July 2019, some key changes came into effect relating to duties, land tax and payroll tax, including:

Tougher penalties for drink and drug driving

From 20 May 2019, tougher penalties apply for drink and drug driving in NSW.

The penalties include on-the-spot fines and immediate licence suspension for lower range, drink driving offences and confirmed drug driving offences.

Read more about the drink and drug driving reforms.

Buying a property

When you buy a property in NSW, you may have to pay taxes and duties.

Use the residential property buyer tool to find out the taxes and duties you may need to pay, as well as exemptions and grants that you're entitled to receive.

Amendments to the parking space levy

There have been recent amendments to the parking space levy for this financial year, as well as recommendations for next financial year.

The key changes for 2019-20 financial year include:

  • an increase in the Category 1 rate to $2,490, and Category 2 to $880
  • approved guidelines that outline exemptions for an unlet and unleased tenant’s parking space.

Read more about parking space levy.

Recent revenue rulings and cases

Several important revenue rulings and cases have been handed down in recent weeks.

Revenue rulings:

Cases:

Case study: primary production land tax exemption

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has found that the primary production land tax exemption didn’t apply to rural land that is maintained for future cattle-grazing purposes.

Read the case summary.

Payroll tax in the cleaning industry

If you’re an employer in the cleaning industry, you must know your payroll tax obligations.

Also, read our article on page 61 of the July/August issue of InClean Magazine.

We cover what you need to know about payroll tax, including what wages are liable and what you must to do if wages exceed the monthly threshold.

Reduce the likelihood of being audited

A recommendation by the recent Payroll Tax Administration Review was to identify ways to assist businesses in not being chosen for an audit.

The best way? Meet your payroll tax obligations on time and accurately, and consistent with what you’ve told other government entities.

Here are a few tips:

  • Register for payroll tax when the total Australian wages you pay exceed the monthly threshold.
  • If you engage sole traders, have you considered that they may be deemed employees? Read more about contractors and employees.
  • The value of shares and options issued under an Employee Share Scheme are subject to payroll tax. From 1 July 2019, if you’re converting shares into Australian dollars you can use either the Reserve Bank of Australia exchange rate at the relevant date or the ATO’s yearly average exchange rate for the financial year in which the relevant date falls.
  • If you’re part of a group, only one member in the group is entitled to the threshold. Read more about grouping.
  • Did you know, all contractors are liable for payroll tax unless an exemption is met and substantiated? Read your obligations about contractor payments annually, or when you engage a contractor.
  • Stay informed about industry specific issues.
  • Do you have a new or upgraded payroll system? Make sure your wage codes are correct for payroll tax.
  • Visit our website for information about common errorscompliancecase studies and how to make a voluntary disclosure.
  • Watch our short video.

Payroll tax annual reconciliation seminars and webinars

We were delighted to see the payroll tax annual reconciliation seminars sell out this year with almost 1,500 attendees. The seminars took place in multiple locations across Sydney, as well as Wollongong and Newcastle.

If you were unable to attend one of our sessions, visit our website to view our webinar and seminar notes.

State revenue update seminars and webinars

The state revenue updates are currently being held in Sydney and Wollongong . They cover general information about the taxes and duties we administer, as well as recent changes and common mistakes relating to land tax, duties, surcharges, first home benefits and payroll tax.

Register to attend at a location near you or register for one of our webinars online.

Attendance at a seminar or webinar qualifies you for continuing professional development (CPD) points.

December

Who is the NSW Valuer General?

The Valuer General is an independent statutory officer appointed by the Governor of NSW to oversee the valuation system.

The Valuer General values all land in NSW as at 1 July each year. The land values are used by:

  • councils to calculate and distribute rates.
  • Revenue NSW to calculate land tax liability.

The Valuer General is also responsible for determining the amount of compensation an acquiring authority must pay when land is compulsorily acquired.

Visit valuergeneral.nsw.gov.au for more information.

NSW 2019 land values

The Acting NSW Valuer General, Paul Chudleigh, will release the land values for 2.6 million properties across NSW on 8 January 2020.

Land values will be available on the Valuer General’s website at valuergeneral.nsw.gov au together with land value summaries that contain information on:

  • Land value trends for residential, commercial, industrial and rural land
  • Median land values and sale prices
  • Typical land values
  • Added value of improvement table for residential properties
  • Valuation reports.

Notices of Valuation will be issued for all properties in NSW from January to April 2020.

Payroll Tax Exemption for Bushfire Volunteers

With the current Bushfire Emergency in NSW, any wages paid to an employee while volunteering with the Rural Fire Service (RFS) or an emergency services organisation will be exempt from payroll tax in NSW.

This exemption applies to wages paid to an employee who is:

  • taking part in bushfire fighting activities as a volunteer member of a Rural Fire Service under the Rural Fires Act 1997
  • engaging in emergency operations as a volunteer member of an emergency services organisation under the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989.

This exemption will only apply for the specific leave days they were engaged in the above volunteer work. It does not apply to wages that are paid as annual leave, long service leave or sick leave.

Make sure your employee provides you with a letter from the RFS or emergency services organisation to support your deduction.

Jobs Action Plan – Change to when anniversary claims need to be lodged

On 18 November 2019, the Chief Commissioner published a new Payroll Tax Rebate (Jobs Action Plan) revenue ruling. The revenue ruling, JAP 003, states that from 16 December 2019 all claims for the rebate must be made within 90 days of the anniversary date of new position. To view the revenue ruling and to find out more information regarding the Jobs Action Plan Rebate, please visit the Revenue NSW website.

Small Business Grant - Change to when grant claims need to be lodged

On 18 November 2019, the Chief Commissioner published a revenue ruling for the Small Business Grant Incentive Scheme. The revenue ruling, SBG 001, states that from 16 December 2019 all grant claims must be made within 90 days of the anniversary date of new position.  To view the revenue ruling and to find out more information regarding the Small Business Grant Incentive Scheme, please visit the Revenue NSW website.


2018

February

This month, we talk about Land Tax registration and online services, duties concessions, and payroll tax issues. We also look at some recent court cases on land tax and payroll tax.

For feedback and ideas for future issues, please email us.

Land tax online Notice of Assessment

Did you know your Land Tax Notice of Assessment can now be viewed online? Visit the land tax page and log in to our online services to view the assessment, arrange payment or advise us of any changes to yours, or your client’s, details.

To log in, you need a client ID and correspondence ID, which are found on the top right-hand corner of the last year’s assessment notice, or any other recent land tax correspondence.

If you have any questions, please contact us on 1300 139 816, between 8:30am and 5:00pm (AEST) Monday to Friday. If you are overseas, you can contact us on +61 2 9761 4956.

No double duty

Section 8 of the Duties Act 1997 (the Act) charges duty on a transfer of dutiable property, as well as on an agreement for the sale or transfer of dutiable property. However, section 18(2) of the Act provides that no double duty is payable where a transfer of dutiable property reflects exactly what an agreement for the sale or transfer of the dutiable property sets out. If duty has been paid on the agreement, the transfer is chargeable with a concessional duty amount of $10.

Section 18(3) further extends this provision to situations where the transferee under the transfer and the purchaser under the agreement are “related persons” as defined by the Dictionary of the Act. This requirement must be met both at the time the agreement was entered into, and at the completion or settlement of the agreement. The section now also allows for some transactions where the purchaser under the agreement is a trustee.

For more information, see Revenue Ruling DUT 010 v2.

Wages paid by or to third parties for payroll tax

In nearly all cases employees are paid by their employers. The same applies to directors that are remunerated by their corporations. To counter any potential avoidance, based on changing that arrangement, there are provisions that deal with:

  1. The wages of an employee or director being paid to some other person, or
  2. The wages of an employee or director being paid by someone other than their employer, and
  3. The wages of an employee or director being paid to some other person by a person other than their employer.

Employees do not normally have their wages subject to the third party provisions but directors, contractors and consultants often have remuneration paid for their services to corporations and trustees. If a director provides services to a corporation all payments relating to that service are wages for the corporation the services were provided to, even if the payments are paid to another company or to a superannuation fund or other entity.

For more information, go to Section 46 of the Payroll Tax Act 2007.

Foreign delegations

We hosted representatives from foreign revenue agencies in recent months, including China, South Korea and Nepal, to share ideas on how each of our respective organisations operate. Each of these delegations were very impressed with Revenue NSW processes, structures and services.

Case summaries

Land tax

Teebee Holdings Pty Ltd ATF Teebee Property Trust v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 338

The main issue in this case involved determining whether or not land that has multiple zoning could be treated as rural land. The tribunal member found that unless all of the land had rural zoning, it could not be argued that the parcel was rural land. As such, the commerciality tests for primary production land needed to be met for an exemption to be granted.

Read more about this case.

Payroll tax

Cessnock Tyres Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 368

This case involved a few businesses that were each run by members of the same family. The applicant argued that they were distinct businesses and should not be grouped for payroll tax purposes. The Tribunal member found that because the businesses conducted similar businesses under a common website, as well as using their connection to attain group discounts, the Chief Commissioner’s decision not to ungroup the businesses was correct.

Read more about this case.

April

This month we talk about the surcharge for Land Tax and Duty, Payroll Tax thresholds, the annual adjustment to the NSW Health Insurance Levy, and the Work and Development Order (WDO) Annual Report.

We also look at the NSW Government’s Youth Engagement Strategy and NSW Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme and Funeral Assistance Fund.

For feedback and ideas for future issues, please email us.

Surcharge Land Tax and Duty - Residential Premises that are not Dwellings

From 21 June 2016, surcharge land tax and duty applies to residential land. Revenue Ruling G011 explains where surcharge will not apply to a residential premise that is not considered to have a residence.

If approved by the Chief Commissioner the following are considered not to be a dwelling (and not subject to surcharge): Hotels, Motels, Inns, Hostels, Boarding Houses, Student accommodation, Aged care and other care facilities, Bed and breakfast accommodation, Caravan and home parks, serviced apartments, cottages and villas.

Payroll Tax

Did you know … If you claim the tax free threshold and are grouped with another business, you must include their wages in your annual return. Wages paid by other group members in any Australian State or Territory are part of the group’s total Australian wages. These determine the group’s NSW threshold entitlement. For more information on what is a liable wage in each State/Territory, refer to that State/Territory’s website.

You can find out more from the Revenue NSW website or get in touch by contacting us on 1300 139 815.

To work out your threshold entitlement for the current financial year, please refer to the below sample calculation. Please note that the online monthly calculator and annual reconciliation will calculate your threshold entitlement for you.

Group employer claiming the threshold and lodging as a Designated Group Employer (DGE)

Employment dates: 1 July 2107 – 30 June 2018
DGE’s NSW Wages = $500,000
DGE’s Interstate Wages = $1,400,000

Other Group Member’s Interstate Wages = $100,000
Total Group Australian Wages = $2,000,000

Step 1: Calculate threshold entitlement for DGE

(Group's NSW wages / Group's total Australian wages) x Annual threshold = Threshold entitlement

Example:

($500,000 / $2,000,000) x $750,000 = $187,500

Step 2: Calculate tax payable for DGE

(Group's NSW wages - Threshold entitlement) x Tax rate = Tax payable

Example:

($500,000 - $187,500) x 5.45% = $17,031.25

Annual Adjustment of the NSW Health Insurance Levy

The health Insurance levy rate will increase on 1 April 2018. The levy was introduced in 1982 to fund the NSW Ambulance Service.  Businesses that sell hospital insurance policies pay a compulsory monthly levy based on the number of single people and families who take out hospital insurance.

The levy is adjusted annually in line with movements in the consumer price index and average weekly earnings, using data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Individuals and families who have private hospital insurance do not have to pay emergency ambulance transport fees charged by the NSW Ambulance Service.
The new rate, effective from 1 April 2018, will be $1.53 per week for a single person and $3.06 for a family.

WDO Annual Report

A Work and Development Order (WDO) is an order that allows people who are experiencing significant hardship to reduce fines debts through voluntary participation in unpaid work, courses, treatment, and programs.

The first WDO Annual Report is now published for the 2016/17 Financial Year. It provides an overview of the WDO scheme for interested parties.

Key highlights from the 2016/17 annual report include:

  • 23,122 WDOs approved (up 29 per cent on previous year)
  • $27.6m in fines resolved
  • 485 new WDO sponsors approved (representing a 28 per cent sponsor growth over 12 months)

Youth Engagement Strategy

Revenue NSW manages fines debt for our younger customers at a lower rate compared to adult customers. Therefore, the Youth Engagement Strategy was developed in 2015 to enhance youth engagement towards resolving outstanding debts.

The strategy was reviewed, revamped and relaunched on 1 November 2017 and targeted at customers 18 years and under, with a strong focus on early intervention towards a debt-free lifestyle. Revenue NSW performed proactive case management to assist young customers in understanding the options available to manage their outstanding debts.

For more information, contact 1300 650 394 Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

NSW Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme and Funeral Assistance Fund

NSW Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme and Funeral Assistance Fund

In July 2017 the NSW Government started making compensation payments of $75,000 for the act of removal or committal of Aboriginal children known as the Stolen Generation. The scheme is publicly advertised and we invite anyone who was removed or committed up until 1969 to apply to the scheme. The scheme will run for five years to ensure survivors have sufficient time to make a claim.

The NSW Government will also establish an additional Stolen Generations Funeral Assistance Fund.

This Fund will provide payments of $7,000 to contribute to the costs of funerals for members of the Stolen Generation. More information can be found here.

Eligible people can protect their compensation from debt recovery by contacting Aboriginal Affairs on 1800 019 998, or Revenue NSW on 1300 135 627.

June

This month we talk about the surcharge for Land Tax and Duty, Payroll Tax thresholds, the annual adjustment to the NSW Health Insurance Levy, and the Work and Development Order (WDO) Annual Report.

We also look at the NSW Government’s Youth Engagement Strategy and NSW Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme and Funeral Assistance Fund.

For feedback and ideas for future issues, please email us.

Surcharge Land Tax and Duty - Residential Premises that are not Dwellings

From 21 June 2016, surcharge land tax and duty applies to residential land. Revenue Ruling G011 explains where surcharge will not apply to a residential premise that is not considered to have a residence.

If approved by the Chief Commissioner the following are considered not to be a dwelling (and not subject to surcharge): Hotels, Motels, Inns, Hostels, Boarding Houses, Student accommodation, Aged care and other care facilities, Bed and breakfast accommodation, Caravan and home parks, serviced apartments, cottages and villas.

Payroll Tax

Did you know … If you claim the tax free threshold and are grouped with another business, you must include their wages in your annual return. Wages paid by other group members in any Australian State or Territory are part of the group’s total Australian wages. These determine the group’s NSW threshold entitlement. For more information on what is a liable wage in each State/Territory, refer to that State/Territory’s website.

You can find out more from the Revenue NSW website or get in touch by contacting us on 1300 139 815.

To work out your threshold entitlement for the current financial year, please refer to the below sample calculation. Please note that the online monthly calculator and annual reconciliation will calculate your threshold entitlement for you.

Group employer claiming the threshold and lodging as a Designated Group Employer (DGE)

Employment dates: 1 July 2107 – 30 June 2018
DGE’s NSW Wages = $500,000
DGE’s Interstate Wages = $1,400,000

Other Group Member’s Interstate Wages = $100,000
Total Group Australian Wages = $2,000,000

Step 1: Calculate threshold entitlement for DGE

(Group's NSW wages / Group's total Australian wages) x Annual threshold = Threshold entitlement

Example:

($500,000 / $2,000,000) x $750,000 = $187,500

Step 2: Calculate tax payable for DGE

(Group's NSW wages - Threshold entitlement) x Tax rate = Tax payable

Example:

($500,000 - $187,500) x 5.45% = $17,031.25

Annual Adjustment of the NSW Health Insurance Levy

The health Insurance levy rate will increase on 1 April 2018. The levy was introduced in 1982 to fund the NSW Ambulance Service.  Businesses that sell hospital insurance policies pay a compulsory monthly levy based on the number of single people and families who take out hospital insurance.

The levy is adjusted annually in line with movements in the consumer price index and average weekly earnings, using data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Individuals and families who have private hospital insurance do not have to pay emergency ambulance transport fees charged by the NSW Ambulance Service.
The new rate, effective from 1 April 2018, will be $1.53 per week for a single person and $3.06 for a family.

WDO Annual Report

A Work and Development Order (WDO) is an order that allows people who are experiencing significant hardship to reduce fines debts through voluntary participation in unpaid work, courses, treatment, and programs.

The first WDO Annual Report is now published for the 2016/17 Financial Year. It provides an overview of the WDO scheme for interested parties.

Key highlights from the 2016/17 annual report include:

  • 23,122 WDOs approved (up 29 per cent on previous year)
  • $27.6m in fines resolved
  • 485 new WDO sponsors approved (representing a 28 per cent sponsor growth over 12 months)

Youth Engagement Strategy

Revenue NSW manages fines debt for our younger customers at a lower rate compared to adult customers. Therefore, the Youth Engagement Strategy was developed in 2015 to enhance youth engagement towards resolving outstanding debts.

The strategy was reviewed, revamped and relaunched on 1 November 2017 and targeted at customers 18 years and under, with a strong focus on early intervention towards a debt-free lifestyle. Revenue NSW performed proactive case management to assist young customers in understanding the options available to manage their outstanding debts.

For more information, contact 1300 650 394 Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

NSW Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme and Funeral Assistance Fund

NSW Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme and Funeral Assistance Fund

In July 2017 the NSW Government started making compensation payments of $75,000 for the act of removal or committal of Aboriginal children known as the Stolen Generation. The scheme is publicly advertised and we invite anyone who was removed or committed up until 1969 to apply to the scheme. The scheme will run for five years to ensure survivors have sufficient time to make a claim.

The NSW Government will also establish an additional Stolen Generations Funeral Assistance Fund.

This Fund will provide payments of $7,000 to contribute to the costs of funerals for members of the Stolen Generation. More information can be found here.

Eligible people can protect their compensation from debt recovery by contacting Aboriginal Affairs on 1800 019 998, or Revenue NSW on 1300 135 627.

September

In this edition of Revenews, we update you on the increase in the payroll tax threshold for 2018-19 and announce a milestone.

We let you know how we're reducing the red tape in the conveyancing process, and share how small changes are having big impacts in protecting our customers.

We include the ways we’re assisting those affected by drought and let you know which updated browser you need to securely access our website.

For feedback and ideas for future issues, please email us.

Increasing payroll tax thresholds

The 2018-19 NSW Budget increased the payroll tax threshold to $850,000. It will increase to $900,000 in 2019-20, $950,000 in 2020-21 and $1 million in 2021-22.

The tax rate remains at 5.45 per cent.

If your business is eligible to claim an exemption for accommodation and motor vehicle allowances, the following rates can be used for the 2018-19 financial year:

Accommodation allowance = $278.05 per night

Motor vehicle allowance = 66 cents per business kilometre

You must have evidence of your claims.

If you have any questions about payroll tax, call us on 1300 139 815 or email payrolltax@revenue.nsw.gov.au.

If you’re new to payroll tax, contact one of our customer account advisors on 02 9761 9307 or email prt.newclient@revenue.nsw.gov.au.

Another milestone for Work and Development Orders

The Work and Development Order (WDO) scheme helps people who are homeless or in serious financial hardship, and those who have serious medical, mental health or addiction problems, cognitive impairment or intellectual disability, clear their debts by doing something for the community.

In May 2018, we approved the 100,000th WDO application, which means we have assisted at least 100,000 vulnerable people in communities across NSW.

The WDO scheme has now cleared over $100 million in unpaid fines.

A huge thanks to our WDO sponsors, including not-for-profit organisations, government agencies and health practitioners.

Reducing red tape for duties

We’re constantly looking for ways to reduce red tape in the conveyancing process.

You now no longer need to submit a separate statutory declaration for ‘Off the Plan’ purchases (ODA 14) to defer your 12-month duty.

Information is now collected through the purchaser/transferee declaration, which is completed by all parties involved in the conveyance. For more information, see the explanatory notes to the declaration.

Protecting our customers

In 2016, we implemented a prescribed amount that could not be drawn from a person's bank account through a garnishee order (GO) to repay a fine or fee.

At the same time, we decided to enforce only one $65 garnishee order per customer, regardless how many GOs had been issued to that customer.

Since these changes were made, requests for GO-related refunds have dropped by 58 per cent and costs associated with issuing a GO have fallen by 84 per cent.

On 30 June 2018, the Civil Procedure Act 2005 was amended to formalise the protected amount and the court was given powers to vary GOs if satisfied that it’s appropriate to do so.

To have legislative support is a great to step forward in continuing to protect our customers and deliver fairer outcomes to the community.

Assisting those affected by the drought

If you’re affected by the drought and have difficulty meeting your obligations, call us on 1300 139 815. We have various ways that may help you.

There is also a $500 million Emergency Drought Relief Package, including drought transport subsidies, available through the Department of Primary Industries.

Updating our website security

We’re making changes to our website infrastructure to improve security and performance.

To make sure you can use our website securely, you will need to update your browser to one of the following:

  • Chrome 30
  • Firefox 27
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Safari 7


2017

August

This month, we check your understanding of different road rules for bus lanes and bus only lanes so you can avoid committing an offence. There are also updates on landholder duty and court proceedings on land tax, payroll tax and duties matters.

For those operating a business or assisting with accounting, be sure to explore payroll tax when it comes to employee allowances in our article below. Business owners owe payroll tax if their business wages go beyond the threshold of $750,000. It is also worth boosting your payroll tax know-how by taking part in an upcoming seminar or webinar.

We welcome your feedback on Revenews - please email us.

Don't make fuss if you're not a bus!

Can you tell the difference between a bus lane and bus only lane? Whereas only public buses can use bus only lanes, bus lanes can be used by bicycles, licensed taxis, motor bikes and emergency service vehicles. Ride sharing vehicles must not use bus lanes. Entering a bus lane to make a turn is permitted, as long as you travel less than 100m in the bus lane.

Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has more information on bus lanes. If you misuse a bus lane, you may be penalised for the offence. We receive and process fines for road-related offences issued by RMS. Make sure that you don’t have to hear from us by travelling safely in line with NSW road rules.

Payroll tax allowances

For business owners liable for payroll tax, it helps to know how the tax applies to allowances you pay to your employees. Most allowances must be taken into account for payroll tax purposes. The only allowances where payroll tax does not apply include:

For 2017-18, the amount of overnight accommodation exempted from payroll tax is $266.70 per night. For motor vehicle allowances, the exempt component that can be deducted is 66 cents per business kilometre. Remember to keep evidence, such as receipts or diaries, for any exempt components you claim.

If Fringe Benefits Tax requirements apply to an allowance, such as the Living Away From Home Allowance, it is only ever treated as a fringe benefit for payroll tax purposes.

For more information about the liability of allowances and their exempt components, see Revenue ruling PTA 011 – Allowance and Reimbursements.

Updated landholder duty forms

Landholder duty applies when ownership of land changes through acquisition of shares or units in a company or trust that owns the land. The requirements concern trusts and companies that have land holdings in NSW of at least $2 million. For more information, see landholder duty.

When you become liable for landholder duty, or claim an exemption, you need to complete a form. All landholder duty forms have been updated following changes from the 2017 State Budget. They fulfil Commonwealth Reporting Requirements and identify foreign persons for surcharge purchaser duty.

No double duty

NSW laws set out that duty is charged on:

  • an agreement for the sale or transfer of property to which duty applies, and
  • the resulting transfer of that property.

Instead of charging the duty twice, if duty has been paid on the agreement, the transfer is charged a concessional duty amount of $10.

For more information, see Revenue Ruling DUT 010 v2.

Case summaries

Payroll tax

Sydney Flooring Pty Ltd and Sydney Flooring 1959 Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 96 (3 April 2017)

The question was whether five floor installers in all were each engaged by the taxpayers under the ‘relevant contract’ provisions in the Payroll Tax Act 2007 for the 2010 to 2013 tax years.

The evidence did not sufficiently demonstrate that each of the five contractors engaged in providing services to others. Furthermore, the contractors did not engage any others to provide the services, seek/secure their own customers, set or negotiate their own prices, or conduct their own activities in a way which demonstrated that they run an independent business.

The assessment under review was remitted to the Chief Commissioner for re-determination in accordance with the Tribunal’s decision.

Read more about this case.

Land tax

Brown Cavallo Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 18 (11 January 2017)

This case looked at whether the taxpayer’s claim of the primary production exemption was valid. The exemption was sought for non-rural land at Woolgoolga of 2.987 hectares, used for beef cattle by the company, Tallawudjah.

The Tribunal determined that the taxpayer had satisfactorily proved that:

  • the main use of the land during the relevant period was to maintain beef cattle for sale, and
  • the land was used commercially in order to generate profit, on an ongoing basis.

As a result, the Tribunal held that the use of the Woolgoolga Land satisfied the requirements of section 10AA(2) of the Land Tax Management Act 1956, qualifying for the primary production exemption for the relevant period.

This decision was appealed by the Chief Commissioner and was heard on 25 June 2017. The decision is awaited.

Read more about this case.

Theophilas v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 89 (24 May 2017)

The taxpayer sought a review of his land tax assessment for the 2015 tax year for a Randwick property. The property was acquired in 1992 and used as his principal place of residence (PPR) until 2011. Right before the Randwick property was demolished in September 2011, the taxpayer moved to a property he had inherited at Panania.

The Tribunal found that the taxpayer using and occupying the Panania property entitled them to the PPR exemption (Clause 2 of Schedule 1A of the Land Tax Management Act 1956) for that property. The PPR concessions were found not to be valid for the Randwick property because:

  • it was unoccupied land
  • of the owner’s absence from his former residence
  • the home had been demolished and the land did not have a building on it for residential purposes, so the land could not be classified as residential land.

Finally, the taxpayer could not elect the Randwick property as the PPR for his family, as a family is made up of at least two people.

For these reasons, the PPR exemption did not apply.

Read more about this case.

Duties

Esplanade Wollongong Unit Trust v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 157 (19 May 2017)

A transfer was signed transferring the whole of a real estate property from Belmore to the taxpayer where nominal duty was sought on the basis that the transfer merely reflected a change in trustee.

The taxpayer asserted there was a mistake, and that one half interest in the property should be held by Belmore in its own right.

The Tribunal found that there was no mistake and that on the evidence it was not possible to conclude that a half interest was initially purchased by Belmore as trustee. As a result, the change of trustee concessional duty provision did not apply. This is currently under appeal.

Read more about this case.

September

This edition covers recent news such as the announcement about Revenue NSW - our new name that came into effect on 31 July. We also recap our recent seminars and acknowledge how our customers are driving innovation that is set to improve the service we deliver.

You may have also noticed our new look enews, introduced to make Revenews easier for our readers to navigate. We hope you like it.

For feedback and ideas for future issues, please email us.

Revenue NSW – your State revenue management agency

Since 31 July 2017, the Office of State Revenue (OSR) and State Debt Recovery (SDR) are referred to as Revenue NSW. This change emphasises our role as the State’s revenue management agency.

Revenue NSW collects revenue, resolves fines and recovers debt to secure around $30 billion each year for health, education and other government priorities. We also administer grants for small business investment and housing affordability. In these ways, we contribute to a fair and prosperous NSW.

All of our administrative functions continue under the new Revenue NSW name. Our payment and collection systems and applications have not changed.

In announcing our new name, we also launched these key initiatives:

  • a new Customer Charter – our public commitment of what to expect in your dealings with us so we can make it easier for customers to do business with our agency
  • an enhanced eNominations fines service that is now mobile-friendly – so you can conveniently transfer a driving offence to the person responsible, with your smartphone or internet device, and receive an on-the-spot update that your transaction is being processed. This means you no longer have to complete a paper statutory declaration and have it witnessed
  • a consolidated website: www.revenue.nsw.gov.au – combining the separate OSR and SDR sites.

Such initiatives build on achievements delivered during the past financial year. Take a look at the achievements summary listed on our About us web page. These examples demonstrate our strong customer focus, which we take forward as Revenue NSW to deliver even better services for our NSW community.

For more information:

Parking space levy

If you own a parking space in a leviable district in the Sydney metropolitan area on 1 July 2017, you may be liable to pay parking space levy.

The levy applies to any residential and non-residential off-street space used or reserved for a motor vehicle, including:

  • commercial and office parking spaces
  • parking spaces in parking stations
  • marked and unmarked spaces
  • vacant land used for parking motor vehicles
  • car spaces in a residential block not used by the owner or tenant.

Parking space levy annual returns for the 2017-18 financial year are due on Friday 1 September 2017.

Read more about parking space levy.

Handing customers the controls through our Co-Lab

In 2016 we opened the Co-Lab – an area designed for meeting our customers and getting feedback on how we can improve their experiences in dealing with us. In July, we had fines customers participate in interviews for us to better understand their experiences when making a request to review their fine or nominating the driver responsible for an offence. We will be inviting land tax customers to the Co-Lab for interviews and focus groups for their say on a range of new service enhancements soon.

We are embarking on several initiatives to improve your experience in dealing with us. If you want to be involved in providing feedback on any future co-design projects in our Parramatta Co-Lab, please email the Customer Insights team.

We hope to hear from you soon.

Shorter, simpler purchaser/transferee declarations

Everyone who purchases or acquires land in NSW must complete a purchaser/transferee declaration. This meets Commonwealth and NSW reporting needs.

There are two declarations, one for individuals and one for non-individuals. Both can be filled out electronically. Take care to understand the explanatory notes before filling out the form so you can be sure of meeting your obligations.

You can find out more and access the declarations from the Revenue NSW website.

Money knowledge noticed globally

After we successfully returned $15 million in unclaimed money to 6,324 customers during the last financial year, representatives from Nairobi’s Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) were keen to apply insights about our processes and systems to improve UFAA’s capacity to return funds to the rightful owners. The UFAA manages all Kenya’s unclaimed property, except land, for the national and county governments.

The meeting had many positive outcomes with both parties learning something new.

“UFAA knew that Revenue NSW dealt with unclaimed money, which is directly relevant to their function,” Revenue NSW Director, Advisory and Review, Jane Dudley, said.

“Our guests showed a particular interest in the reconciliation process for businesses to upload unclaimed money to Revenue NSW and in the regulation and perception of money finding agents.”

To identify unclaimed money in your name, use our online search and claim facility.

State Taxes Updates and Payroll Tax Annual Reconciliation seminars

Thank you to the attendees who took part in 19 face-to-face State Taxes Update seminars in the Sydney metropolitan and surrounding areas. The seminars, held between 22 June and 19 July, covered recent amendments announced in the State budget. Other topics included duties, land tax, payroll tax and foreign surcharges, as well as information on grants, rebates and benefits provided by us.

The seminars were well received, with participants providing comments including:

  • “Informative sessions, thank you!” – Burwood session
  • “The presenters are fantastic” – Hornsby session
  • “Good speakers, clear answers to questions received” – Parliament House session

During this period, we also conducted 23 Payroll Tax Annual Reconciliation seminars with some venues fully booked. These seminars provided a demonstration of the online 2017 Annual Reconciliation and an overview of NSW payroll tax liability, exemptions and rebates.

This was a great opportunity for attendees to ask questions of our payroll tax experts. Questions focused on grouping, contractors, and the Jobs Action Plan Rebate. A lot of positive feedback was received, including “Very friendly trainers” and “Provided the answers to questions very clearly”.

If you missed out on either event, you can view the seminar notes online.

Payroll tax new clients

If your business is working out its obligations around payroll tax for the first time, our customer account advisors are here to help.

Your dedicated customer account advisors will help you with all legislative or administrative enquiries during your first year of registration, providing:

  • a single point of contact for all payroll tax legislative and administrative enquiries
  • high level tax technical assistance
  • information about your rights and obligations
  • free payroll tax seminars and online resources
  • help using our website resources and calculators
  • assistance to correctly determine your payroll tax liability.

Get in touch by contacting us on 02 9761 9366 or email.

Case summaries

Payroll tax

Advance Pallets Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 128 (26 April 2017)

The Tribunal confirmed the decision of the Chief Commissioner to impose market rate interest and 20 per cent penalty tax on the taxpayer for the financial years ended 30 June 2011 and 30 June 2013. The taxpayer’s submission was that the tax default occurred because of circumstances beyond its control. The Tribunal rejected this submission. This was primarily on the grounds that, where a taxpayer is a body corporate with two or more directors and the more dominant director is unable to perform his usual functions, it does not follow that the failure to meet its taxation obligations is a result of circumstances beyond the taxpayer as a separate legal entity.

Read more about this case.

Land tax

D W Tolson Management Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 173 (1 June 2017)

To claim an exemption, the taxpayer sought a review of land tax assessments for the 2011 to 2015 land tax years for land at Londonderry where cattle were kept. The taxpayer claimed the land was primarily for growing mushrooms for sale (under section 10AA(3)(f) of the Land Tax Management Act 1956) because:

  • the cattle were maintained solely for the purpose of the disposal of mushroom by-product, notwithstanding that mushroom by-product was not actually fed to the cattle grazing on the land (rather the cattle were weaned on the land and rotated) and
  • the planning and approval for a new mushroom growing facility on the land constituted a use of the land for the purpose of growing mushrooms.

In affirming the Chief Commissioner's assessments, the Tribunal determined that the dominant use of the land was not for growing mushrooms for sale because:

  • the cattle were not even fed mushroom by-product on the land, weakening any link between the cattle and the mushrooms
  • while much money and time was invested in obtaining development consents, no earthworks were conducted during the land tax years in dispute.

Read more about this case.

Spedding Estates Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 117 (13 April 2017)

The taxpayer sought a review of land tax assessments for the 2013 and 2014 land tax years for 'rural land' used for a multifaceted business with three main focuses being primary production, accommodation and a restaurant. A substantial feature of the business was its use as a location for wedding ceremonies, receptions and associated purposes. The main issue considered was whether the primary produce from the land used in meals served to guests amounted to a sale of the produce (under section 10AA(3) of the Land Tax Management Act 1956). The Tribunal determined the dominant use of the land was not primary production and affirmed the Chief Commissioner's assessments.

Read more about this case.

Procedure

T & S Nominees Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue (Costs) [2017] NSWCATAP 104 (11 May 2017)

The taxpayer had failed to appear at the hearing on 1 and 2 February and their appeal was dismissed. The taxpayer then applied for reinstatement of the appeal one day late, and applied to the Appeal Panel to reinstate the appeal. The Appeal Panel refused to extend time and the dismissal decision stood.

The Chief Commissioner then applied for costs of the whole appeal. The Tribunal made an order that the taxpayer pay the Chief Commissioner’s costs of the appeal including the costs of the reinstatement application.

Read more about this case.

October

Are you yet to be reunited with missing funds? Read this month’s unclaimed money story, which reminds businesses to lodge any unclaimed money by the annual 31 October deadline.

Other news includes an Electronic Duties Returns (EDR) system enhancement that came into effect for conveyancers and solicitors processing surcharge purchaser duty, and an update from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) on the new process to qualify for a driver licence.

We also have hints and tips, including information on how unpaid fines could affect your right to drive, updating your land tax assessment, and more.

To share your feedback on Revenews, please email us.

Time to lodge unclaimed money

Each year, businesses must lodge unclaimed money with Revenue NSW so we can process this and make it available through our unclaimed money search.

Enterprises and real estate professionals that held unclaimed money at 30 June 2017 are required to lodge it with Revenue NSW by 31 October 2017.

An enterprise is anyone that holds money on account of another person and operates in NSW, but does not include a bank, building society, credit union or a friendly society.

If you qualify as an enterprise and you are holding unclaimed money in an inactive account for at least six years, you are required to lodge it with Revenue NSW.

If you hold a licence under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 and have unclaimed money that is held in a trust account for more than two years, you are required to lodge it with Revenue NSW.

To lodge your unclaimed money, go to the Revenue NSW website or call 1300 366 016. You can also email your questions to unclaimedmoney@revenue.nsw.gov.au.

Surcharge purchaser duty rate increase  

Foreign persons are required to pay surcharge purchaser duty (SPD) on the purchase of residential real estate in NSW. The surcharge is in addition to the duty payable on the purchase of residential property.

As a result of the 2017 State budget, the SPD rate has increased from 4 to 8 per cent. This applies to all agreements entered into on or after 1 July 2017.

Processing surcharge purchaser duty on Electronic Duties Returns (EDR)

Conveyancers, solicitors and settlement rooms need to be aware of changes to the Revenue NSW EDR system.

Most SPD transactions can now be processed using this system. Transactions processed through the EDR system, which calculates the duty payable, will no longer be assessed by Revenue NSW. The interim arrangements introduced in July 2016 have also been discontinued.

To find out more, go to the Surcharge purchaser duty page.

Licensing changes on the way for young drivers

RMS is improving the Graduated Licensing Scheme to ensure new drivers – in particular young drivers – are safe drivers on our roads. The changes come into effect on 20 November 2017.

The changes mean that:

  • learner drivers will have to complete the Hazard Perception Test before they can take the driving test
  • P1 drivers will no longer have to complete the Hazard Perception Test to get their P2 licence
  • the Driver Qualification Test has been removed for P2 drivers and in its place P2 drivers will have to stay on their licence for an extra 6 months if they receive a suspension for unsafe driving behaviour.

Find out how the changes affect you or someone you know on the Roads and Maritime Services website.

Warning: scam emails and phone calls about fines

We are aware of an email and phone scam that has been affecting the people of NSW recently.

You may have received an email advising you owe money for a fine which provides the details of an Infringement Number starting with "AA".

There were also outbound calls received on Sunday 8 October with the caller stating they are from SDRO and that outstanding debt totalled over $7000. Please note these are both scams and have no affiliation with Revenue NSW.

If you receive a suspicious message, or have any doubts, we advise you to not open any attachments, click on any links, download images or handover any personal details.

The best course of action is to delete the email straight away.  For more information, please visit our website or www.staysmartonline.gov.au

Hints and tips

Sort out unpaid fines now to protect your licence

RMS may not issue a licence, or may suspend it, if you have unpaid fines. If you can’t afford to pay in full, there are other options, such as a payment plan.

Call us now on 1300 655 805 Monday to Friday 7.30am to 8.00pm to discuss your options.

Keep your land tax assessment details up-to-date

Land tax assessment notices for 2018 tax year are issued from mid January 2018. Go to Land tax online service to update your postal address or contact details.

You can also use our online service to provide information relevant to your assessment or to advise of any changes such as:

  • tell us if you have purchased or sold a property
  • request a new exemption or update a current exemption
  • provide account details to allow for electronic refunds
  • update your foreign person status or residential land details
  • provide additional information to support your request.

To log in you will need your Client ID and Correspondence ID located on the front page of your assessment notice.

Our Land tax information provides more details to help you with your assessment.

Surcharge purchaser duty − property purchased  by apparent purchaser

A resulting trust arises where a person (the real purchaser) acquires property in the name of another person (the apparent purchaser), or jointly in the names of both the real and apparent purchasers. An apparent purchaser is taken to be a ‘foreign trustee’ where the real purchaser is a foreign person, and may be liable to surcharge purchaser duty if the property acquired is residential land.

Real and apparent purchaser arrangements must be disclosed to Revenue NSW using the Purchaser/Transferee Declaration Form.

Pay attention to employee shares and options schemes for payroll tax

Sometimes employees, contractors, and directors, are paid for their services through shares and options. Businesses need to be aware that there could be a liability for payroll tax if workers are paid in this way.

If your scheme is an Employee Share Scheme (ESS) as defined in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, then the value of those shares and options minus any  amount paid by the employee will be seen as liable wages. If the grant of the share or option is not an ESS, it may still be liable for payroll tax as a fringe benefit.

Read more about the payroll tax liability of shares and options.

Case summaries

Payroll tax

Strathavon Resort Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 200

Strathavon Resort Pty Ltd owned a property used as a boarding house. The boarding house exemption was allowed for the 2013 and 2014 tax years but not the 2015 and 2016 tax years as the property was not a registered boarding house. All boarding houses in NSW must be registered under the Boarding Houses Act 2012.

The client claimed that:

  • he was not made aware by Revenue NSW that registration was required
  • a delay of Revenue NSW issuing tax assessment notices hindered his awareness of this requirement.

The Tribunal held that the delay of the Chief Commissioner did not change the validity of the assessments. Once a liability for land tax arises, an assessment must be issued, but there is no time limit to do so under the Taxation Administration Act 1996.

The Tribunal did not accept that the customer was misled. Nor had the Chief Commissioner been negligent or breached any statutory duty, as it was clear to the customer that he had to apply for the exemption each year and not assume that once he received an exemption that it continued from year to year.

Read more about this case.

Duties

Al-Jaafaria Society Incorporated v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 283

The Al-Jaafaria Society bought a property and sought an exemption as a charitable and benevolent body under section 275 of the Duties Act 1997.

The Tribunal considered the evidence submitted for the Society’s charitable status including:

  • its accounts
  • evidence given on cross-examination
  • the Society’s website pages.

It concluded the Society’s activities were for religious, recreational and general community purposes and not wholly or predominantly for educational purposes.

This confirmed that the Society was liable to pay duty on the property.

Read more about this case.

Payroll tax

Knight Watch Security Services Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 223

The Tribunal confirmed the decision of the Chief Commissioner to assess Knight Watch Security Services Pty Ltd (Knight Watch) as liable to payroll tax on the basis that it was an employment agent for the purposes of Division 8 of Part 3 of the Payroll Tax Act 2007.

Knight Watch submitted that the Act should be interpreted as only imposing liability on the employment agent closest to the service provider. Alternatively Knight Watch submitted that it was not the employment agent closet to the end user client, and is therefore not liable on the employment agency contracts as per Revenue Ruling No. PTA 027 (the Ruling).

The Tribunal rejected both submissions on the basis that:

  • the Ruling does not have the force of law
  • Division 8 of Part 3 of the Act provides that payroll tax liability is imposed on each employment agent in a chain of multiple employment agents, and
  • section 41 of the Act is designed to avoid double taxation by providing that, if one employment agent has paid payroll tax for providing services connected with an employment agency contract, then no other person (including another employment agent) is liable to pay payroll tax for the same services..

Read more about this case.

December

This month, we will talk about the Australian & New Zealand Fine Enforcement Reference Group (ANZFERG) Conference, what Driver Disqualification Reforms have taken place, First Home Buyers assistance scheme (FHBA) and the rules around if you are liable for Land Tax.

We will also look at court cases about Parking Space Levy, Duties and Payroll Tax.

We welcome your feedback on Revenews - please email us.

Driver disqualification reforms

Driver licence disqualification laws have changed to better protect public safety by lowering illegal driving and repeat offending.

If you are a banned driver and are caught driving, you could face harder punishments. However, if you are following the conditions of your ban, have been fault free for a certain period and your conviction did not involve death or grievous bodily harm, you may now be eligible to have your ban lifted early.

For more information, visit our Driver licence disqualification page.

Land Tax

Do you own a property in NSW? 

If you own land in NSW, that is not your primary place of residence, you may have to pay land tax.

Paying land tax on property you own depends on what land you own, what it is used for, and its total value as at midnight on 31 December each year.

To avoid penalties, you must register for land tax by 31 March 2018.

For more information and to register visit our Land tax page.

Land tax surcharge for foreign persons

If you are not an Australian citizen and own land in NSW, you must pay a surcharge on the taxable value of land you own, in addition to any land tax that you may already pay.

foreign person can include a company, trust or a government.

When you register for land tax, tell us if you are a foreign person. Your land tax assessment will be updated to show how much you need to pay.

To find out more, visit our Land tax surcharge page

Are you a current land tax customer?

If you have to pay land tax on property you own in NSW, you should make sure your details are up-to-date.

Visit our online services page to check and update your contact details, land details and foreign person status, if you are not an Australian resident.

Are you a first home buyer?

On 1 July 2017 the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme replaced the First Home – New Home Scheme. This scheme is a NSW Government initiative which provides exemptions or concessions on transfer duty for eligible NSW first home buyers. This includes vacant land on which you intend to build your first home.

For more information, visit our First Home Buyers Assistance page.

Payroll tax

It's always good when your business is approaching the half-year financial mark to check that you are up to date with your payroll tax.

If you are a payroll tax customer and have any questions, Revenue NSW can help you. Our friendly staff can assist you from 8.30 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday on 1300 139 815. You can also email us: payrolltax@revenue.nsw.gov.au.

We look forward to helping you get it right.

NSW Revenue Fines Conference

From 18 -20 October, government agencies from Australia and New Zealand (ANZFERG) met at a conference in Sydney to discuss how to improve the collection of unpaid fine debt.

In this conference information was shared on how to build a better workforce culture, how to profile vulnerable and repeat customers, have a better relationship with other agencies and manage workloads.

The ideas from the conference would be used moving forward in 2017/18.

Case summaries

Duties

Watts v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 320

The issue in this case was in relation to the concessional rate of duty for deceased estates.

The taxpayer wanted to buy the property for the same price as set by an independent valuation.

The Tribunal found that the deceased estate concession did not apply as it was similar to facts in Sanders v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2002] NSWADT 25.

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Parking space levy

Sterling House 88 v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 279

In this case the taxpayer wanted to claim that they were exempt from parking space levy. The tribunal was satisfied that the evidence provided by the Revenue NSW officers were sufficient enough not to grant an exemption.

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Payroll tax

JP Property Services Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWSC 1391

In this case Revenue NSW had assessed JP Property Services as an employment agent for the contractors they provided for the cleaning of the supermarkets operated by Franklins Pty Ltd.

The taxpayer was claiming that they were not an employment agent and hence should not be assessed as one.

The courts found in the taxpayers' favour, because the services provided by the contractors were out of hours cleaning services and were not provided in and for the conduct of the businesses of Franklins and alike.

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Smeaton Grange Holdings Pty Ltd ATF Smeaton Trust & Ors v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] HCASL 309

On 16 November 2017, the Special Leave application for the High Court to hear the appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeal was refused with costs. The appeal was filed by the taxpayer. The high court confirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal.

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