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Payroll tax lobbying falls on deaf ears

Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien has rejected calls for the state government to rethink the payroll tax regime for financial advice licensees.

In a letter to Synchron chair Michael Harrison – who has been a longstanding advocate of payroll tax reform for financial services providers – Mr O’Brien makes clear his government is not entertaining the suggestion of a policy change on the issue.

“The current provisions of the payroll tax law remain appropriate,” Mr O’Brien wrote. “I note that no other jurisdiction has accepted your proposal to provide a specific payroll tax exemption for certain financial planners.”

The Victorian treasurer directed Mr Harrison to the federal government, which it says is more appropriately placed to respond to concerns about the effect of “Commonwealth Government regulation of financial planners”.

The letter follows a submission to the FSI from Mr Harrison which argued that current state legislation poses a “double taxation” threat to licensees.

“In recent years there have been a number of cases where state revenue offices have looked at financial advice licensees with a view to identifying payroll tax liabilities,” Mr Harrison wrote.

“Recent examples suggest that the key exemption available for financial advisers is one where, if the financial adviser employs a minimum number of other staff, then the revenue paid to them via the licensee will be exempt from payroll tax assessment.”

Commenting on the letter from the Victorian treasurer, AIOFP executive director Peter Johnston described the payroll tax status quo as a “significant issue that will cause considerable pain to the larger practices unless we do something about it”.

Payroll tax lobbying falls on deaf ears
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