Compliance Update 2021

Stay up to date with your regulatory responsibilities for payroll and HR with our list of major compliance news and alerts.

The legislative and regulatory changes we list here are from Australian territory, state and federal governments, as well as industry regulators such as the Fair Work Commission, Services Australia and the Australian Taxation Office.

Updated super rates and thresholds Date of enactment: 1 July 2021 Several super rates and thresholds have been updated, including Lump Sum D and ETP thresholds, the Maximum Contribution Base (BSE), the superannuation percentage and caps for super contributions and transfer balances. These changes are effective from 1 July 2021.

Updated FBT rates Date of enactment: 1 April 2021 The ATO has published the updated FBT rates for items such as the car parking threshold and reasonable food and drink amounts for employees living away from home (LAFHA).

Changes to casual employment Date of enactment: 27 March 2021 The Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 (the FW Bill) has become law with just a new definition of casual employment surviving unscathed. The bulk of proposed reforms in enterprise bargaining, award simplification and wage theft have been shelved for now. FairWork has published the details of the changes to casual employment.

Superannuation reforms: super ‘stapling’ reminder Date of enactment: 1 July 2021 Under the “Your Future, Your Super” reforms, employees will keep their current superannuation fund when they change jobs unless they nominate to do otherwise. Although the Treasury Laws Amendment (Your Future, Your Super) Bill 2021 has not yet been passed into law, it is expected to be enacted this year.

The first phase of the reforms will commence on 1 July 2021, from which date employers will obtain information about new employee’s existing superannuation fund from the ATO, if it is not provided by the employee.

JobKeeper payroll tax exemption in NSW Date of enactment: Current The NSW Commissioner of State Revenue has clarified the extent to which an exemption from payroll tax applies to the JobKeeper payment.

NZ tax rate increase Date of enactment: 1 April 2021 The New Zealand Inland Revenue Department have introduced a new tax rate effective from 1 April 2021: a top tax rate of 39% applies to annual earnings above $180,000 per annum.

Payroll tax exemptions for ACT businesses Date of enactment: Current The ACT government has announced in its 2020-21 budget that it will extend payroll tax exemptions and waivers for ACT businesses as part of its coronavirus pandemic recovery plans.

Businesses with payroll under $10 million who are in hardship will have interest-free deferrals of payroll tax extended until June 30. Payroll tax exemptions for wages paid to new apprentices or trainees, who were employed after August 1 last year, will also be extended until June 30.

New payroll tax rebates to support Tasmania’s COVID-19 economy Date of enactment: Until 30 June 2022 The Tasmanian government has announced various payroll tax rebates for trainees and apprentices, and youth employees.

WA payroll tax exemption for new apprenticeships Date of enactment: Until 30 September 2021 The Western Australian Government has exempted Western Australian businesses from paying payroll tax on wage subsidies as announced in the 2020-21 Commonwealth Government Budget.

Revised STP Phase 2 mandatory start date Date of enactment: 1 January 2022 The ATO has extended the proposed mandatory start date for Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 by 6 months to 1 January 2022, in response to industry feedback. From 2022, STP reporting will include a breakdown of gross income and allowances, and more employment data. If a payroll software provider or employer may not be able to meet this deadline, a deferral framework will provide a process for an application for a deferral to be made.

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