Libs commit to raising payroll tax threshold

15 February, 2017

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Deidre Willmott has welcomed the State Government’s pledge to lift the payroll tax threshold from $850,000 to $900,000 should it win the 11 March election.

Treasurer Mike Nahan made the announcement at the CCI-organised Election Series breakfast at Crown Perth yesterday. Premier Colin Barnett and Small Business; Finance and Petroleum Minister Sean L'Estrange also took centre stage.

“Our own research shows that business will be able to create some 450 jobs just from that one change so it’s incredibly important,” Willmott told more than 230 business leaders.

“We also welcome your commitment to further lifting of the threshold should you be successful in the election on 11 March.”

CCI has advocated strongly for both sides of government to commit to raising the payroll tax threshold before abolishing the tax altogether.

CCI-commissioned research has found that lifting the threshold from its current level of $850,000 to $950,000 could create almost 900 jobs – directly and indirectly – with an estimated economic benefit to the State of about $283 million.

“We have focussed particularly on payroll tax, red tape – especially retail trading hours – and a long-term infrastructure plan for WA in this campaign,” Willmott said.

Treasurer Mike Nahan, who compared running the State’s finances to riding the dragon in Game of Thrones, also pledged not to increase or introduce any new taxes during the next election term if elected. 

He said the raising of the payroll tax threshold by $50,000 would save businesses $55 million over the next three years.

Nahan said the Government had raised the threshold several times during its terms of Government because its philosophy is to “leave the money in the pockets of the businesses so they can create jobs”.

“It is the private sector that creates long-term sustainable jobs, not the public sector,” he said.

“The increase in payroll tax threshold from $850,000 to $900,000 we estimate will eliminate 400 businesses paying payroll tax altogether and reduce payroll tax for 11,000 businesses.

“Those 400 which are free from the yoke of payroll tax can go out and invest and the 11,000 with lower tax rates can go out and invest but more importantly create jobs.”

He said the threshold increase would be effective from 1 January 2018. Nahan said the Government would commit to further tax cuts if elected and subject to the State’s finances.

Nahan also announced a Liberal Government would increase the land tax exemption threshold from $300,000 to $360,000 from 1 July 2018.

Meanwhile, L’Estrange announced grants for up to $20,000 for small-medium businesses, matched dollar for dollar by the business, to advance their digital literacy.

He said 25 per cent of businesses did not have a website and this was holding many back from growing their business both in Australia and overseas. The $4m worth of grants over two years would be for available for businesses with 50 staff or less.

► Want to find out how much you could save under the WA Liberals proposed changes to the payroll tax threshold? Test out CCI’s Payroll Tax Calculator today.