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The Victorian Government has announced a range of tax measures, related to land tax, payroll tax and liquor licence fees, to support businesses through Victoria’s State of Emergency, as part of a broader economic survival package to support business and jobs in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

We will regularly update this page with new questions and answers, so check back to stay up to date.

Land tax

Two relief measures have been announced by the Victorian Government:

  1. Land tax deferral - announced on 21 March 2020.
  2. Land tax reduction (25%) for land subject to commercial and residential leases - announced on 15 April 2020.

1. Land tax deferral

Who is eligible for a deferral?

Land owners that own at least one taxable non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million are not required to pay their 2020 land tax assessment until 31 March 2021.

Non-residential property includes commercial property, industrial property, and vacant land (excluding vacant residential land).

How do I know if I am eligible?

If you are eligible, we will notify you that your 2020 land tax assessment has been deferred for payment until or before 31 March 2021. 
You do not need to apply to get this deferral.

How long is the deferral of payment?

The deferral is until 31 March 2021, which means you still have to pay your assessment but you have more time to do so, i.e. on or before 31 March 2021. 

What if I have already paid my 2020 land tax?

You can request a return of the tax you have already paid. The tax will need to be paid in full on or before 31 March 2021.
We will contact all eligible land owners and provide further information, including how to request the return of your payment. You do not need to do anything at this stage and do not need to apply to get this deferral.

Does this measure apply to residential properties?

The measure applies to land owners that own at least one non-residential property and have total taxable landholdings below $1 million. Eligible land owners can defer their entire assessment, which may include residential land.

How do I find my total taxable landholding?

Your property information, including your total taxable landholding, is available in My Land Tax, an online application that enables you to manage your land tax information quickly and easily. Register for My Land Tax now.

2. Land tax reduction (25%) for land subject to commercial and residential leases

Commercial landlords

As a commercial landlord, am I eligible for the tax relief?

If you are a commercial landlord (i.e. your property is under a commercial lease where the tenant conducts a business) and meet the eligibility criteria for tax relief, you can apply for a 25% reduction on the land tax (exclusive of any absentee owner surcharge) for that property, and choose to defer the balance of your assessment until up to 31 March 2021.

To be eligible for tax relief for a tenanted property, you must demonstrate that:

  • Your property is rented.
  • You have provided rent relief to your tenants in accordance with this relief measure because they have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Your tenants have made a declaration to you that they:

Aggregated turnover is the combined turnover of the tenant and any other entity or entities to which the tenant is:

Commercial tenants can make a declaration to you using our SmartForm, which you must include with your application.

To be eligible for tax relief for an untenanted property, you must demonstrate that:

  • Your property was tenanted in March 2020, or was the subject of an executed lease agreement in March 2020, that the tenant did not fulfil.
  • Your property was subsequently vacant for a continuous period of three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a commercial landlord, what rent relief do I need to provide to be eligible for the 25% land tax reduction?

The rent relief you provide must be consistent with the principles of the Support to Landlords and Tenants package announced on 15 April 2020. This includes taking into consideration the reduction in turnover of the tenant as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. More information on these principles for commercial leases is available on the Small Business Commissioner website.

In addition, the rent reduction must be at least the amount of the 25% reduction in the 2020 land tax liability for that property. If a landlord provides rent relief to a tenant which comprises a deferral of rent but not a reduction of rent, the landlord is not eligible for land tax relief. The only exceptions to this are where:

  • land tax is an outgoing which is the contractual responsibility of the tenant (in which case the land tax discount must be passed on to the tenant), or
  • the rent relief is the outcome of an approved mediation process.

Residential landlords

As a residential landlord, am I eligible for the tax relief?

If you are a residential landlord and meet the eligibility criteria for tax relief, you can apply for a 25% reduction on the land tax (exclusive of any absentee owner surcharge) for that property, and choose to defer the balance of your 2020 land tax assessment until up to 31 March 2021.

To be eligible for tax relief for a tenanted property, you must demonstrate that:

  • Your property is rented.
  • You have provided rent relief to your tenants in accordance with this relief measure because at least one of the tenants has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

To be eligible for tax relief for an untenanted property, you must demonstrate that your property:

  • Was tenanted under an eligible agreement in March 2020, or was the subject of an executed eligible agreement in March 2020, that the tenant did not fulfil.
  • Was subsequently vacant for a continuous period of three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a residential landlord, how much rent relief do I need to provide to be eligible for the 25% land tax reduction?

For residential and commercial landlords, the rent reduction (in dollar terms) must be at least 25% of the 2020 proportional land tax for that property.

The rent relief you provide must be consistent with the principles of the Support to Landlords and Tenants package announced on 15 April 2020. This includes taking into consideration the reduction in income of the tenant as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. More information on these principles for residential leases is available on the Consumer Affairs website.

In addition, the rent reduction must be at least the amount of the 25% reduction in the 2020 land tax liability for that property. If a landlord provides rent relief to a tenant that comprises a deferral of rent but not a reduction of rent, the landlord is not eligible for land tax relief. The only exception to this is where the rent relief is the outcome of an approved mediation process.

General

How do I apply for land tax relief as a landlord?

Eligible residential and commercial landlords can apply for the land tax reduction through My Land Tax.

Under this measure, can I still defer my 2020 land tax in full even if I don’t provide rent relief?

No. A landlord must provide a tenant impacted by the coronavirus pandemic with rent relief consistent with the principles of the Support to Landlords and Tenants package in order to be eligible for the land tax reduction and deferral.

What if I can't contact my tenant or they are not paying their rent?

If there are any issues with your tenant:

Once you have reached an agreement with the tenant about rent reduction, you can then apply to for the land tax relief.

How long will the land tax relief scheme be in place?

The land tax relief scheme commenced on 29 March 2020 and will end on 29 September 2020.

I have chosen to use AutoPay Instalments to pay my 2020 land tax. What happens to my scheduled instalments if I apply for land tax relief as a landlord?

If you had set up AutoPay Instalments to pay your 2020 land tax, these direct debits will continue unless you log in to AutoPay and cancel them pending the outcome of your coronavirus land tax relief application.

To cancel your AutoPay Instalments, log in to AutoPay Instalments now. If you do nothing, your direct debits will continue as per the instalment schedule you originally established.

Apply for coronavirus land tax relief

Payroll tax

Two relief measures have been announced by the Victorian Government:

  1. Payroll tax waived for eligible business - announced on 21 March 2020.
  2. Additional payments under the JobKeeper program are now exempt from payroll tax - announced on 5 May 2020.

1. Eligible businesses will have their payroll tax waived for the 2019-20 financial year

What are the eligibility criteria?

Businesses with annual Victorian taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived.

What about the tax I have already paid for the 2019-20 financial year?

We will directly contact eligible businesses in relation to an emergency tax relief refund of payroll tax already paid in the financial year.

When will you start refunding businesses?

We will begin making emergency tax relief refunds from 27 March 2020.

Do I still need to lodge payroll tax returns?

Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year.

Where can I get more information?

We will send eligible businesses more information about these relief measures.

Are there any measures to help me in the 2020-21 financial year?

Yes. Businesses with annual Victorian taxable wages up to $3 million can also defer, until January 2021, paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year.

What if an employer is a member of a group?

The eligibility threshold applies to each employer, so any member of a group that pays Victorian taxable wages of less than $3 million per annum is eligible for the relief.

2. Additional payments under the JobKeeper program are now exempt from payroll tax

Am I eligible for this measure?

All businesses registered for payroll tax that make additional payments to employees as part of the JobKeeper program are eligible for this emergency relief measure.

How much of the wages I pay are exempt from payroll tax?

Any additional payments you make to bridge the gap between an employee’s normal wage and the $1500 per fortnight required to qualify for JobKeeper payments are exempt from payroll tax:

  • For employees who have come to an agreement with their employer to be stood down and not perform any work, the full $1500 paid to them is exempt from payroll tax.
  • For employees paid less than $1500 per fortnight, the payroll tax exemption applies to the difference between their wage and the $1500. For example, to qualify for a JobKeeper payment, an employer must pay an additional $500 to an employee who earns $1000 a fortnight. This additional payment of $500 is exempt from payroll tax.

Do I qualify for JobKeeper payments?

JobKeeper eligibility requirements are set by the Commonwealth Government and are available on the Australian Taxation Office website.

Do I need to apply for this relief?

Businesses do not need to apply for this emergency relief measure. In line with existing payroll tax arrangements, businesses are responsible for:

  • Calculating their payroll tax liability and treating the additional payments as exempt wages.
  • Lodging monthly returns and paying the relevant payroll tax.
  • Maintaining accurate records.
  • Providing evidence that the correct amount of tax was paid if requested by the State Revenue Office.

How do I claim an exemption for wages paid in April 2020?

Businesses that have already lodged their monthly returns for April 2020 and included additional payments in their estimated taxable wages can make adjustments as part of their payroll tax annual reconciliation in July 2020.

What happens with the additional payments and calculating WorkCover premiums?

The additional payments are not included in rateable remuneration for the purposes of calculating WorkCover Premiums. For more information, visit the Worksafe website.

Can you give me some examples in relation to JobKeeper payments?

Example 1 - I have an employee who has been stood down

Patrick has been stood down. Patrick’s employer receives the JobKeeper payment for him and must pay him $1500 per fortnight. To help make it easier for Patrick’s employer to keep him on, the entire $1500 per fortnight paid to Patrick is an additional payment and is exempt from payroll tax.

Example 2 - I have an employee who is ordinarily paid less than $1500 per fortnight

Olivia was working part time and earning $1000 per fortnight before the JobKeeper program was introduced. Olivia continues to work the same hours. Olivia’s employer now receives the JobKeeper payment for her and must pay her an additional $500 per fortnight – a total of $1500 per fortnight. To ensure her employer isn’t being asked to pay additional payroll tax, the additional payment of $500 is exempt from payroll tax. Olivia's normal fortnightly wage of $1000 is not exempt from payroll tax.

Example 3 - I have an employee who is ordinarily paid more than $1500 per fortnight but their pay has been reduced to less than $1500 per fortnight

Priya was earning $1800 per fortnight before the JobKeeper program was introduced. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Priya’s hours have been reduced and her fortnightly wage is now $1 200 per fortnight. Priya’s employer receives the JobKeeper payment for her and must pay her an additional $300 per fortnight – a total of $1500 per fortnight. The additional payment of $300 is exempt from payroll tax. The remaining $1200 of Priya’s fortnightly wage is not exempt from payroll tax.

Example 4 - I have an employee who is currently paid more than $1500 per fortnight

Quinn currently earns $1 800 per fortnight. Consistent with the health restrictions, he continues to work and is paid his normal wage. He also takes a week of paid annual leave at his normal wage. Quinn’s employer qualifies for the JobKeeper program and receives the JobKeeper payment for him. No part of Quinn’s wage is exempt from payroll tax.

Example 5 - I have an employee who is not an eligible employee under the JobKeeper program

Rachel is a casual worker who has been working for her current employer for three months and earns $800 per fortnight. Rachel’s employer is not eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment for her. No part of Rachel’s wage is exempt from payroll tax.

Liquor licence fee relief

2020 renewable liquor licence fees waived

What if I have already paid my licence fee?

We will reimburse you regardless of whether you have paid your licence fee to us or the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

What if I haven’t paid my fee yet?

Your 2020 renewable liquor licence fee will be waived.

Where can I get more information?

You can contact the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

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