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Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about payroll tax and Payroll Tax Express (PTX Express).

What are the current payroll tax rates?

The current payroll tax rates are on our website, as well as historical payroll tax rates

How do I register for Payroll Tax (PTX) Express?

It's quick and easy to register online for PTX Express. If you have any questions, email us with the subject line 'PTX Express' or call 13 21 61.

You will receive a receipt number on submission of your registration. This is confirmation that your registration has been submitted, so please keep it for future reference. Most applications are completed within 30 days, however some may take longer if we require further information or due to high volume of registrations requiring processing.

We send you a confirmation letter once we have processed your application. It has your unique customer number and instructions on how to log in to PTX Express where you can manage your payroll tax.

Register for PTX Express

What are my payment obligations?

Each employer registered for payroll tax in Victoria must pay payroll tax monthly unless we approve an annual payment.

We generally approve annual payments only if the tax payable for the previous financial year and the estimated tax payable in the following financial year are below a particular threshold. From 1 July 2021, the threshold is $100,000. 

If approved, you need only lodge an annual reconciliation. We retain the right to review your lodgement and payment cycle at any time.

What are the payroll tax surcharges?

There are 2 payroll tax surcharges which apply if you pay Victorian taxable wages and your Australian wages exceed the first annual threshold of $10 million, with a first monthly threshold of $833,333.

The mental health and wellbeing surcharge commenced from 1 January 2022.

The COVID-19 debt temporary payroll tax surcharge commenced on 1 July 2023, and will apply for 10 years until 30 June 2033.

Both surcharges are calculated on the same basis:

  • Businesses with a national payroll above $10 million will pay a combined 1%. 
  • Businesses with a national payroll above $100 million will pay a combined 2%.

The surcharges only apply to businesses’ Victorian share of wages over these thresholds.

More about the surcharges

How do I lodge a monthly return?

You must lodge your monthly return and pay online by:

  1. Logging in to PTX Express and selecting from the menu to lodge a monthly return.
  2. Selecting the correct liability period, such as 1 July (year) — 31 July (year).
  3. Entering your wages.
  4. Lodging your return.

Payment options are displayed once you have lodged your return.

You must lodge and pay your monthly return on time or penalty tax and interest may apply. 

When is my monthly return due?

Returns must be lodged and paid within 7 days after the close of the month to which the return relates. If the seventh day falls on a weekend or public holiday, your return and payment is due on the next business day.

For example, the payroll tax on wages paid in January must be paid to us by 7 February or the next business day if 7 February falls on a weekend or public holiday.

If no tax is payable for a particular month, your business is required to lodge a 'nil' return via PTX Express.

What payment options are available?

Pay online through PTX Express

The quickest and simplest way to pay is through PTX Express using our secure Westpac-controlled online payment option.

Once you have registered your BSB and account number in PTX Express and upon your approval, we can debit your monthly return from your account and end of year annual reconciliation payments. A dual payment authorisation feature is also available.

Other options

You can also pay by BPAY, credit card and EFT. Once you have lodged your monthly return or annual reconciliation, you can see the payment details for each option.

PTX Express provides you with a unique reference number with each monthly return or annual reconciliation so that you can allocate the payment to the correct return or reconciliation.

Can I make changes to a monthly return once it is lodged?

You can correct a previously lodged monthly return in PTX Express by lodging a replacement monthly return to override it.

Log into PTX Express, select 'Lodge a monthly return' from the PTX Express menu, select the correct return period, such as 1 July (year) — 31 July (year) and choose 'Lodge a replacement monthly return'.

You can then lodge the correct wage details and submit your changes.

How do I lodge the annual reconciliation?

You must use PTX Express to lodge your annual reconciliation and pay online (an e-AR):

  1. Log in to PTX Express.
  2. Select 'Annual Reconciliation' from the menu to lodge an e-AR.
  3. The relevant financial year should be displayed, select 'Begin' from the Actions field.
  4. Review your details, including your employer type and your employing period during the financial year.
  5. Enter your wages.
  6. Review your payroll tax payments made during the financial year for the reconciliation period.
  7. Review the calculation for your amount of tax payable or amount overpaid.
  8. Lodge your e-AR by selecting the 'Lodge' button on the Lodgement page.

A lodgement reference number and payment options are displayed once you have lodged your return.

If you need more information on the e-AR, please refer to the e-AR frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Can I lodge or amend an annual reconciliation from a previous year?

If you need to lodge or amend wages from a previous year, you must supply these via our ‘contact us’ online portal. 

  1. Select ‘payroll tax’.
  2. Select ‘I need to amend prior years annual reconciliation’.
  3. Enter the details and supply the wages and the period the wages belong to.

What happens if my business fails to make a payment or complete its e-AR?

If your business fails to comply with its monthly tax obligations by the seventh of any month, we issue a default assessment including a penalty for non-payment and interest on the unpaid amount.

The amount of penalty tax varies between 5% and 75% of the tax that should have been paid depending on the circumstances for your failure to pay.

Similarly, if you do not complete your e-AR at the end of the financial year and fail to make payment, you will be issued with a default assessment.

What happens if my business makes a late monthly or e-AR payment?

You may be issued a late payment assessment with penalty tax and interest.

How do I update company records?

You must tell us if your company details change during the financial year. This includes addresses (postal, trading and electronic), details of a contact person, wage estimates, grouping changes, legal name or employer status.

Your company records can be easily and quickly updated in PTX Express.

How do I claim a refund?

You can claim a refund on a monthly return for the current financial year by logging into PTX Express, using the 'Apply for Refund' link in the menu and providing the requested details.

If your refund relates to the most recent annual reconciliation, you need to edit your e-AR and relodge it with your updated wage details. You will be able to claim your refund at the end of this process.

If you want to apply for a refund for any other years, please use the 'Apply for a Refund' link in the menu and provide the requested details. 

Is there a full deduction if a business or group employs in other states?

Employers or groups of employers which also pay interstate wages are entitled to a partial deduction in Victoria. This partial deduction is the maximum deduction adjusted by the ratio of the total Victorian taxable wages to total Australian taxable wages. Estimates are provided by the employer in the prior year's annual reconciliation or at the time of registration or by updating your records in PTX Express.

Example: Payroll tax monthly threshold


Interstate Pty Ltd provided estimates of wages for 2021-22 as: 

VIC $2,500,000

Australian $5,000,000 

The monthly deduction is calculated thus: 
$58,333 (base monthly threshold) × estimated Victorian wages $2,500,000 ÷ estimated Australian wages $5,000,000 = pro-rated monthly threshold of $29,166.

If the gross taxable Victorian wages for Interstate Pty Ltd for October 2021 were $205,000, the tax payable would be: 
($205,000 – $29,166) × 4.85%* = $8,527.95. 

*Lower rates apply in regional Victoria

In the annual reconciliation return all employers recalculate the full year's deduction based on actual Victorian and Australian wages. The annual reconciliation is completed electronically and can be accessed from mid-June via PTX Express

What is the definition of an employee?

Revenue ruling PTA-038 provides information about employment relationships to assist employers, principals and their professional representatives determine whether their workers are common law employees.

Do I have to pay the mental health and wellbeing surcharge?

You must pay the surcharge if:

  • you pay Victorian taxable wages, and
  • your Australian wages exceed the first annual threshold of $10 million.

If your Australian wages exceed $100 million, you must pay an additional surcharge.

Read our FAQs for more information about this surcharge. 

Last modified: 20 March 2024
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