Payroll tax in CCI sights

The West Australian, December 8, 2016:

WA’s peak business lobby has elevated payroll tax relief to the top of its wish list for the State election amid claims it is a handbrake on employment.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has seized on WA’s nosediving economy to demand both major political parties commit to lifting the payroll tax threshold if they win government.

With WA unemployment increasing to a nation-leading 6.5 per cent, the CCI will today release its election wish list naming payroll tax costs as the biggest impediment to job creation. In WA, registered businesses with a wages bill exceeding $850,000 a year are liable to pay the tax.

As a first step, the CCI has called for the immediate indexation of the payroll tax threshold to the consumer price index in a bid to avoid “bracket creep” snaring extra businesses.

It also wants the next government to increase the threshold $50,000 a year. Long term, the CCI is looking for both sides of politics to lift the payroll tax threshold to $1.5 million.

The CCI’s push comes after the WA Nationals sought to tie their proposed $5-a-tonne iron ore tax on BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto to wider payroll tax relief for small and medium-sized businesses.

CCI chief executive Deidre Willmott said WA’s payroll tax rate was keeping people from being employed and the time to act was “now”.

Karragullen Cool Storage chief financial officer Sam Russo said he would be able to employ more staff if it were not for payroll tax.