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Payroll tax de-grouping


Payroll tax legislation invariably includes “grouping” rules, the effect of which is to group related employer entities so that only one threshold for wages is available for the group. In recognition of the broad ambit of the grouping provisions, they are accompanied by provisions that allow the revenue authority to “de-group” employers.

The purpose of this article is to take stock of the case law about the grouping provisions, and to suggest ways to assist practical compliance, principled decision-making and dispute resolution. The author also believes that it is important to consider group members’ exposure to others’ debts. The article discusses whether grouping and de-grouping amounts to taxation by discretion, with some suggestions concerning principled decision-making, recent case law about grouping and de-grouping, common taxpayer mistakes and misconceptions, whether the revenue authority asks the right questions when considering de-grouping applications, and recovery issues when part of the group fails.

Author profile

David Marks CTA
David W Marks, QC, CTA is a Barrister at the Queensland Bar, with an extensive practice principally in tax, and more generally in equity and commercial matters. David was admitted as a solicitor in 1992, as a barrister in 2000, and took silk in 2015. He is an interstate member of the SA Bar Association. David contributes to tax law & policy submissions, for The Tax Institute, as a member of TTI technical committees. He is a past member of Qld’s State Council and Education Committee. In 2013, David received TTI’s Meritorious Service Award. - Current at 02 March 2017
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