Exempt employees for payroll tax

Wages you pay to apprentices and trainees may be exempt from payroll tax.

To be regarded as an apprentice or trainee for payroll tax purposes, the employee must sign a training contract with their employer to undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship declared under the Further Education and Training Act 2014 (PDF, 996KB).

Apprentices

An apprentice is a person who is trained in a skilled trade and will, on completing training, become a qualified tradesperson (e.g. electrician, plumber, cabinet-maker, auto mechanic).

Exempt wages

Wages paid to apprentices are exempt if:

  • the employment-based training is declared by the chief executive of the Department of Education and Training to be an apprenticeship
  • and
  • the wages are paid in the course of the apprenticeship.

Non-exempt wages

Wages paid to apprentices are not exempt if:

  • they are for periods before or after the apprenticeship
  • they are for roles or duties other than those specified in the apprentice contract (where the apprentice has multiple roles or duties).

Example

Peter is employed by Goodbake Pty Ltd as an apprentice pastry chef. To make some extra money, he works in the Goodbake store as a retail assistant every second weekend. Because working in the shopfront does not form part of his normal apprenticeship duties, any wages paid to Peter while working in this role are not exempt.

Trainees

A trainee is a person trained in a vocational area (e.g. office administration, information technology, hospitality) and will, on completing their traineeship, receive a qualification in their chosen vocational area.

Exempt wages

Wages paid to trainees are exempt if all the following apply:

  • the employment-based training is declared by the chief executive of the Department of Education and Training to be a traineeship
  • the wages are paid in the employee's capacity as a trainee
  • before the traineeship started, the trainee had not been employed by the employer for
    • 3 months or more (full-time)
    • 12 months or more (part-time or casual).

The 3-month and 12-month time limits only apply if the pre-traineeship employment is for a continuous period. Weekends are not considered to be a break in the continuous period of employment.

Wages paid to trainees doing further training outside the scope of the traineeship are not exempt. The only exception is if a trainee starts a Certificate III traineeship within 12 months after completing a Certificate II qualification as part of the same training package.

Non-exempt wages

Wages paid to trainees are not exempt if:

  • they are for periods before or after the traineeship
  • they are for roles or duties other than those specified in the trainee contract (where the trainee has multiple roles or duties).

Example

Donna is employed by InfoTech Pty Ltd as a trainee technical support officer. During peak periods, Donna works overtime in InfoTech's office, handling general reception and filing duties. Because these duties do not form part of her IT traineeship, any wages paid to Donna while working in this role are not exempt.

Employers with special exemptions

Wages paid by the following employers may be exempt in certain circumstances:

  • governor of a state
  • public hospital
  • charitable institution
  • teacher's training college
  • Queensland Government department (excluding commercialised business units)
  • Queensland hospital and health service
  • local government
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  • Australian-American Educational Foundation
  • a consular or other non-Australian government representative.

Employees with special exemptions

Wages paid to the following employees may also be exempt:

  • member of the Australian Defence Force
  • volunteer member of a rural fire brigade
  • volunteer member of the State Emergency Service
  • honorary ambulance officer
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person employed under the Community Development Employment Projects program (now administered under the Remote Jobs and Communities Program).

Related links

Last reviewed
July 21, 2016

Contact

Office of State Revenue

  • Call 1300 300 734 (Australia) or
    +61 7 3227 6044 (overseas)
  • Send an email using our online enquiry form.

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