Periodic returns for payroll tax
The payroll tax periodic return accounts for taxable wages paid during the return period. A return period is either monthly or half-yearly.
If you lodge monthly, you will lodge periodic returns for the months July through to May. You won’t need to lodge a periodic return for June - your June taxable wages will be included in your annual return instead.
If you have been approved to lodge your returns half-yearly, you will lodge one periodic return for the July to December period. You will also need to lodge your annual return in July, which will include your wages for the January to June period.
See the due dates for payroll tax returns for more information.
Calculating your periodic liability
Alternatively, to calculate your liability manually:
- determine your total taxable wages
- subtract any deductions
- multiply this amount by the current tax rate of 4.75%.
If you are not part of a group and pay between $1.1 million and $5.5 million in Australian taxable wages, you can claim the:
- actual periodic deduction if you only pay Queensland wages
- fixed periodic deduction if you pay interstate wages.
If your calculated fixed periodic deduction is more than your taxable wages, you cannot credit the extra amount to your next return.
If you are in a group but not the designated group employer (DGE), you will be liable for payroll tax on the full amount of your taxable wages and must lodge your own periodic returns.
Designated group employers
If you are a DGE, you may be eligible for a fixed periodic deduction based on the total Australian taxable wages that the group pays. Calculate this deduction at the start of each financial year when you complete your annual return and subtract it from your taxable wages every month that year.
You must recalculate your fixed periodic deduction when any of the following occurs:
- you first become the DGE
- a fixed periodic deduction determined by the Commissioner of State Revenue is revoked or lapses
- a change to your periodic return period takes effect
- you have a significant wage change for the group during the periodic return period.
A significant wage change happens during a periodic return period for a group if the previous estimated wages differs by more than 30% from your current estimated wages.
Lodging a periodic return
You can lodge your periodic return online through OSRconnect, which will automatically calculate any unpaid tax interest. We have tutorials with step-by-step instructions for:
You can also watch the following video guides for lodging a periodic return, based on employer type.
Non-grouped employer periodic returns video
Group member periodic returns video
Designated group employer periodic returns video
You can pay your liability:
- online - by direct payment from your nominated bank account through OSRconnect
- by cheque - by sending us the lodgement confirmation page with your payment.
Read more about paying your payroll tax returns.
- Learn about exemptions for payroll tax.
- Get help using OSRconnect.
- Read our top tips for lodging returns in OSRconnect.
- Watch our other payroll tax videos.
- Discover how we handle complaints and objections.
- Report a change of business conditions to meet your payroll tax obligations.
- Search the events calendar to find a payroll tax webinar that you may be interested in attending.
- Subscribe to email alerts for payroll tax updates.
- Download the payroll tax user guide.