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Fringe benefits as taxable wages

Taxable wages include fringe benefits as defined in the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 (Cwlth) (FBT Act). Fringe benefits do not include:

  • car parking fringe benefits
  • tax-exempt body entertainment fringe benefits.

From 1 July 2011, any benefit that is exempt under the FBT Act is also not taxable for payroll tax purposes.

Read the public ruling on fringe benefits (PTA003) for more information.

Employee payments

Your taxable wages will not change where an employee receives a fringe benefit and is required to make payments towards, or reimburse you for, the associated fringe benefits tax.

These payments are treated as wages for payroll tax purposes because they are subject to the direction of the employee, and the employee is still legally entitled to the wages.

It doesn’t matter if the employee has made the payment as a lump sum or had the payments periodically deducted from their wages.

The taxable wages figure will be equal to the following, with no reduction for the employee payments:

  • the wages paid or payable
  • the grossed-up value (the value of a fringe benefit after the initial value has been multiplied by the Type 2 gross-up factor).

Salary sacrifice

We do not consider salary sacrificing an employee contribution for fringe benefits. When an employee salary sacrifices, the employee gives up a claim to future wages by doing so - they cannot contribute something that never existed.

The taxable wages figure will be equal to:

  • the wages paid or payable, being those wages reduced by the salary sacrifice
  • the grossed-up value, with no reduction for the salary sacrifice.