Payroll tax on superannuation contributions

Employers need to pay payroll tax on superannuation contributions for an employee or director.

This includes any contribution to a superannuation, provident or retirement fund or scheme.

Superannuation contributions include:

  • monetary contributions (e.g. cash payments and electronic transfers)
  • non-monetary contributions (e.g. marketable securities, property and forgiveness of loans).

If you include a non-monetary contribution in your taxable wages, you must provide evidence of the value if we ask for it.

Payroll tax applies to superannuation contributions for 'deemed employees' (e.g. contractors under a relevant contract and service providers under employment agency contracts).

Taxable contributions

Taxable contributions include those made:

  • to a superannuation fund
  • to another form of superannuation, provident or retirement fund or scheme
  • as a superannuation guarantee charge (including nominal interest and administration component charges)
  • under salary sacrifice arrangements
  • as lump sum payments.

Superannuation contributions paid or payable to exempt employees (e.g. apprentices and trainees) are not subject to payroll tax.

Other superannuation guarantee charges (i.e. general interest and penalty charges) are not taxable.

Read the public ruling on penalty charges under superannuation guarantee charge (PTA030) for more information.

Types of superannuation funds or schemes

  • Employer-sponsored funds
  • Industry funds
  • Personal superannuation funds
  • Defined benefit funds
  • Defined contribution funds
  • Wholly or partially unfunded funds or schemes
  • Retirement saving accounts

Defined benefit funds

Under defined benefit funds, you must contribute an amount that is enough to guarantee a defined benefit to your employee.

A short-term contributions holiday may be granted if the fund has enough assets to meet the employee benefits without any further employer contributions. An actuary must review the fund's assets to work out if this is possible.

During this period, you do not have to pay payroll tax because you are not making any contributions. You will need to pay payroll tax once contributions resume.

Top-up contributions you make to meet employee benefits are taxable. They are considered to be additional contributions.

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