Business and builders unite to call for payroll tax relief

Release Date: 28/08/2020
Master Builders Tasmania and the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry have joined forces to call on the Government to provide meaningful payroll tax relief.
They say that payroll tax should be waived for all Tasmanian businesses until all COVID-related restrictions on businesses in Tasmania are lifted.
TCCI CEO Michael Bailey said taxing jobs didn’t make sense in the current circumstances.
“Payroll tax is a tax on jobs.  It hurts businesses, it is a massive disincentive to creating new jobs or filling vacant positions and it’s hurting business confidence when we can least afford it,” Mr Bailey said.
“With the COVID-related restrictions, businesses are fighting for survival with one-hand already tied behind their backs.  Adding payroll tax on top of that will cost jobs.”
“This shouldn’t be seen as payroll tax relief to support business to stay open, it should be seen as payroll tax relief to stimulate our business sector to invest, grow and employ more people.”
Mr Bailey said that the Government’s previous payroll tax relief scheme ended on 1 July this year.*
Master Builders Tasmania Executive Director Matthew Pollock said that the economic shockwaves from COVID were hurting the building sector.
“Already around a 1,000 jobs have been lost in the building sector.  What we need now is for the Government to consider bold and decisive action to encourage businesses to create jobs, help those who have recently lost their jobs get back into work and provide a massive confidence boost for our economy,” Mr Pollock said.
“We can’t tax our way to economic recovery and Tasmania’s pre-COVID tax system simply will not work in a post-COVID world.  Just as the Government has put in place drastic measures to protect public health, they need to consider significant intervention to protect our economic health.”
“We need to support businesses to support their workforces, otherwise we will start to see skilled Tasmanians, especially in building and construction, leave the State to find work.  That won’t just hurt us now, but risks the capacity of the industry to help build our way out of this crisis.”
Mr Bailey and Mr Pollock said that waiving payroll tax would be a positive step that would be welcomed by the business community and would help generate jobs for Tasmanians.
* Businesses are currently not required to pay payroll tax on JobKeeper payments

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