I have noticed an increase in reviews, particularly in relation to refund requests, investigation of high value requests and unusual anomalies.
Identification of unregistered businesses has resulted in significant 'wins' for Revenue Offices across Australia.
State Revenue Offices are now working closely together to identify non-compliance activities across jurisdictions. There is anecdotal evidence that audits in one state are often followed by audits in another state in which an entity operates. Additionally, some states may conduct audits of common employers on behalf of other states.
Due to the increased focus on payroll tax audits, the ability to make a voluntary disclosure before an audit commences is becoming more difficult. Employers should take appropriate steps to be prepared for an audit by undertaking a review of their current payroll tax processes and procedures, and if required consider making a voluntary disclosure in order to reduce potential penalties and interest charges.
A main focus area of Revenue Office initiated audits is the declaration of fringe benefits provided to employees. In many instances revenue offices have identified employers not declaring or under-declaring fringe benefits. Revenue offices are also focusing on employee share schemes, grouping provisions and contractor arrangements.
Being aware of wage base inclusions and exclusions is important in ensuring all ‘remuneration’ is included in payroll tax returns (both monthly and annually).