Employment agent arrangement as taxable wages
If you are an employment agent, you may be liable for payroll tax on the wages you pay workers for services provided to your clients.
You may be liable for payroll tax if you obtain and pay an individual worker to supply services to a client and:
- the worker does not become an employee of the client
- remuneration is paid or payable by you for the worker’s services
- you are entitled to receive payment from the client for the period for which the worker supplies services to that client.
Employment agent or labour hire arrangements
An employment agency contract exists if an employment agent obtains a worker to provide services to a client in return for a fee. Under this arrangement, the worker does not become an employee of the client.
The worker can provide these services individually or through a corporation or trust.
This diagram demonstrates how an employment agent arrangement works.
An employment agent arrangement usually involves the following:
- the worker contracting with the employment agent
- the employment agent contracting with the client.
An employment agency is different from a recruitment agency arrangement. See the public ruling about recruitment agencies (PTA029) for more information.
An employment agent is considered the employer of the worker providing services to the employment agent’s client under an employment agency contract. The worker is deemed to be the employee of the employment agent.
Amounts the agent pays under the employment agency contract, including fringe benefits and superannuation contributions, are taken to be wages. The employment agent as an employer is liable for payroll tax on wages they pay the worker directly or indirectly.
The following are not considered taxable wages when they are paid as part of an employment agency contract:
- GST components of a payment
- fees the client pays the agent.
Using a payroll processing contractor
If you contract someone to process your payroll, you should make sure that they are passing on any payroll tax to Queensland Revenue Office.
There have been cases where some labour-hire payroll processers are not passing on the tax, even after receiving funds from the employer. Employers are then having to pay extra amounts to meet their outstanding tax liabilities, while attempting to recover what has already been paid to the payroll processer.
What you should do
Before entering into a labour hire contract with a third party, you should inspect the arrangements under the contract.
If you have already engaged a payroll processer, ask for proof that they are paying the payroll tax.
If you are unsure, call 1300 300 734 for Queensland payroll tax, or contact the relevant state revenue office.
- Find out about chain of on-hire.
- Read about employment agents with government clients.
- Learn when an exemption is available for employment agents.