“Cut the payroll tax, I’ll hire staff”

18 January, 2017

Bunbury business owner John Sydney-Smith says he would hire three more staff or buy capital equipment if payroll tax was scrapped.

He’s one of the many businesses across WA that has shared their view that payroll tax holds businesses back.

How much is payroll tax costing your business? Use the CCI payroll tax calculator.

CCI has called for $50,000 incremental increases to the payroll tax threshold per year until the threshold hits $1.5 million, when it says the tax should be abolished altogether.

It says in its current form, payroll tax is costing WA jobs, acting as a tax on employment and a burden on the ability to offer extra jobs.

Sydney-Smith is Co-Director of Geographe Civil, a construction company with a payroll worth $2 million – equating to a payroll tax bill of about $150,000 per annum.

“For me, that’s about three employees or some capital equipment so it certainly goes somewhere,” he says.

“Obviously the payroll tax is one issue affecting our business significantly. A few years ago when Troy Buswell was treasurer, he was getting a plan together to increase the threshold limit and I think they did increase it a little, but not enough.

“Maybe the threshold should be increased to $1.5 million so that companies like mine will still be paying tax, but not as much.”

Ahead of the 11 March election, he’s also asking for something to be done about “unnecessary red tape” when it comes to tendering, and infrastructure woes – both of which he says are impeding his south west company.

“The main issue I have with the red tape is when you’re trying to put in a tender. There is a lot of pre-qualification that you have to get in place just to have the luxury of being able to tender work,” he says.

“When you go to do the tender, you have to regurgitate a lot of that information back. In this day and age, it’s just ridiculous. If you’re pre-qualified, it should just come down to the commercial arrangement of the tender.”

Sydney-Smith says the tendering process is onerous and repetitive.

“It just chews up so much time and pricing work let alone doing it. If you’ve already done the pre-qualification process, they’ve got all of the information and they know and have approved your company to do business with them.”

He says on top of that, Bunbury and its surrounding regional areas aren’t getting the same infrastructure benefits as Perth, which in turn impacts negatively on his business.

“Every time I go to Perth there’s land development, bridges and railway lines,” he says.

“In the regions, we get hardly anything spent on infrastructure and in turn, it’s really hard to keep your business going.”

CCI has also called for a long-term State Infrastructure Strategy overseen by an independent infrastructure body to provide greater certainty for business and potential investors.

► Find out how much you could save if the payroll tax threshold was lifted – test out the CCI Payroll Tax Calculator.