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Court finds pay-as-you-go amounts “withheld” from salary payments

18th Apr, 2018

The Federal Court has ruled that pay-as-you-go (PAYG) amounts were “withheld” from a taxpayer’s salary payments so that she was entitled to a tax credit, despite the amounts never being remitted or notified to the ATO by her employers.

This case illustrates the importance of records and documentation in tax matters. The Court examined evidence such as the taxpayer’s offer of employment, payslips, bank statements and payment summaries, which suggested that the salary payments she received were “net pay” amounts (and not “gross”).

The Court noted that where an employer has not remitted PAYG withholding amounts to the ATO, this will raise questions about whether amounts were really withheld. However, adequate documentation can – as in this case – be used to prove that PAYG has in fact property to withhold an amount from the purchase price (for remission to the ATO) if the vendor is a foreign resident. This regime is designed to assist the ATO in collecting CGT payable by foreign residents.

If the vendor is an Australian resident, they must provide an ATO-issued clearance certificate to the purchaser on or before the day of settlement to ensure no withholding occurs. The ATO has released some guidance for trusts and superannuation funds about specific information they must provide when applying to the ATO for a clearance certificate. Contact our office for further assistance.

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