SA Government delivers tax cut to protect bulk-billing by GPs

SA Gov

In a major boost for the health system, the Malinauskas Government will deliver permanent tax cuts to GP practices which offer bulk-billed GP services.

The State Government will exempt the wages earned by GPs for bulk-billed services provided to patients.

This provides protection for current bulk-billed patients and an additional incentive for GP practices to bulk-bill.

The new tax cut follows ongoing discussions with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners SA and representations from the Australian Medical Association SA, in response to a Supreme Court decision in New South Wales last year, which confirmed GPs are liable for payroll tax.

Following the court decision it became clear that many practices were unaware of their long-standing payroll tax obligations.

After representations to the government by the RACGP in SA, the government announced in June 2023 an amnesty to GP practices for five years retrospective payroll taxes, and an additional 12 months to ensure GPs had time to understand their obligations, and to come into compliance with them.

The payroll tax exemption will apply from 1 July 2024 to all GP practices liable for payroll tax, whether their GPs are engaged as employees or deemed as contractors.

That includes practices which successfully applied for the State Government’s existing payroll tax amnesty, due to expire June 30, as well as those practices which have fully met their existing payroll tax exemptions.

The relevant amendments to the Payroll Tax Act 2009 will be included in this year’s State Budget bill, due to be tabled on June 6.

As put by Stephen Mullighan

While there had been no change to the application of payroll tax in South Australia, it became clear that many GP practices did not understand their longstanding tax obligations.

The Malinauskas Government understands the critical role GPs play at the heart of our health system and the pressures they have been under, while having their funding frozen for ten years under the former Coalition Federal Government.

The new tax cut will be welcome news for GPs who provide bulk-billing services and follows the more than $4.4 billion of additional funding we have put into the state’s health system, and the announcement in last year’s Federal Budget to triple the bulk billing incentive.

As put by Chris Picton

We know that South Australians are finding it harder and harder to access a GP, getting sicker and ending up in our hospitals.

While primary health care is a Federal Government responsibility, we are pulling what levers we can to help broaden access.

This tax relief will give GPs more incentive to bulk-bill patients, helping more South Australians access primary care services, rather than being forced into our hospital system.

This will not only be better for patients receiving care in their community through their GP, it will also help ease the burden on our busy hospitals.

As put by Sian Goodson, Chair RACGP SA

This issue has been causing enormous stress for GPs and their communities, many of whom were concerned about the ongoing viability of their practices.

I thank the Treasurer for working with RACGP SA to find a middle ground compromise that ensures practices can keep their doors open and protects our ability to provide ongoing, quality care for our patients.

Most practices will benefit from the partial exemption, but especially those providing services to the most disadvantaged in our state.

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