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Announcement from commissioner

Salary Sacrifice Arrangements

The consequences of salary sacrifice arrangements (SSAs) for income tax, FBT, PAYG withholding and superannuation guarantee have been finalised in a Tax Office ruling.
The ruling distinguishes between ?effective? and ?ineffective? SSAs.
Effective SSAs arise where an employee agrees to receive part of their remuneration as benefits before becoming entitled to receive that income. Benefits provided under such SSAs will be exempt from income tax (although subject to FBT).
According to the ruling an ineffective SSA will arise where an employee directs that income that has already been earned, is to be paid in a form other than salary or wages. In this case, benefits provided will be subject to income tax (not FBT).
The ruling provides that SSAs entered into by employees governed by an industrial award, which reduce salary below award rates, are still effective.
The ruling also provides that SSAs concerning bonuses or leave must be made before the employee earns the bonus or leave entitlement.

This clarification is good news and means that certainty will occur when we are consulted at the beginning of the employment terms and conditions - eg why not say in the employment contract that any bonus will automatically be taken as superannuation unless the employee notifies otherwise?

1st-February-2002