McGrath Estate Agents says payroll dispute has industry-wide repercussions

McGrath Estate Agents says payroll dispute has industry-wide repercussions
McGrath Estate Agents says payroll dispute has industry-wide repercussions

The McGrath Estate Agents group maintains its payroll dispute with the New South Wales Office of State Revenue (OSR) has industry-wide repecussions.

Property Observer revealed yesterday that the prominent estate agency has been issued OSR payroll tax assessment notices.

The total amount being disputed is $6,072,810, inclusive of payroll tax, interest and penalty tax.

The directors believe McGrath Sales Proprietary Limited has no payroll tax obligations and intends to further challenge the assessments, or any other future assessments, if their objection is dismissed.

It said the assessments relate to commission income received by conjunction agents during the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2012.

The group's chief operating officer Geoff Lucas advised Property Observer that in the real estate industry there had been a trend of licensed co-agents operating their own independent business within a business.

"An Australia-wide trend towards a more mobile and flexible workforce has led to a decentralisation of employees and the rise of independent employment arrangements. 

"This is an industry issue not a McGrath issue.

"To suggest that we have deliberately sought to avoid our financial obligations is absolutely incorrect."

Lucas said McGrath has lodged an appeal against the OSR finding which will have repercussions for the entire real estate industry. 

"Like owning your own home, running your own business is the other great Australian dream," said Lucas.

In response to the OSR's allegations that McGrath had failed to fulfill its payroll tax obligations, Lucas said the company had received extensive legal and accounting advice to ensure its compliance.

"As the matter is now before the courts, it is not appropriate for us to comment any further," he said.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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