Tax now a big headache

FILLING out a basic tax return has become yet another nightmare for Queensland Health workers due to the ongoing payroll saga.

After facing months of no payments, overpayments and cash payments, Gladstone Queensland Health workers now face the new financial year with endless questions, more paperwork and lost invoices, cumulating in large bills from tax accountants.

Due to the failed Queensland Health (QH) payroll system, QH workers tax payments and entitlements have become skewed affecting their general household bills like electricity and water, child support, Medicare, HECs payments and superannuation.

Last week, QH sent out “Your end of financial year questions answered”, booklet to every employee explaining “potential taxation or financial impacts as a result of the new payroll system”.

In the introduction, the director general of Queensland Health Michael Reid said QH acknowledged the new payroll system had impacted a large number of employees since its introduction.

“I apologise for the stress and uncertainty that this has caused,” Mr Reid said.

However, the stress for QH workers continues as every payment or non-payment needs to be checked and double checked and confirmed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

For example, the QH Payroll booklet states, “If you have been affected by an overpayment, this payment summary may not match the year to date figures on your payslip. This is because the manual adjustments of overpayments are not recorded in the year to date figures on your payslips. However, the payment summary totals need to include all payments received, including any overpayment received.”

A Gladstone nurse who has been affected by the payroll debacle, and who would like to remain anonymous, said it took eight weeks to get paid and now she had to work-out for what was and what wasn't paid.

“I've only been working part time, so I'm not affected like others,” the nurse said.

“To make it easier to pay expenses, QH encouraged workers to get on to the RemServe (Remuneration Services) to make it easier to pay monthly household bills, superannuation and child support payments.

“I can't figure it out and I'm now going to have to pay an accountant to do extra work on my tax return.”

Central Queensland Nurses Union representative David Abraham said any employee of QH should be seeking professional tax accountancy advice when completing their 2009/10 tax.

“There may be some errors regarding Fringe Benefit Liabilities (FBT). With salary sacrifice, you could be paying for a vehicle or you could be renting or leasing a vehicle and paying your electricity and QSuper (Queensland Health superannuation) that will all be affected,” Mr Abraham said.

“There are a myriad of things that people could salary sacrifice, but if it extends over the FBT liability due to some payroll error, then Queensland Health will be accountable for that.”

At the time of print, Queensland Health failed to respond.

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