Learning tax hit list targets 54 Independent schools
Thursday 29 June 2023
Dozens of schools enrolling tens of thousands of students are set to be hit with an unprecedented tax on learning, after the Victorian Government released the threshold at which non-government schools will be forced to pay payroll tax for the first time, anywhere in Australia.
The Education Minister has announced that the tax will be imposed on non-government schools charging annual fees of $15,000 or more.
The announcement comes five weeks after the government announced, without warning or consultation, that it would impose the tax to help pay the government’s debt.
A total of 54 Independent schools enrolling 63,123 students will be subject to the tax from 1 July next year.
Modelling by ISV shows they will have to pay a combined total of $78,543,093 in payroll tax. The average impact per student is $1,155.
“While the tax raised is far less that the government’s budget estimated, it amounts to a heavy blow for school communities, where parents are now being milked as a source of government revenue.”
— Michelle Green, Chief Executive, Independent Schools Victoria
ISV chief executive Michelle Green said:
‘The threshold will impose a significant burden on the targeted schools. Schools will now have to juggle their budgets and decide if they have to cut educational programs and staff or increase fees to cover the cost.
‘It will come as a financial shock to parents from a wide range of backgrounds who are already struggling with cost-of-living pressures.
‘While the tax raised is far less that the government’s budget estimated, it amounts to a heavy blow for school communities, where parents are now being milked as a source of government revenue.’
The threshold was determined by the Treasurer and the Education Minister who have extraordinary discretion to decide which schools are on the list and which aren’t.
Some 75 per cent will effectively pay back more to the government in tax than they receive in state recurrent funding.
‘ISV and school communities have opposed this tax right from the start, on grounds of principle and practice,’ Ms Green said. ‘We now have a stark picture of its likely damaging consequences.
‘This attack on Independent schools reflects a fundamental lack of understanding about how they operate and a failure to appreciate the service they provide the community.
‘We will continue to seek repeal of the tax, while urging the government to minimise its impact on school communities and parents while it exists.’
‘This fight isn’t over. The repeal of the learning tax is the only truly fair outcome, and we won’t rest until that happens,’ Ms Green said.