Government Decision to Pause Controversial GP Tax Ruling Brings Temporary Relief but Fails to Resolve the Issue

A recent decision by the NSW government to pause a new GP tax ruling for 12 months has been met with mixed reactions from doctors. While some see it as providing temporary relief, others argue that it does little to address the underlying problem, which could lead to clinic closures, increased fees, and a threat to bulk billing.

Previously, the NSW state revenue office had implemented a new ruling that would subject independent GPs working in medical centers to payroll tax for the first time. However, Finance Minister Courtney Houssos announced a reversal of this ruling, stating that GP audits would be paused for 12 months and any outstanding payroll tax debts incurred before this period would not face penalties or interest.

While the 12-month pause offers some breathing space, it does not provide a permanent solution to the issue at hand. Many doctors argue that it is merely a delay tactic and fails to address the fundamental problems faced by clinics. A longer pause of five years, as proposed by the state opposition, would have allowed practices to stabilize their financial situation and better prepare for any tax bills.

The impact of the tax ruling could be significant, with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners warning that the cost of seeing a doctor could rise by $20 per appointment. Many clinics may be forced to close, and bulk billing, which ensures affordable healthcare for many Australians, could become a thing of the past.

Overall, while the temporary pause on the GP tax ruling offers some respite, it falls short of addressing the deep-rooted concerns of doctors and clinics. It is essential for the government to engage in further discussions and find a more sustainable solution that supports the healthcare sector and ensures access to affordable medical services for all Australians.


Q: What was the previous ruling regarding GP tax in NSW?
A: The previous ruling meant that independent GPs working in medical centers would be subject to payroll tax.

Q: What did the NSW government announce regarding GP audits and tax penalties?
A: The government announced a 12-month pause on GP audits and a halt on tax penalties and interest accrued on outstanding payroll tax debts.

Q: How would the tax ruling impact the cost of seeing a doctor?
A: The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners warned that the tax ruling could lead to a $20 increase in the cost of each doctor’s appointment.

Q: What are the potential consequences if no resolution is reached?
A: Many clinics could close, and bulk billing, which ensures affordable healthcare, could be endangered.