A handy way to boost your take-home pay
Salary packaging (also called ‘salary sacrificing’) is a process that may help you to pay less tax.
To encourage people to work for charities, such as InLife, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) allows eligible staff to receive an additional part of their salary tax-free. This amount is on top of your usual tax-free threshold (so you pay less tax).
Keep reading to learn more about salary packaging and whether it's right for you.
How does salary packaging work?
It’s not as simple as just increasing your tax-free threshold to boost your take-home pay.
Instead, the ATO wants to know you spent the money on goods or services that contributed to the economy.
That's where salary packaging comes in. Salary packaging lets you trade part of your pre-tax wages for benefits of a similar value.
You can receive your money in one of two ways:
- contributions to a pre-paid card (ie. deposit now, spend later)
- by lodging receipts for reimbursement (ie. spend now, claim back later)
The whole process is managed by a salary packaging provider to make sure everything is compliant. InLife’s salary packaging provider is Go Salary.
How much can I salary package?
The amount is set by the ATO. As an employee of a not-for-profit you can salary package:
- Up to $15,900 in approved household expenses, such as rent, mortgage, credit card payments and school fees annually. This means you get to spend $15,900 tax free.
- Uup to $2,650 in meal entertainment and accommodation entertainment annually. This means you get to spend $2,650 tax free.
Jay pays $2,000 rent monthly ($24,000 annually) and decides to use this as proof of her $15,900 household expenses. Jay submits a copy of her lease to Go Salary as proof for the year. No further receipts are required.
Jay works regular shifts weekly, so her package is calculated over 52 weeks ($15,900 / 52 pays = $305.77 weekly). Each week, before InLife calculates the tax on Jay’s wages, they remove the salary packaged portion and send it to Go Salary. Then they calculate the tax on the remaining wages (ie. the lower amount).
Jay receives her InLife weekly wages on a Tuesday (minus her salary packaged portion), then Go Salary deposits $305.77 to her account on a Wednesday. If needed, Jay can contact Go Salary to adjust how many weeks her package is spread over.
How do I get my money?
If you sign up for salary packaging, you’ll receive your pay in two parts. One payment from InLife and the other from our salary packaging provider, Go Salary.
Go Salary manages the documentation the ATO needs for compliance (think of it a bit like providing receipts to claim tax deductions). They charge a fee for their service.
You can choose to have your payment added to a pre-paid salary packaging card or as a deposit to an account of your choice
What is a salary packaging card?
Salary Packaging and Meal Entertainment cards are also available via Go Salary in partnership with Beyond Bank Australia.
These cards (which have an annual fee similar to a credit card) are popular because they eliminate the need to submit claims or proof of expenses such as receipts for salary packaging.
The cards have Paywave technology and are compatible with Apple Pay and Android Pay.
There are two types of cards:
- Salary Packaging card. Use this card to buy almost anything including everyday expenses such as groceries or to pay your utility bill.
- Meal Entertainment card. For purchasing dine-in meals at most bistros, cafes, hotels and restaurants. Can also be used to pay for holiday accommodation in Australia and overseas.
The card will also entitle you to other Beyond Bank Australia benefits, such as fee free accounts.
Ash wants more flexibility in how they spend their $15,900 salary package, so they opt for a Salary Packaging card.
Each week, before InLife calculates the tax on Ash’s wages, they remove the salary packaged portion and send it to Go Salary.
Ash receives their weekly wages on a Tuesday (minus the salary packaged portion) and then receives a nominated amount credited to their prepaid card on a Wednesday.
Ash builds up the total on the card and checks their balance through an app, so they know how much is available to spend on daily expenses - no need to submit receipts!
Spend your allowance by 31 March
Salary packaging is considered a Fringe Benefit, so you need to spend your allowance between 1 April and 31 March, rather than the traditional 1 July to 30 June tax year. As a charity, InLife is exempt from Fringe Benefits Tax, but the reporting period still applies.
If you joined InLife part way through an FBT year, Go Salary will adjust calculations to make sure you receive your full benefit wherever possible.
How to I sign up?
To learn more about salary packaging and whether it’s right for you go to Go Salary's website. You can also apply online.
We also encourage you to read the Australian Tax Office's guide to salary packaging.