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How ETP components are taxed

Find out how tax applies to the components of your employment termination payments.

Last updated 14 June 2023

Tax treatment of an ETP

ETPs are generally fully taxable although in some cases they may also contain a tax-free amount. A tax-free amount relates to:

The tax-free component is not:

  • assessable or exempt income (it is tax free) in all cases
  • an amount you need to report in your return.

After any tax-free amount is deducted from your payment, the balance is the taxable component.

The taxable component of your ETP will be concessionally taxed up to certain limits, known as caps. The 'whole-of-income cap' or the 'ETP cap'.

The type of termination payment will determine which cap applies and will fall into one of 2 payment categories:

  • excluded
  • non-excluded

Any amount in excess of the relevant cap will be taxed(top marginal rate of 45% plus medicare levy of 2%) of 47%.

Excluded payments

The term 'excluded payments' refers to the following types of payments:

  • genuine redundancy or early retirement scheme payments that exceed the tax-free limit
  • invalidity
  • compensation for personal injury, unfair dismissal, harassment or discrimination
  • death benefit termination (see Death benefit employment termination payments).

The taxable component of these payments will be concessionally taxed up to the 'ETP cap'.

Non-excluded payments

The term 'non-excluded' may include the following payments:

  • a ‘golden handshake’
  • non-genuine redundancy payment
  • severance pay
  • a gratuity
  • payment in lieu of notice
  • unused sick leave
  • unused rostered days off.

These payments are concessionally taxed up to the smaller of the ETP cap or the whole-of-income cap after they are reduced by your other amounts.

Your ETP is subject to the whole-of-income cap, if the code on your end of year statement is O or P.

Concessional rates and caps

The concessional tax rate is:

  • 17% if you reach your preservation age
  • 32% if you have not reached preservation age, up to the relevant cap.

Amounts above the caps are taxed at the top rate ( (top marginal rate of 45% plus medicare levy of 2%) of 47% – see Table A: Withholding rates for ETPs.

The ETP cap amount for the 2022–23 income year is $230,000. This amount is indexed annually.

The whole-of-income cap amount for the 2022–23 income year is $180,000. This amount is not indexed. This cap is reduced by any other taxable income payments you receive in the income year.