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Unexpected lump sum payment in arrears? There’s a tax offset for that!



Unexpected lump sum payment in arrears? There’s a tax offset for that!


A lump sum payment in arrears is a payment you may receive that relates to earlier income years. The tax offset that can be utilised with these sorts of payments works to alleviate the problem of a taxpayer being expected to pay more tax in a year when a lump sum of back payments is received - where they would be disadvantaged by paying more tax than if the income had been spread over several income years.

The general rule is that employment income is assessable in the income year it is received, regardless of the period the payment covers. This is still the case, however the tax offset works to restrict the amount of tax payable to the same “marginal” rate that would have applied if it were “received” in the tax year or years it relates to.

As the lump sum payment in arrears (LSPIA) is taxable in the year you receive it, it can impact your tax and non-tax entitlements such as:

You may also find that as a result you:

The ATO says taxpayers may be able to access the tax offset for certain payments, which usually relate to employment, compensation or welfare payments. To be eligible for the tax offset, a LSPIA must be 10% or more of your taxable income in the year of receipt after you deduct any:

The ATO notes that the calculation of this tax offset is complex, therefore, there is no online calculator