Long service levy

This page explains what the long service levy is, who needs to pay and how to pay.

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What is the long service levy?

The NSW Government charges a levy on all building and construction works of $250,000 or more.

The levy is paid into a fund administered by the Long Service Corporation (LSC). This fund pays long service to eligible building and construction workers.

Who pays the levy?

The levy is paid by the applicant of the building approval or the person the work is being completed for. A contractor generally pays the levy if building work is done on behalf of the Crown. Differences apply if works are done by a body established by an act of parliament such as a Council. The scheme does not apply to work on Commonwealth land or a Commonwealth place. Email us for more information.

The levy applies to building work including:

  • civil construction such as roads and bridges
  • fuel, gas and water storage facilities
  • residential building
  • sewage, drainage and water treatment systems
  • telecommunications and electrical distribution infrastructure.

The Building and Construction Industry Long Service Payments Act 1986 and Local Government Act define the types of building and construction work the levy applies to.

LSC conducts regular checks on payment of the long service levy. Failure to pay the correct levy before construction starts may result in fines, penalties or prosecution. You may be asked to supply supporting documentation.

Cost of the levy

The levy rate is 0.25% of the cost of building and construction works of $250,000 and or more (including GST).

Use the levy calculator to check how much you need to pay.

Exemptions are available in some circumstances.

Instalments are available for projects with a cost of works of $10 million or more and which will take more than 12 months to build.

The levy is calculated as a percentage of the cost of building work. This is determined by council, an accredited certifier or a relevant government authority.

Tax invoices and purchase orders

LSC does not issue invoices or purchase orders for levies. There is no GST implication or ATO tax invoice requirement for the levy.

Pay the levy

Building work can only start after the levy is paid. A council or accredited certifier can only release your Construction Certificate (CC) or Complying Development Certificate (CDC) after you pay the levy.

You can pay the levy:

  • Online using Visa, Mastercard, PayPal or PayID
  • Online using BPay (this may take up to 3 days to process)
  • In person at participating local councils (contact your council to confirm)
  • Directly to LSC with EFT (on request)

Companies and organisations

Create a Long Service Corporation account using your ABN. You’ll need your ABN, email, business address and contact number.

You can link multiple ABNs to your LSC account and add users from your company or organisation.

The levy portal puts all your payments and transactions in one place. Use the portal to:

  • pay the levy
  • apply for a refund
  • request an exemption, top-up or instalment plan
  • receive notifications
  • enable automated receipts
  • create a support case for help.

Individuals

Individuals can log in with a MyServiceNSW account. As an individual you do not need an ABN to pay the levy.

Paying in instalments

You can apply to pay in instalments if work will cost over $10 million (including GST) and will take more than 12 months, or payment of the full levy is unduly onerous. You can only apply for an instalment plan before work commences.

  1. Log in to the levy portal.
  2. Complete ‘Pay New Levy’. If you’re eligible, you’ll be given the option to pay by instalment.
  3. LSC will review your application and notify you of the outcome.
  4. Your first instalment must be paid before work commences.

Partial exemptions

Owner-builders, churches and non-profit organisations may be eligible for levy exemptions or discounts. The maximum levy discount is 50%. The minimum levy paid is $50.

Owner-builders

Owner-builders holding an Owner Builder Permit issued by NSW Fair Trading may be entitled to a reduction in the levy. Use the levy portal to apply for an owner-builder partial levy exemption. You can apply at the time of paying the levy or within 12 months of payment.

Owner-builder exemptions are processed automatically for work costing less than $500,000 with a voluntary component of less than 50%.

Churches and non-profit organisations

A reduction in the levy may apply for voluntary labour. Use the levy portal to apply for a non-profit organisational partial exemption. You can apply at the time of paying the levy or within 12 months of payment. Applications for partial exemptions for churches or non-profit organisations are reviewed and approved by LSC.

Bushfire recovery

You can apply for a full or partial levy exemption for replacement or repair of buildings destroyed or damaged by the NSW bushfires, occurring 1 July 2019 to 2 March 2020. The exemption covers the levy on the first $1 million (including GST) of the cost of erecting a building.

Applications must be submitted before 2 March 2023.

Applying for bushfire recovery exemption
  1. Download and complete the Bushfire Recovery Exemption form (PDF, 218.67 KB). Make sure you sign part 7. An approving authority must sign part 6.
  2. Submit the form to levy@longservice.nsw.gov.au
  3. LSC will process your application. We will forward approval to your email and to the approving authority.
  4. Any refunds on levies already paid are processed using this form.

Refunds

You may be eligible for a full or partial refund of the levy if:

  • work did not commence and building approval lapsed or was cancelled
  • levy payment was duplicated or overpaid
  • you paid the levy in full but are entitled to a partial exemption as an owner-builder, church or a non-profit organisation (apply for a refund within 12 months of payment).

Organisations and businesses can apply for a levy refund in the levy portal by creating a support case.

Extra levy, penalties and interest

Penalties or extra levies may apply if a levy has been underpaid, based on incorrect cost estimates, paid late or not paid at all.

Interest on outstanding amounts may apply in line with the Building and Construction Industry Long Service Payments Act 1986 and the Building and Construction Industry Long Service Payments Regulation 2022. The prescribed rate is 6% above the cash rate published by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Information for approving authorities

The long service levy must be paid before building or construction work begins according to the Building and Construction Industry Long Service Payments Act 1986.

Approving authorities have obligations under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 to ensure the correct levy is paid before issuing approvals such as a construction certificate (CC), complying development certificate (CDC) or contract allowing work to commence.

The levy is payable on the cost of works (including GST) determined by any of the following:

  • the certifying authority issuing the CC
  • the certifying authority issuing the CDC
  • the consent authority granting development consent if a CC is not required
  • the cost determined by LSC.

The levy rate is 0.25% of the cost of building and construction works of $250,000 and above (including GST). Before 31 December 2022, the levy rate was 0.35% of the cost of building and construction works of $25,000 and above (including GST).

For manufactured, transportable or relocatable homes, the approving authority must first confirm what type of approval is required under the relevant Acts.

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