Payroll Tax

The GNWT's taxation regime is designed to provide financial resources to help meet the Territories' responsibilities in funding public services such as health care and education. Although tax revenues comprise a significant portion of the NWT's total revenue, the bulk of the Territories' financial resources are provided by the Territorial Formula Financing Grant from Canada.  The NWT's taxation regime is continually reviewed to ensure consistency with the Territories' policy objectives while maintaining fairness and competitiveness.

Information for Employers

The Payroll Tax Act, 1993 came into effect July 1, 1993. Unlike other jurisdictions that impose a payroll tax on employers, the NWT Payroll Tax is levied on employees. The Payroll Tax applies to all employees who work, perform duties, or provide services in the NWT, regardless of the province or territory of residence of the employee or employer or the employee's age.

Effective January 1, 2005 the Payroll Tax rate increased from 1 per cent to 2 per cent of gross NWT remuneration.

Currently only Nunavut levies a payroll tax similar to that of the GNWT. The Nunavut government has a separate registration process.

Payroll Tax Rources

Registrations and returns

Every employer must register with the GNWT, Department of Finance within 21 days of their first payroll cycle for work or services performed in the NWT. Remittance frequency is based upon the estimated annual gross remuneration paid to employees in the NWT. Forms will be sent to registered employers approximately one month prior to the due date, or may be requested at any time from the Department of Finance. 

Employers must file an Annual Return each calendar year by February 28th. Forms will be sent to registered employers approximately two months prior to the due date, or may be requested at any time from the Department of Finance. 

Annual Returns must be filed even if companies did not have employees working in the NWT during the year (Nil Return).


Non-compliance with the NWT Payroll Tax Act, 1993 may result in penalties, interest assessment, and/or court action. Possible infractions include:

  • Failure to register
  • Failure to collect
  • Failure to remit
  • Failure to file returns

Government of the NWT 

Treasury Division, Department of Finance 
PO BOX 1320

Office location:
5th floor, Arthur Laing Building 
5003 - 49th Street 

Telephone: 867.767.9244 
Toll-free: 1.800.661.0820 
Fax: 867.920.4357