JobKeeper Business Stimulus Australia
FAQ Business Training and Government sources
The Australian Federal Government introduced JobKeeper Business Stimulus in Australia in an effort to lessen the impact on the welfare system, the unemployment rate and to help employers retain staff for an eventual rebound post the Coronavirus Covid-19 #crisistrifecta *
Please ensure all information you obtain is verified back to an original source (which is not social media, regular media or even us 🙂 ).
* THIS PAGE IS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED. LAST UPDATED 23 Aug 2020*
JobKeeper changes legislated 14 August 2020 – must read for employers
Employers will be aware JobKeeper is a one in, all in model. However many are NOT aware of a change to JobKeeper which applies to August and September (from 3rd August). This may REQUIRE you to top up additional eligible JobKeeper employees.
If you have employees who were ineligible at 1 March 2020, there are some situations where they will now be eligible as at 1 July 2020 which is the new reference date.
You may also have hired new part-time or full-time employees by 1 July 2020. They ARE in many circumstances eligible for JobKeeper from the fortnight which commenced 3rd August 2020. You must obtain their valid nominations and meet the wage condition (still $1500 per fortnight) by 31 August for the two affected fortnights. Employees can now renominate a replacement employer in some circumstances (where they left their JobKeeper business or employer before 1 July 2020 and commenced new employment with you before 1 July 2020).
1 March 2020 is preserved, so there is no need to retest eligibility of employees who have had no change in employment. You will end up paying and receiving 3 fortnights for August for these employees due to the fortnight end dates.
JobKeeper changes announced but NOT yet legislated (at 23 August 2020)
The Government has announced it intends to extend JobKeeper for two 3 month periods and introduce tiers to JobKeeper. This HAS NOT yet been legislated. Please hold on a little longer and get the facts.
JobKeeper errors in claiming (at 19 August 2020)
The ATO has commenced auditing and is finding a number of people who have over claimed or claimed incorrectly. They advise if an error was due to a genuine and honest mistake or misunderstanding, or through reliance on information from employees or the ATO itself which the business deemed to be correct, then the ATO will NOT in many cases seek a repayment of the overpaid funds.
However if the over payment was not reasonable or honest then you can be expected to repay, and if fraudulent face other penalties.
The following video is a Facebook Live conducted 20 August 2020 on the above issues.
Please note in the dates table above you can add:
- 1 July 2020 new reference date for eligible employees
- 3 August 2020 start date for paying additionally eligible employees JobKeeper
- 31 August 2020 JobKeeper wage condition fulfilment date for the above employees
We can not yet add in the extension dates as they have NOT been legislated (as at 23 August 2020).
Older JobKeeper Information
JobKeeper – integrity test lodgment dates
Sanity initially prevailed and the documentation was updated. The ATO removed the requirement to declare you had lodged either your 2018-19 tax return or your GST activity statement by 12 March 2020, and replaced with a more workable:
“Your entity is eligible if:
- on 1 March 2020, it carried on a business in Australia
- it satisfies the fall in turnover test for the relevant period
- it had an ABN on 12 March 2020, and
- it had lodged, on or before 12 March 2020, at least one of
- a 2018–19 income tax return showing that it had an amount included in its assessable income in relation to it carrying on a business, or
- an activity statement or GST return for any tax period that started after 1 July 2018 and ended before 12 March 2020 showing that it made a taxable, GST-free or input-taxed sale.
We have the discretion to give further time, but only in limited circumstances, including if you:
- did not have a requirement to lodge your 2018-2019 return until after 12 March 2020
- have deferred your lodgment under an extension of lodgment date we initiated.
- You are included in a registered agent’s lodgment program whereby your lodgment due date is after 12 March 2020.
- You have an automatic ATO lodgment deferral in place as you were affected by the Australian bushfires in late 2019, and you are not registered or required to be registered for GST, so will not have lodged a BAS before 12 March 2020.”
Typically the lodgment extension for tax agents is now 5th June 2020 (was 15 May 2020). Please note your accountants are EXTREMELY BUSY. Please offer some kindness and patience, but make sure they are aware you risk losing out on JobKeeper and potentially Boosting Cash Flow for Employers.
HOWEVER the ATO have now changed their mind, and require you complete the form BEFORE claiming JobKeeper: JobKeeper application for Commissioner’s discretion in respect of an eligible business participant. Further they have decided that anyone who lodged earlier and just accepted the declaration saying they’d lodged their return by 12 March 2020, when in fact they hadn’t due to the lodgment deferral in place MUST retrospectively complete this form. I did argue it seemed almost no-one has completed this form, and I didn’t want my clients penalised for doing the right thing. She said to refer to the reference number I (Jane Tweedy) had with the ATO. I spoke with Janelle from the ATO Specialist Team on 22 May 2020 with reference #1051677923791. UPDATE 19 August 2020 – the form is NO LONGER required where tax returns were completed within the tax agent period.
How do you prove you’re enrolled for JobKeeper?
Unfortunately, other than showing as ‘Enrolled’ in the Business Portal or MyGov, there is no way of ‘proving’ your business is eligible. This would be ideal before paying your employees by 30th April for the first two fortnights, and is also necessary to gain access to the Mandatory Code for Commercial Leases. 11 May 2020 update – the ATO suggests you retain your JobKeeper receipt completed on entry of step 2 and 3 or a screen shot of your enrolled/identified screen.
JobKeeper turnover tests are now legislated – 23 April 2020
The basic turnover test involves assessing your March 2020 GST calculated turnover versus March 2019. If this is not possible a series of Alternative Tests have been legislated for specific scenarios including (taken directly from the ATO):
- the entity commenced business after the relevant comparison period (the business did not exist in that period)
- the entity acquired or disposed of part of the business after the relevant comparison period (the business is not the same business in that period as it is now)
- the entity undertook a restructure after the relevant comparison period (the business is not the same business in that period as it is now)
- the entity’s turnover substantially increased by:
- 50% or more in the 12 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period; or
- 25% or more in the 6 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period, or
- 12.5% or more in the 3 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period.
- the entity was affected by drought or other declared natural disaster during the relevant comparison period
- the entity has a large irregular variance in their turnover for the quarters ending in the 12 months before the applicable turnover test period, excluding entities that have cyclical or regular seasonal variance in their turnover, or
- the entity is a sole trader or small partnership where sickness, injury or leave have impacted an individual’s ability to work which has affected turnover.
You can find the calculation details for both methods here: ATO Turnover Tests.
JobKeeper – what is GST turnover?
The ATO has included guidance for what is included and excluded from your headline turnover figure to calculate GST turnover. You can find this here: ATO GST Turnover Methodology for JobKeeper.
JobKeeper – eligibility when you have multiple roles or a role and a business
If you are an official employee of your business then please consider as an employee (either permanent or casual depending how you’ve been paying yourself). A business participant is for someone who doesn’t receive a PAYGW salary – so all sole traders, one business partner, one director or shareholder for a company, or one individual beneficiary for a trust. Note when applying for JobKeeper do NOT include a business participant as an employee. There is a separate box for business participant. We did ask the ATO, if having paid the business participant intermittently as an employee prevents claiming as a business participant. It should be okay was about as close to an answer as we got 🙁
In all cases, eligibility is subject to meeting the other JobKeeper criteria.
Business plus a job(s)
- Are a business participant and have a casual role(s) – can claim JobKeeper for your business
- Are a business participant and have a permanent part-time or full-time role(s) elsewhere – can NOT claim JobKeeper for your business
- Are a business participant and have a fixed-term contract role(s) elsewhere – still no website link from the ATO (outstanding complaint awaiting ATO). Fair Work say these roles are not permanent, but most do pay sick and annual leave so they are not casual either. On the employee nomination notice (snippet above) it does note permanent and fixed term contracts are considered together, therefore they are NOT considered casual for this purpose, but some call centre staff did say people can get JobKeeper for these contracts. “If you are a casual employee as mentioned above, you are not employed by any other employer on a permanent or fixed term basis, or you are only employed by any other employer on a casual basis. ” Therefore it would appear if you have one it will be treated like (but not) a permanent role and not be eligible. However, there is still some tiny chance while they remain vague, and particularly where you had it noted on your file they told you yes. I personally believe it to be a no because of the employee nomination notice wording, and they seem to now consistently be saying no on the community forum and by phone.
Business but an employee plus a job(s)
- Are a business employee and casual as paid hours not consistent and have a casual role – can claim JobKeeper for your business or casual role
- Are a business employee (casual) and have a permanent part-time or full-time role elsewhere – can NOT claim JobKeeper for your business
- Are a business employee (permanent part-time or full-time) and have a casual role – can only claim JobKeeper from your business role
- Are a business employee (permanent part-time of full-time) and have a permanent part-time or full-time role elsewhere – can claim JobKeeper from either your business role OR your business role
- Again fixed-term contract likely to be treated along with permanent (based on the employee nomination form in the screenshot) but yet to be placed on an official web page. ATO confirmed by phone call 22 May 2020 that business participants with fixed-term contracts ARE NOT able to apply for JobKeeper as a business participant in their own business. They STILL have not placed this on the website on a page we can reference, and for this reason as the ATO Specialist team advised, we have lodged a complaint. It is not fair to expect business participants to be given conflicting instructions and incur a tax debt because they have claimed when not entitled.
Multiple roles (no business)
- Have a permanent part-time or full-time role, and a long-term casual role. Only the permanent role is eligible for JobKeeper (regardless of whether that employer can claim JobKeeper). No employee can claim for a casual role if they hold ANY permanent role EVEN if that permanent role is less hours than the casual role.
- Have multiple permanent full-time or part-time roles (with or without another long-term casual role). Can choose which of the permanent roles they want to claim for, even if the full time role continues and you claim JobKeeper from the part-time role. This was not the intention (hence why they made a big deal early on about primary role), but it was excluded from the legislation and has not been mooted as a fix.
- Have a mix of full-time, part-time or fixed term contracts. Can choose which role to claim through.
- Multiple long-term casual roles, and NO permanent roles (including part-time) and NO fixed term contract. Can claim any of the eligible casual roles.
- In all cases can only claim from one employer, which cannot change during JobKeeper. If the employer stops paying (for cash flow reasons for instance), then an employee cannot switch to an alternate eligible employer.
- Can claim JobKeeper from an eligible role and still earn money from another.
- An employer can issue JobKeeper Enabling Directions with 3 days consultation, within reason and cannot be reasonably denied where less than normal hours, a different location and a different role you are capable of doing. Check out Fair Work by clicking here.
JobKeeper – who needs to complete a nomination form
JobKeeper Guides on the ATO website explain the JobKeeper application process based on your scenario. Here is what you need from people:
- Sole Traders – nominate via Application Form and MyGov but NO NOMINATION FORM required. Please note this ‘Step 2’ is reopened each month during the first week to claim for the prior month’s fortnights, on MyGov and the Business Portal.
- Business participants (other than sole traders) – must complete a one-off business participant nomination form BEFORE claiming JobKeeper. This is retained by the claiming business.
- Eligible employees – all eligible employees (including business participants who are claiming as employees because they receive PAYGW pay) must complete the nomination form.
- If you terminated anyone you must reinstate them before they are eligible for JobKeeper, even if you rehire them to immediately stand them down again.
- If you’re eligible for JobKeeper during April you MUST claim for ALL eligible employees (who have accepted your nomination) and backdate their pay to 30th March.
Please make sure you and your employees only claim for JobKeeper from one entity. It cannot be switched later and if you or your employee claim for two they will become ineligible to receive from anyone.
JobKeeper – how will you receive payment and pay PAYG?
If you have enrolled your business in JobKeeper, registered your eligible employees and business participants, advised which fortnights you are claiming for and for whom (step 2), and provided your turnover data as required (step 3). The ATO will be crediting funds to the specified bank account (use your business account initially to make accounting for the money throught the business easier.
For business participants like Sole Traders and the eligible Partner in the partnership, the ATO is paying the full before tax amount of $1500 per fortnight. The business participant will need to remember come year end tax time the additional PAYG will be calculated and will incur a tax amount to be paid.
For employees you will also receive the gross (before tax) amount from the ATO, but you will deduct normal PAYGW for your employees. Remember if you get cash flow boost you may get this money repaid for the June and September quarters.
Superannuation for employees will only be paid on what they work. Therefore if the employee is stood down or being topped up, you don’t pay Superannuation on the top up amounts, only on what they actually work. So if they work for $500 per fortnight you only pay super on the $500, but not on the $1000 extra top up. If they’re stood down completely you pay no super. If they earn more and are still working, you pay super on their full salary.
JobKeeper – 16 and 17 year old full-time students – updated 11 May 2020
Unfortunately for them their bubble was burst. Treasury announced and it’s now been mandated 16 and 17 year old full-time students who are not financially independent, who are also long-term casuals are no longer be eligible for JobKeeper beyond the first three fortnights.
Employers should have paid eligible employees in this category for the first three fortnights (ending 10 May 2020). The employee and business participant nomination forms have been updated with reference to 16/17 year olds). This change was enacted prospectively, not retrospectively (meaning it will apply to future periods not one’s already covered to 10th May 2020). As JobKeeper is a once in, all in methodology, employers should have paid for (and have/will claim for) the first three fortnights for employees by paying them for April and the period ending 10th May 2020, including any catch-up payment if they hadn’t already paid them the full amount. Refer the new employee nomination notice which must be completed by 16/17 year olds, to show whether to continue or cease paying them from 11th May 2020.
There is much more to this time of crisis than JobKeeper
We’ve started a 30 part blog and video series about Coping With Crisis. Join us on the blog, on Facebook or our YouTube Channel to keep up with the new suggestions.
*The Crisis Trifecta (#crisistrifecta)
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JobKeeper – contacting the ATO and correcting enrolment error
Many sole trader and others made an error and duplicated their business participants as an employee. So instead of loading employee numbers for each fortnight as 0, they loaded as 1 employee per period, and duplicated by also loading a business participant, when it was the same person.
Unfortunately the ATO in a call with us on 27th April, said the people who made this error CANNOT self correct, but SHOULD phone the ATO and get them corrected ‘to avoid issues later’. Fortunately sanity prevailed and you can simply update the employee number to zero when completing your Step 2 (and 3) online via the Business Portal, or MyGov for Sole Traders.
JobKeeper – what periods are eligible
If your March 2020 or April 2020 months meet the minimum reduction in turnover (30% fall in GST calculated turnover in most cases), you can claim JobKeeper from the start date of 30 March 2020. Once you have passed the test ONCE then you can continue to receive the JobKeeper payments until the current end date of 27 September 2020 (subject to change). You will report turnover monthly and confirm employees and any business participant is still eligible, but you do not need to keep meeting the turnover fall to continue receiving the payments.
If you do not meet March or April reductions you can claim from the month where the fall occurs. For instance if it happens in July, you can then claim July to September subject to you being able to prove the fall in turnover and make your application. You will need to pay employees, declare eligible recipients by the end of relevant fortnightly periods to get payment in arrears for the fortnights that apply in the month.
Outstanding query to the ATO – can a business choose to enrol later for JobKeeper than when they were eligible? For instance they may be eligible from 30 March 2020 but not be able to find the cash flow. If they manage to find it for July can they claim from then? This is clear where the business becomes eligible in July for the first time but not if it was technically eligible earlier.
The ATO has confirmed if a business can’t make a payment on fortnight but can before and after, it can fail the wage condition, not receive money but also not pay money for that fortnight, but STILL remain in JobKeeper for the remaining period. They will not receive a payment for that period.
JobKeeper – Australian Business Stimulus for Employers
Employers (including for this purpose sole traders with no actual employees), have been encouraged to retain staff. This allows less pressure on the Centrelink welfare system and will artificially create a lower unemployment rate (even though people may not be working).
The JobKeeper deadline for April and May is 31 May 2020
Effective 28th April the deadline to pay employees for the fortnights starting 30th March was extended to the 8th May 2020. If you have not paid your first two fortnights by then, you will not be eligible to receive payments for those periods for employees or your business. The deadline to lodge your tax returns if you had a standard accountant tax agent deferred lodgment date has been extended to 5th June 2020 (extended from 15th May 2020) (check with your accountant). The deadline to Apply for April and May JobKeeper payments as a business is now 31 May 2020. Please note you can only apply after 8th May for April if you had paid your employees by 8 May 2020. Because of the once in, all in principle if you have employees and did not pay them you can’t get the April payments. If they were still being paid normally (and was above $1500 per fortnight), you can still claim for April and May for eligible up until 31 May 2020. Make sure you do all 3 steps is applying late! If you don’t get a receipt number you didn’t do all the steps yet. Source: https://www.ato.gov.au/general/JobKeeper-Payment/
Make sure you watch out for and meet ATO’s key dates (refer table below). This means paying employees by the end of fortnights (the ATO advise you can stick to normal payroll dates as long as you are consistent and fortnights are paid by month end each month), completing your Business Portal or MyGov entries monthly in the first week.
Not received JobKeeper payments yet?
If as an employer (and/or business participant), you haven’t received payment yet for April, please check the ATO Business Portal or MyGov (for sole traders) to make sure you have completed steps 1, 2 and 3. It should show you’ve enrolled, you’ve identified eligible employees and you’ve provided your turnover for April and May. If that’s all in order and you waited four business days and you met all the criteria, then follow up with ATO to see where your payment is. The ATO advised us 11 May 2020, most non-payments were due to not completing the steps, people who were ineligible (like no tax return), or even bank account typos. Please note if using MYOB or XERO they completed step 2, but not step 3, hence why a number of people were waiting.
The provision of turnover numbers is NOT a revalidation of the turnover reduction, but rather a way to monitor how businesses are travelling. Next month you will confirm employee and business participants are still valid and provide a month of actual turnover, and a month’s projected turnover. In addition you will need to pay your employees by the JobKeeper fortnight end dates.
Updated 4 May 2020, with the Step 2 being activated and following call with the ATO 11 May and 27 April 2020, and confirmation they’ve increased the deadline to apply. We have been updating people via our Facebook page, and below are the latest updates as legislated 23 April 2020 regarding Alternative Turnover Tests and the latest video update on the topic (20 April 2020) with the package now live.
For more details refer https://www.ato.gov.au/general/JobKeeper-Payment/ , https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/jobkeeper , the Rules and Explanatory Statement along with the legislation passed (can find the latter on aph.gov.au).
On this page (the following topics are clickable so you can fast forward down the page):
- JobKeeper – contacting the ATO if you made an error enrolling for JobKeeper
- How do you prove you’re enrolled for JobKeeper?
- JobKeeper Turnover Tests including the basic and alternative tests
- JobKeeper GST Turnover – what does it mean?
- JobKeeper Integrity Test – tax return lodgment dates
- JobKeeper – multiple roles or business participant plus employee
JobKeeper 20 April Update
The information above this video is more recent (or was included in this video). If anything conflicts, the information above this point supercedes it.
Rough Transcript of 20 April JobKeeper Business Stimulus Australia Update following ATO Business Portal opening for applications.
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