JobKeeper – Further Information

Most people who have already registered their interest in the JobKeeper payment would have received over the past few days, further information from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
 

The ATO has released a large amount of information and further detail relating to the JobKeeper Payment on their website. The three areas that we will focus on are:

  • Employer Eligibility Criteria
  • Employee Eligibility Criteria
  • Enrolling in the JobKeeper Payment (from 20 April)

Most of the information below is taken directly from the ATO website and is accurate at the time of this article being published. For further information please visit the ATO JobKeeper web page.

Before we go into the three points above, below are some key points on the JobKeeper payments:

  1. If you are a business expecting a JobKeeper payment for the month of April you should already be paying your employees $1,500 per fortnight. You must ensure that your business is eligible first.
  2. For the first two fortnights (30 March – 12 April, 13 April – 26 April), the ATO will accept the minimum $1,500 payment for each fortnight has been paid by you even if it has been paid late, provided it is paid by you by the end of April. This means that you can make two fortnightly payments of at least $1,500 per fortnight before the end of April, or a combined payment of at least $3,000 before the end of April
  3. Send the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to your nominated employees to complete and return to you by the end of April if you plan to claim JobKeeper payment for April. Keep it on file and provide a copy to your registered tax agent if you are using one.
  4. Ensure your payroll system has the appropriate pay codes and descriptions setup to make the payments. You will need to contact your Software provider to clarify this.
  5. Determine your businesses eligibility and ensure you have adequate documentation to prove that you are eligible and your fall in turnover is due to COVID-19.
  6. Pay your employees the correct amount and in accordance with the JobKeeper fortnights. Please contact us if you require further information about how and when to pay.
  7. Sole Traders and Business Owners who are not employees but actively involved in their business are also eligible. We will provide further information soon about the eligibility.

Employer Eligibility Criteria

Employers will be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if all of the following apply:

  • On 1 March 2020, you carried on a business in Australia or were a not-for-profit organisation that pursued your objectives principally in Australia.
  • You employed at least one eligible employee on 1 March 2020.
  • Your eligible employees are currently employed by your business for the fortnights you claim for (including those who are stood down or re-hired).
  • Your business has faced a
    • 30% fall in turnover (for an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less)
    • 50% fall in turnover (for an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion), or
    • 15% fall in turnover (for ACNC-registered charities other than universities and schools).
  • Your business is not in one of the ineligible categories.

Most Businesses will be subject to the 30% decline in turnover test to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.

To work out your fall in turnover, you can compare either:

  • GST turnover for March 2020 with GST turnover for March 2019;
  • projected GST turnover for April 2020 with GST turnover for April 2019;
  • projected GST turnover for the quarter starting April 2020 with GST turnover for the quarter starting April 2019.

If your business does not qualify now, it may qualify in the future so it is important to monitor your trading and projections regularly.

If your business does not have a comparable period, for example because your business is newly established, the Commissioner of Taxation will have discretion to set “Alternative Tests”. Further information on the alternative tests is not yet available and will be released by the ATO in due course.

Please note that the ATO have advised that they will be expecting you to have strong records to prove that your business meets the eligibility criteria. If you are audited in the future and can not prove your eligibility, penalties will apply and there may be a requirement to repay the JobKeeper payments back to the ATO.

Employee Eligibility Criteria

You are an eligible employee if you:

  • are currently employed by the eligible employer (including if you were stood down or re-hired).
  • were for the eligible employer (or another entity in their wholly owned group), either a
    • permanent full-time or part-time employee at 1 March 2020
    • long-term casual employee (employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months) as at 1 March 2020 and not a permanent employee of any other employer.
  • were aged 16 years or older at 1 March 2020.
  • were either
    • an Australian resident (within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991) – visit the Services Australia website and read residence descriptions for more details
    • an Australian resident for the purpose of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the holder of a Subclass 444 (Special Category) visa as at 1 March 2020.
  • were not in receipt of any of these payments during the JobKeeper fortnight
    • government parental leave or Dad and partner pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010
    • a payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual’s total incapacity for work.

If you started work with your current employer after 1 March 2020, your employer will not be eligible to claim the JobKeeper payment on your behalf.

Enrolling in the JobKeeper Payment (from 20 April 2020)

You or a registered tax professional can enrol for the JobKeeper payment:

  • Step 1 – Register your interest and subscribe for JobKeeper payment updates.
  • Step 2 – Check you and your employees meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Step 3 – Continue to pay at least $1,500 to each eligible employee per JobKeeper fortnight (the first JobKeeper fortnight is the period from 30 March to 12 April).
  • Step 4 – Notify your eligible employees that you are intending to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and check they aren’t claiming JobKeeper payment through another employer or have nominated through another business.
  • Step 5 – Send the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to your nominated employees to complete and return to you by the end of April if you plan to claim JobKeeper payment for April. Keep it on file and provide a copy to your registered tax agent if you are using one.
  • Step 6 – From 20 April 2020, you can enrol with us for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal and authenticate with myGovID. You must do this by the end of April to claim JobKeeper payments for April.
  • Step 7 – In the online form, provide your bank details and indicate if you are claiming an entitlement based on business participation, for example if you are a sole trader.
  • Step 8 – Specify the estimated number of employees who will be eligible for the first JobKeeper fortnight (30 March – 12 April) and the second JobKeeper fortnight (13 April – 26 April).

If you prefer to engage our office to administer the JobKeeper program on your behalf with the ATO please click here and opt-in. We will then contact you with further information.

 

Home Office Tax Deductions (Shortcut Method)

On 7 April 2020, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announced a temporary short cut method for claiming home office expenses.

This temporary measure makes it easier for individual tax payers to claim deductions for additional running expenses in this time of working from home due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

The ATO will allow an individual to claim a deduction for all running expenses during the period 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 at a rate of 80 cents for each hour that an individual conducts genuine work duties from home.

Who is eligible to claim this shortcut method?

You can claim a deduction of 80 cents for each hour you work from home due to COVID-19 as long as you are:

  • working from home to fulfil your employment duties and not just carrying out minimal tasks such as occasionally checking emails or taking calls,
  • incurring additional deductible running expenses as a result of working from home.

How does it work?

The 80 cents per hour covers all deductible running expenses associated with working from home in the period 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020.

The expenses included in the 80 cents per hour are the following:

  • electricity for lighting, cooling or heating and running electronic items used for work (for example your computer), and gas heating expenses
  • the decline in value and repair of capital items, such as home office furniture and furnishings
  • cleaning expenses
  • your phone costs, including the decline in value of the handset
  • your internet costs
  • computer consumables, such as printer ink
  • stationery
  • the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device.

This means that you can not claim a separate tax deduction for any of the above expenses while claiming the 80 cents per hour. Given this, in some cases, claiming the 80 cents per hour may result in a lower deduction than the existing home office arrangements.

What’s the difference between the shortcut method (80 cents per hour) and the existing method (52 cents per hour)?

The key differences are displayed in the table below. You will notice that the main differences are in the requirements around record keeping. The Shortcut method requires you to keep less records however you can not claim any other separate expenses:

Shortcut Method (80 cents p/h)Existing Method (52 cents p/h)
Can separately claim
– phone and internet expenses
– computer consumables and stationery
– decline in value on computers or other equipment.
NoYes
RECORDS TO KEEP


keep a record of the hours you worked at home, for example timesheets or diary notesYesNo
diary entries for a representative four-week period to show your usual pattern of working at home that show
– you worked from home and made work
– related phone calls how you work out how much you used your equipment, home office and phone for work purposes over a representative four-week period
NoYes
receipts or other written evidence, including for depreciating assets you have purchasedNoYes
diary entries to record your small expenses ($10 or less) totalling no more than $200, or expenses for which you can’t get any kind of evidenceNoYes
itemised phone and internet accounts (paper or electronic) from where you can identify work-related calls and internet use, or other written records, such as diary entries if you don’t get an itemised bill.NoYes

Can I choose which method to use?

Yes, home running expenses incurred prior to 1 March 2020 must use the existing method (52 cents per hour) however after 1 March 2020, the individual can choose to use the shortcut method (80 cents per hour) or the existing method.

If you have would like to discuss any of the above further please do not hesitate to contact us 1300 978 320.

Victorian Government Business Support Fund

Further to the Federal Government Stimulus packages, the Victorian Government has launched a $500 million Business Support Fund.

This fund has been setup to help small businesses survive the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic and to also keep people in a job.

The potential value of the grant is $10,000 per business and will be allocated through a grant process.

The following information has been taken from the Business Support Fund Application page where you can begin the application process. If you would like further information or would like assistance with applying for this grant please feel free to contact us.

Who is Eligible?

You are an eligible business if you meet the following criteria:

How can the funding be used?

Examples of what the grant funding could be used for include:

  • Meeting business costs, including utilities, salaries, rent
  • Seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning
  • Developing the business through marketing and communications activities
  • Other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.

What evidence of eligibility and compliance is required?

  • Applicants will be subject to audit by the Victorian Government or its representatives and will be required to produce evidence, such as payroll reports to demonstrate impact, at the request of the Victorian Government for a period of four years after the grant has been approved.
  • If any information in the application is found to be false or misleading, or grants are not applied for the purposes stated in the terms of funding and application, the grant will be repayable on demand.

JobKeeper Payment Explained

The Government announced yesterday a JobKeeper Payment for businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus. This payment is a subsidy provided by the Federal Government that affected businesses can access to give them the ability to continue paying their employees. This payment will also be made available to the self-employed.

An Eligible business will be provided with $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee for up to 6 months.

This subsidy will start on 30 March 2020.

Who is an Eligible Employer?

  • Turnover less than $1 billion and turnover has reduced by more than 30% relative to a comparable period a year ago
  • Turnover more than $1 billion and turnover has reduced by more than 50% relative to a comparable period a year ago
  • Employer is in an employment relationship with an eligible employee as at 1 March 2020 and the employee is currently engaged
  • Not-for-profit or self-employed/sole trader who meet the above turnover test

Who is an Eligible Employee?

  • Currently employed by the eligible employer (including stood down or re-hired)
  • Employed by the employer at 1 March 2020
  • Full-time, part-time or a long-term casual (a casual employed on a regular basis for more than 12 months)
  • 16 years of age or older
  • An Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder
  • Not receiving the JobKeeper payment from another employer

How will it be paid?

  • $1,500 will be paid directly to the Eligible Employer for each Eligible Employee per fortnight.
  • The payments will be made to the employer monthly in arrears by the ATO
  • The Payment is before tax and employers can top up the payment if they wish to do so
  • Employees will be paid in the following manner:
    • For an employee who usually receives $1,500 or more in income per fortnight before tax, they will continue to receive their regular income according to their current workplace arrangements. The JobKeeper Payment will assist their employer to continue operating by subsidising all or part of the income of their employees.
    • For an employee who usually receives less than $1,500 in income per fortnight before tax, their employer must pay their employee a minimum $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
    • For employees who have been stood down, their employer must pay their employee a minimum $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
    • For employees who were employed on 1 March 2020, then ceased employment with their employer, and then been re-engaged by the same eligible employer, the employee will receive a minimum $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.

When will the first payments be paid by the ATO?

First payments will be paid to eligible employers by the ATO in the first week of May.

How does a business apply?

Businesses with employees can register their interest in the JobKeeper Payment from 30 March 2020 by following the below register link below.

Eligible employers who register will be able to apply for the subsidy via an online application and will need to identify the employees eligible for the JobKeeper payments.

Businesses without employees (self-employed/sole traders) can register their interest in the JobKeeper Payment from 30 March 2020 by also following the below register link.

Eligible businesses without employees who register will be able to apply online and will need to provide their ABN, nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number and provide a declaration of their recent business activity.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST IN JOBKEEPER

As usual please feel free to contact us to discuss your individual situation and for further advice on the above.

Federal Government Stimulus Package Fact Sheets

Please see the fact sheets below. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions at all and please ensure you speak to your Accountant or Financial Advisor before acting on any of the below:

Cash flow assistance for businesses

Delivering support for business investment

Supporting the flow of credit

Income Support for Individuals

Providing temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

Providing support for retirees to manage market volatility

Payments to support households

Early Access to Super

Info for Employers (JobKeeper Payment)

Fact sheet – Info for Employers (JobKeeper) Updated 1 April 2020

JobKeeper FAQ

Fact sheet – JobKeeper Payment extension

Business Support Fund Expansion Guidelines

 

Key Points from the Second Government Stimulus Package and Victorian Government Survival Package

On Sunday 22 March the Government released a second stimulus package to help individuals and business get through the Coronavirus crisis. As per the previous stimulus package announcement, more information is coming to hand as we write this but these are the key points we know so far.

CASH AND LOAN SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES

Eligibility:

At this stage we are not aware of the eligibility being any different to the announcement of the first stimulus a week ago being, companies including not-for-profits with annual turnover of up to $50m and paid wages between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020.

Timing and how will payments be made:

The payments will be made through the ATO system and paid directly into the bank account you have registered with the ATO. These payments will be linked to the Pay As You Go (PAYG) Withheld reported in your BAS starting from the lodgement of your March 2020 BAS.

Payment amounts:

There is an increase in the payment amount offered in the first stimulus being:

  • 100% of PAYG Withheld from employee wages (up from 50%)
  • Minimum payment available to employers is now $20,000 (up from $2,000) with $10,000 being paid in the April to June 2020 period (lodgment of  of March 2020 BAS) and $10,000 being paid in the July to October 2020 period (lodgement of June and September 2020 BAS)
  • Maximum payment available to employers is now $100,000 (up from $25,000) with $50,000 being paid in the April to June 2020 period (lodgment of  of March 2020 BAS) and $50,000 being paid in the July to October 2020 period (lodgement of June and September 2020 BAS)
  • The ATO will make these payment by way of a credit to your Business Activity Statements

GOVERNMENT GUARANTEED LOANS

  • Federal Government is offering businesses unsecured loans of up to $250,000 for a term of up to three years through your lender.
  • Loans will be repayment free for six months and 50% guaranteed by the government.

INSOLVENCY MEASURES BEING RELAXED

  • The outstanding amounts limits will be increased from $2,000 to $20,000
  • Timing to respond will be six months instead of 21 days.
  • Relief for Directors over the next six months whilst trading insolvent

ASSISTANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS

  • A range of extra payments available including an extra $750 for Jobseeker allowance on top of the $750 originally offered.
  • Support to Casuals and Sole Traders of an extra $550 a fortnight for the next 6 months

VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SURVIVAL PACKAGE

  • Payroll tax waived – Payroll tax waived in the 2020 financial year for eligible businesses with taxable wages up to $3 million
  • Payroll tax deferrals – The same eligible businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2021 financial year until 1 January 2021
  • Commercial rent relief – Commercial tenants in government buildings can apply for rent relief
  • Land tax payment deferral – 2020 land tax payments will be deferred for eligible small businesses
  • Liquor licensing fees – 2020 renewable liquor licence fees waived
  • $500m Business Support Fund – The fund will support the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail
  • $500m Working for Victoria Fund – The fund will help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities, including work cleaning public infrastructure or delivering food – providing vital contributions to our state’s response to the pandemic and affording those Victorians security when its needed most

All of the above is what we know at the moment. As usual please feel free to contact us to discuss your individual situation and for further advice on the above.

The Government’s Coronavirus Stimulus Package in a nutshell

Information is still being released about the Government’s Coronavirus Stimulus package, however, below is what we know so far in a nutshell.

More information will become available over the coming days and weeks. Please feel free to contact us on 1300 978 320 or info@spire-business.com.au if you have any questions or would like to discuss how the below stimulus affects you or your business individually.

$25,000 to Small and Medium Businesses:

  • Businesses with turnover up to $50 million that employ staff between 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2020 may be eligible
  • A business that pays income tax on behalf of employees (PAYG Withholding) may be eligible for a payment equal to 50% of the sum of all employees’ total PAYG Withholding, to a maximum of $25,000
  • If you are a business that pays wages but not required to pay tax you may be eligible to receive a minimum payment of $2,000
  • This stimulus will be issued automatically based on Business or Instalment Activity Statements lodged from April 28
  • This payment is tax free
  • Payments are expected to be paid within 14 days

For Apprentices:

  • The business must employee less than 20 full-time employees
  • Businesses will be offered up to $21,000 ($7,000 per quarter for the first three quarters or 9 months of the 2020 calendar year) for each apprentice
  • The payments will be equal to 50% of the apprentice’s wages
  • A large business or Group Training Organisation may also be eligible for these benefits if they employ an out-of-trade apprentice who has been in-training with a small business as of 1 March 2020
  • Employers can register for the subsidy from 2 April 2020
  • Further information available on the governments Australian Apprenticeships website

Instant Asset Write-Off Extension:

  • The current tax write-off of $30,000 for businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million is now extended to include businesses with a turnover of up to $500 million and purchases of up to $150,000
  • This extension will apply until 30 June 2020

One-off payments:

  • The government will provide one-off payments of $750 to people on Newstart and to pensioners
  • The payment is tax-free and will not be assessable income

Support to particular sectors:

  • The Government will be committing $1 billion to support businesses that have severely affected such as the travel and tourism sector

Further to the above stimulus, the ATO will be looking to be more flexible in the way they will handle taxpayers’ affairs, this is what we know so far:

  • The ATO will allow businesses who usually report GST quarterly to opt in for monthly GST reporting in order to receive GST refunds quicker
  • Businesses will be allowed to vary their Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment to zero for the March 2020 quarter
  • Businesses who vary their PAYG instalment to zero will also be able to claim a refund made for the September and December 2019 quarters
  • The ATO will look to remit any interest and penalties applied on or after 23 January 2020 and will also be offering low interest payment plans to businesses with a tax debt owing
  • All of the above will not be applied automatically and will require a phone call or request put forward to the ATO