JOBKEEPER PAYMENT – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The JobKeeper payment has now passed through both houses of Parliament and once it receives royal ascent the mechanism to register for this will be made available by the commissioner for taxation. The previous registration was just to indicate your interest to receive updates about the payment.

The Australian Government has released a Frequently asked Questions factsheet. We have below outlined some of the more relevant questions. You can find access to the full document at this link – https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-04/JobKeeper_frequently_asked_questions.pdf

 

WHEN WILL THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT COMMENCE?

The JobKeeper Payment will be available from 30 March 2020.

 

HOW LONG WILL THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT LAST FOR?

The JobKeeper Payment will be available for the period until 27 September 2020.

 

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO IF I WANT TO PARTICIPATE?

Eligible employers need to determine if they want to participate in this program by electing into it. More details will be provided about how to do that.

The JobKeeper Payment will be administered by the ATO.

If you want to participate, you can register your interest on the ATO website to keep updated on information about the JobKeeper payment.

If you register you will receive updates and information from the ATO about how and when to claim the JobKeeper payment.

If you are a BAS or Tax agent you do not need to register each client separately, unless you are registering each client to receive the information directly

 

HOW DO I WORK OUT WHICH OF MY EMPLOYEES ARE ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES?

You will only be able to claim the JobKeeper payment for eligible employees that were in your employment on 1 March 2020, and continue to be employed while you are claiming the JobKeeper payment.

An eligible employee is an employee who:

  • is currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
  • is a full-time or part-time employee, or a casual employed on a regular and systematic basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020;
  • was aged 16 years or older at 1 March 2020;
  • was an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder at 1 March 2020;
  • was a resident for Australian tax purposes on 1 March 2020; and
  • is not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.

You can only claim JobKeeper payment for eligible employees if you pay the $1,500 per fortnight (before tax) to each eligible employee.

These payments should be made using your payroll system and reported to the ATO via Single Touch Payroll. This will support the online claim process when it is available.

If you do not report through Single Touch Payroll, you can still claim the JobKeeper payment; however there will be a manual claim process.

You will be required to advise your employees whether you have nominated them as an eligible employee for the purposes of the payment.

 

WHEN WILL I RECEIVE THE FIRST PAYMENT?

The first payments by the ATO will be received by employers in the first week of May.

 

HOW OFTEN WILL THESE PAYMENTS BE MADE?

The payments will be made by the ATO monthly in arrears.

 

IF I HAVE STOOD DOWN MY EMPLOYEES AFTER 1 MARCH 2020, AND ARE NO LONGER PAYING THEM, DO I NEED TO PAY THEM, FOR WHAT PERIOD AND BY WHEN?

Yes. You can claim JobKeeper for employees that were stood down after 1 March 2020. To be eligible in relation to these employees, you will need to pay them a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight (before tax) for the payment periods of the JobKeeper Scheme.

The first payment period under the scheme is from 30 March 2020 to 12 April 2020. Where an employer pays their staff monthly the monthly payment must be equivalent to the required fortnightly payment.

For all following payment periods you will need to continue to pay your employees a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight (before tax), before the end of the payment period.

 

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF TURNOVER?

Turnover will be defined according to the current calculation for GST purposes and is reported on Business Activity Statements. It includes all taxable supplies and all GST free supplies but not input taxed supplies.

There are some modifications for businesses that are part of a GST group. Further information on GST turnover, and how to calculate it, is available at ato.gov.au.

 

MY BUSINESS HAS ONLY JUST STARTED OR MY BUSINESS HAS “LUMPY” INCOME. HOW CAN I SELF-ASSESS THAT MY TURNOVER HAS FALLEN 30 PER CENT?

To establish that a business has faced or is likely to face a 30 per cent or more or 50 per cent or more fall in turnover, most businesses would be expected to establish that their turnover has fallen in the relevant month or quarter (depending on the Business Activity Statement reporting period of that business) relative to their turnover in a corresponding period a year earlier.

Where a business was not in operation a year earlier, or where their turnover a year earlier was not representative of their usual or average turnover, (e.g. because there was a large interim acquisition, they were newly established, were scaling up, or their turnover is typically highly variable), the Tax Commissioner will have discretion to consider additional information that the business can provide to
establish that they have been adversely affected by the impacts of the Coronavirus.

The Tax Commissioner will also have discretion to set out alternative tests that would establish eligibility in specific circumstances (e.g. eligibility may be established as soon as a business ceases or significantly curtails its operations). There will be some tolerance where employers, in good faith, estimate a 30 per cent or more or 50 per cent or more fall in turnover but actually experience a slightly smaller fall.

MY TURNOVER HAS NOT DECREASED BY 30 PER CENT THIS MONTH, BUT I BELIEVE IT WILL IN THE COMING MONTH. AM I ELIGIBLE?

You can apply for the payment if you reasonably expect that your turnover will fall by 30 per cent or more (or 50 per cent or more for businesses with a turnover of $1 billion or more) relative to your turnover in a corresponding period a year earlier. The ATO will provide guidance about self-assessment of actual and anticipated falls in turnover.

IT IS UNLIKELY THAT MY TURNOVER WILL DECREASE BY 30 PER CENT IN THE COMING MONTH, BUT CAN I APPLY LATER IF MY TURNOVER DECREASES IN ONE OF THE SUBSEQUENT MONTHS?

If a business does not meet the turnover test at the start of the JobKeeper scheme on 30 March 2020, the business can start receiving the JobKeeper Payment at a later time once the turnover test has been met. In this case, the JobKeeper Payment is not backdated to the commencement of the scheme. Businesses can receive JobKeeper Payments up to 27 September 2020.

 

MY BUSINESS IS STILL OPERATING AND MY EMPLOYEES ARE STILL WORKING. HOW WILL MY PAYMENTS TO THEM BE AFFECTED?

In many cases, your payments and obligations to eligible employees will not change. Your business, if eligible, will receive a $1,500 per fortnight subsidy to support their continued employment. However, if any eligible employee currently earns less than $1,500 before tax per fortnight, you will need to pay them $1,500 per fortnight before tax to receive the JobKeeper payment.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO CONTINUE PAYING MY ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES UNTIL THE PAYMENTS ARE MADE?

The JobKeeper Payment is a reimbursement scheme that will be paid by the ATO monthly in arrears. In cases where this may present cash flow difficulties, those businesses may want to speak to their bank to discuss their options. The banks have said businesses may be able to use the upcoming JobKeeper payment as a basis to seek credit in order to pay their employees until the scheme is making its first payments.

AM I REQUIRED TO PAY PAYGW AND SUPERANNUATION ON THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

You must pay a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight to your eligible employees, withholding income tax as appropriate. The $1,500 per fortnight per employee is a before tax amount. Where an employee is paid more than $1,500 per fortnight, the employer’s superannuation obligations will not change. Where an employee is having their wages topped up to $1,500 per fortnight by the JobKeeper Payment, it will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wages paid by the JobKeeper Payment.


Published : 09 Apr 2020