As many of you are aware, the Australian government acted quickly to introduce several packages of support for businesses and individuals impacted by the Coronavirus crisis. While it was fantastic to have such rapid response from our government in its efforts to help those affected, there were wide-ranging unintended consequences including significant uncertainty about eligibility for the measures. In particular the complex JobKeeper legislation was the subject of many mixed messages from ATO and Treasury, as well as raising numerous questions about situations that had not been considered in the original legislation.
Advocacy by our accounting bodies subsequently led to several more legislative instruments being passed and rulings being issued to provide further and better guidance and to allow businesses to access JobKeeper payments where they may not have been eligible under the original rules. At the same time, the ATO and software providers had to develop and implement a process to administer the system, so many of the actual processes involved in enrolling and claiming JobKeeper have been unfolding on the go. This unique set of circumstances has meant that we have been learning and applying our knowledge on the JobKeeper scheme to our clients’ individual situations in an intense and constantly changing environment over the past few weeks.
Now we are finally in a position of relative stability and certainty in relation to JobKeeper. But thanks to the drama-hungry media creating stress and worry out of nothing, we just want to address a few common queries we have started receiving in relation to the JobKeeper scheme:
- MYTH – JobKeeper will only go for a couple of months. The government has recently confirmed that the relief measures brought in to assist in the Corona-crisis are temporary, not permanent. They have noted that they will review the JobKeeper scheme around the end of June. This does not mean anything at this stage. The JobKeeper legislation is scheduled to continue until end of September. If this changes, we will advise you. Please don’t listen to the media about JobKeeper.
- MYTH – Eligibility for JobKeeper is assessed each month. This is false. Once you have satisfied the eligibility criteria for your business in a given month/quarter, you are eligible for JobKeeper payments for the full duration of the scheme. This is regardless of anything that happens subsequently – such as re-opening your business, increasing your sales/turnover in future periods.
The ATO DOES require you to report at the beginning of each month on:
- Your actual turnover for the past month
- Your projected turnover for the current month
We are assured that this is only for information gathering purposes, so the ATO can track the recovery of businesses. This information WILL NOT be used to remove you from the JobKeeper scheme. You DO NOT have to re-test or re-confirm your eligibility once you have made your original assessment of eligibility in order to enrol in the JobKeeper scheme.
We will always inform you if there are changes or information that is relevant to you. Everything else you hear in the media is just noise.