We wish to remind you of the changes to the JobKeeper Payment Scheme taking effect from today and some information of a new Grant to explore.
The current version of the JobKeeper Payment Scheme comes to an end effective 28 September 2020. You need to submit your claim for the September JobKeeper Payment before 14 October 2020. You will need to provide your actual turnover for September and estimated turnover for October.
From 28 September 2020 the revised JobKeeper Payment Scheme comes into effect. Whilst you do not have to reapply to access JobKeeper you do need to retest your decline in turnover and recategorize your employees into “full time” and “part time”.
In essence you will need to compare your actual GST turnover for the quarter ended 30 September 2020 with the corresponding period in 2019 and meet the 30% decline in turnover test overall for the whole quarter.
This review and retest process must be completed before 14 November 2020 being the last day that the October JobKeeper Payment claim can be submitted.
More information is detailed below.
Sole Trader Grant
In addition to the Victorian Government Round 3 Business Support Fund Grants that opened on 19 September 2020, the alternative Sole Trader Grant of $3,000 has now opened for applications.
This program is targeted to Sole Trader Businesses operating out of a business premises who are still subject to the higher levels of restrictions. We refer you to the attached link:
JobKeeper 2.0 changes become effective from Monday 28 September 2020. In order to qualify for the JobKeeper scheme from 28 September 2020, you will need to firstly determine you satisfy the decline in GST turnover test, and then review your eligible employee’s hours to determine their JobKeeper wage entitlement.
Step 1: Decline in GST Turnover – 30% Requirement
You must demonstrate that your actual GST turnover for the quarter ended 30 September 2020 has declined at least 30% compared to the same period last year. GST turnover is measured as the total sales reported on your BAS, excluding the GST collected figure reported at label 1A. This is calculated using the accounting basis for which you report GST on your BAS, being cash or accruals.
Note, the above figure may be different to the income reported in your profit & loss statement as certain income may be excluded and/or recognised at another point in time on your BAS.
The ATO may allow you to use an alternative test to demonstrate your decline in actual turnover if your comparison period is not appropriate due to certain circumstances having occurred.
These tests apply to entities whom either;
Commenced trading after the comparison period but before 1 March 2020
Were involved in a business acquisition, sale of business or restructure
Have irregular turnover
Were affected by natural disaster
Experienced a substantial increase in turnover
Step 2: Eligible Employee Payment Rates
The fortnightly allowance will now be based on a tiered rate, depending on the employee’s average hours worked in one of the two reference periods. Hours worked include: paid work, paid leave and/or paid public holidays. The reference period is the 28-day period on the last day of the pay cycle ended before 1 March 2020 or before 1 July 2020. If an employee passes the 80-hour test in either period, then the tier 1 rate applies. There are alternative reference periods available if the above dates are not representative of an employee’s ordinary hours.
For eligible business participants, sole traders and religious practitioners, you need to assess the number of hours actively involved in the business during the month of February 2020.
Tier 1 rate
Tier 2 rate
80 Hour Test Passed
80 Hour Test Failed
28 September 2020 – 3 January 2021
4 January 2021 – 28 March 2021
Step 3: Payment
The ATO have allowed employers until 31 October 2020 to meet the adjusted wage condition for JobKeeper Fortnights starting 28 September 2020 and 12 October 2020.
Step 4: Notification
You must notify the ATO of the chosen rate for all eligible employees, business participants and/or religious practitioners as part of your November monthly declaration. You must notify your employees in writing of their payment rate within 7 days of notifying the ATO.
We note that the various small business software providers have or are in the process of modifying their payroll modules to cater for the changes to the JobKeeper Payment Scheme.
More detailed information about the JobKeeper Payment Scheme can be found on the ATO website.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any assistance in accessing any of the Government assistance programs.
Victorian Government - Business Support Fund - Round 3 applications open
The Victorian Government has opened applications for the third round of the Business Support Fund providing grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on the business’ annual payroll.
The Applications will remain open until the earlier of when the allocated funds have been exhausted or 23 November 2020 – we recommend that you apply as soon as possible.
You must be a current recipient of the JobKeeper Payment Scheme to qualify for this Grant. Therefore, if you expect to drop out of the JobKeeper Payment Scheme from 28 September 2020, you must make sure you make application for this third round of the Business Support Fund before 28 September 2020.
With this application there is a greater focus on ensuring only businesses that operate qualifying businesses are able to apply for the grant.
We refer you to the following attached detailed Guidelines and recommend that you review them carefully before making application:
To assist in making sure the Application is processed smoothly we recommend that you:
Ensure that your ABN record includes a qualifying ANZSIC business activity code; and
Quote the correct business name registered on your Workcover Policy.
Provided you have all information to hand, the actual application process takes approximately 20 minutes.
Should you require our assistance in making the Grant application on your behalf or to ensure your ABN record has a qualifying ANZSIC business activity code attached to it, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Victoria - Business survival and adaptation package
The Victorian Government has annouced additional expansion to the Coronavirus support packages which they value at an additional $3 billion.
Of particular interest is the announcement of a third round of the Business Support Fund.
This round will have different funding levels depending upon the size of your payroll; viz:
$10,000 if annual payroll is less than $650,000.
$15,000 if annual payroll is between $650,000 and $3 million.
$20,000 if annual payroll is between $3 mil and $10 mil.
The detailed eligibility criteria and application process has NOT yet been released. We will let you know when the application process is opened.
Other components of the package include:
Deferral (not a waiver) of 2020/2021 payroll tax for business with payrolls of up to $10 million
Waiver and deferral of liquor licence fees, the congestion levy, landfill levy increase, vacant residential land tax etc.
A voucher system that allows businesses to access digital programs such as Shopify or Squareonline, training and workshops designed to help businesses adapt to online operations.
A package to assist Victorian exporters to access markets.
Further details of these programs can be found on the Business Victoria web site.
With effect from 14 August 2020 there have been changes to the current JobKeeper Payment Scheme that may impact upon you. The main changes are:
From 3 August, the eligible employee test has been extended to include individuals who were employed on 1 July 2020 and are not currently nominated for JobKeeper by another entity.
This means that employees that commenced employment after 1 March 2020 but before 1 July 2020 will now be eligible for JobKeeper for the JobKeeper fortnight starting on or after 3 August 2020 (i.e. JobKeeper Fortnight 10)
A payment extension to 31 August.
For the fortnights commencing on 3 August and 17 August only, the ATO are allowing employers until 31 August 2020 to meet the wage condition for all new eligible employees included in the JobKeeper scheme under the 1 July eligibility test.
Long-term casual employees can be reassessed to see if they now qualify for JobKeeper.
If a casual employee was not an eligible employee prior to 3 August 2020, you can use the 1 July 2020 test to reassess that employee’s eligibility. The test requires that the employee be employed on a regular and systematic basis for the period 2 July 2019 to 1 July 2020.
Please refer to the ATO JobKeeper website for further details:
We again remind you that the current JobKeeper Payment program operates until 28 September 2020.
If you are currently not enrolled for the JobKeeper Payment but your turnover is being significantly impacted by the current restrictions you may qualify for JobKeeper for the months of August and September.
You must enrol before the end of August to qualify for the August payment.
As always, we are here to provide any assistance that you need.
The Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg announced that the criteria to qualify for JobKeeper post September 2020 will be modified.
To qualify for JobKeeper 2.0, after the current scheme finishes on 28 September, you will now need to demonstrate that your business turnover for the three months 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020 is at least 30% less than the corresponding period in 2019.
With the current lockdown in Victoria this change will probably mean that a lot of businesses will now qualify for the JobKeeper extension. We will provide more detailed information as it comes to hand.
The detailed rules associated with the stage 4 restrictions in Victoria continue to evolve and we recommend that you regularly visit the Victorian Department of Health web site to review those rules that impact upon you.
A significant amount of additional information was published yesterday.
Should you have any queries or need our assistance in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Stage 4 Restrictions - Update for businesses
As I am sure you are aware by now, Metropolitan Melbourne is now in Stage 4 Restrictions. We understand that this is a very difficult time for all Victorians and especially businesses.
The Premier has outlined the details for businesses in Melbourne. There are three categories of business outlined per the attached document Stage 4 restrictions
The State Government has also announced that they will be increasing the most recent $5,000 Business Support Fund Grant to $10,000 in recognition of the extended restrictions. If you have already received the $5,000 grant you will automatically receive the next $5,000 (this is in addition to the $10,000 grant paid earlier in the year). Applications close 14th September 2020.
If you are in business and are not already eligible for Jobkeeper, but will be shut down or will have reduced revenue, you may still be eligible for August and September. Please contact us if you have not yet applied but now may be eligible.
To contact Business Victoria directly, they can be reached on 13 22 15.
If we can assist in any way, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Extensions to the JobKeeper and JobSeeker Payment Programs
A modified extension of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker support programs will take effect from 28 September 2020 to 28 March 2021.
There are no changes to the existing JobKeeper program until 28 September 2020.
New JobKeeper Payment Program
The JobKeeper payment rate is to be reduced and paid at two rates:
Phase 1: 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021
Tier 1: $1,200 per fortnight - From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, the payment rate will be reduced from $1,500 to $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the 4 weeks before 1 March 2020, were working in the business for 20 hours or more a week on average and for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for more than 20 hours per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
Tier 2: $750 per fortnight - for employees who were working in the business for less than 20 hours a week on average and business participants who were actively engaged in the business less than 20 hours per week in the same period.
Phase 2: 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021
Tier 1: $1,000 per fortnight - From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the payment rate will be $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees who in the 4 weeks before 1 March 2020, were working for 20 hours or more a week on average and for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for more than 20 hours per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
Tier 2: $650 per fortnight - for employees who were working for less than 20 hours a week on average and business participants who were actively engaged in the business for less than 20 hours per week in the same period.
Businesses and not-for-profits will be required to nominate which payment rate they are claiming for each of their eligible employees (or business participants).
The JobKeeper Payment will continue to be made by the ATO to employers in arrears. Employers will continue to be required to satisfy the "wage condition" by making payments to employees equal to, or greater than, the amount of the JobKeeper Payment (before tax), based on the payment rate that applies to each employee.
From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits seeking to claim JobKeeper payments will have to meet a further decline in turnover test for each of the 2 periods of extension, as well as meeting the other existing eligibility requirements. That is, businesses will be required to reassess their eligibility for the JobKeeper extension with reference to their actual turnover in the June and September quarters 2020.
In order to be eligible for the first JobKeeper Payment extension period of 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has significantly fallen in the both the June quarter 2020 (April, May and June) and the September quarter 2020 (July, August, September) relative to comparable periods (generally the corresponding quarters in 2019).
For the second JobKeeper Payment extension period of 4 January to 28 March 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will again need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has significantly fallen in each of the June, September and December 2020 quarters relative to comparable periods (generally the corresponding quarters in 2019).
The current JobSeeker Supplement of $550 per fortnight shall remain in place until 24 September 2020. From 25 September 2020 to 31 December 2020 the Supplement amount will be reduced to $250 per fortnight.
Means tests, income tests and job-seeking requirements shall be progressively reintroduced from 9 June 2020.
As we approach the end of September we can assist you in evaluating whether or not you will qualify for the extended assistance packages.
Victorian Business Support Package
With the reintroduction of Stage 3 Covid-19 restrictions for Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, the Victorian Government has today announced a new Business Support Package.
Of particular note is that the Government will provide a new $5,000 grant to eligible businesses. The Government has yet to provide any detail as to what is the eligibility criteria for the grants and the mechanism for claiming the grant. We will provide you with more information as it becomes available.
In addition, payroll tax payment deferrals will be available to all businesses with payrolls up to $10 million for the first half of the 2020/2021 financial year.
Please refer to the attached Media Release summarising the Package:
We here at Price Gibson are continuing to provide all of our services. We are available to assist you via phone, email or video conferencing.
We encourage all of our clients to attend to their 2020 taxation return preparation as soon as possible as planning for future taxation liabilities or accelerating tax refunds will be particularly important this year.
As always, should you require any assistance or wish to discuss your affairs in detail, please do not hesitate to contact us.
For those of you using MYOB AccountRight software products, MYOB have this week updated their system to facilitate easier payroll reporting of JobKeeper payments made on a per eligible employee basis to the ATO.
The JobKeeper payment enrolment process has been operating for a week and we thought it important to highlight the following:
You only have to qualify once. Once you start receiving the JobKeeper payment you will receive it until the end of September. You will receive it even if your income never drops by 30% again in any subsequent month or quarter.
The ATO has extended the enrolment deadline to receive April JobKeeper payments from 30 April 2020 to 31 May 2020.
Apparently some 400,000 businesses have enrolled for the April JobKeeper payment so far. The ATO acknowledges that businesses are finding it difficult to understand the JobKeeper Payment program and the enrolment process.
The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced on Friday afternoon several changes to the operation of the JobKeeper payment rules that may be applicable to you.
Of particular interest are proposed changes to how service/special purpose entities calculate a reduction in turnover, and confirmation of the “One in, All in” principle. Once you enter the JobKeeper payment program it is to apply to all of your employees unless they are specifically disqualified (e.g. casual employee with less than 12 months tenure; under age; not an employee as at 1 March 2020; etc)
We refer you to the ATO’s website and recommend that you visit it regularly as there are regular updates and to the Treasurers announcement.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office should you require any assistance.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has been tasked with the role of administering the JobKeeper Payment program.
They have released some detail as to the process required to Register for JobKeeper Payment and claim your entitlements.
Given that their systems are not yet fully ready there is a slightly different process for the month of April compared to what will be in place for May and following months.
This program runs initially for six months from 30 March 2020 – the ATO will pay you $1,500 per eligible person per fortnight provided you pass on at least that amount per eligible person paid monthly in ARREARS. You can apply for the JobKeeper Payment program from any time that you qualify (usually when you are able to demonstrate that you have or will have a reduction in turnover of 30% as measured on a month to month or quarter to quarter comparison with last year – other measures apply to businesses with unusual circumstances). If you don’t qualify now – do not discount the program as you may qualify in future periods. Please contact us for details of the criteria as they apply to you – they are potentially complex.
Attached is a copy of the ATO published information as at 14 April 2020 from the ATO website – we recommend that you read and review this information carefully.Jobkeeper instructions
Please remember that the JobKeeper Payment applies to not only traditional employers and sole traders but to other businesses in the form of a company, trust or partnership who can also qualify for JobKeeper payments where a business owner (a shareholder, adult beneficiary or partner) is actively engaged in the business, or a director is actively engaged in the business. This is limited to one entitlement for each entity even if there are multiple business owners or participants. The ATO will provide more information soon about the eligibility of these businesses for the JobKeeper payment.
Please note that you have to satisfy the definition of operating a “business” - most “investment” entities (e.g. share investors; landlords) do not qualify as a “business” according to the ATO. Where applicable you need to explore the JobSeeker Payment program.
The process for employers and sole traders etc who qualify for the JobKeeper Payment for this month is:
Step 1. Register your interest and subscribe for the update service (most clients have already completed this step)
Step 2. Check you and your employees meet the eligibility requirements (contact us for assistance in this review)
Step 3. Continue to pay at least $1,500 to each eligible employee per JobKeeper fortnight . During April there are two JobKeeper fortnights – 30 March to 12 April and 13 April to 26 April and you have until the end of April to ensure all eligible employees are paid the correct minimum.
Step 4. Notify your eligible employees that you intend to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and check that they are not already claiming JobKeeper or JobSeeker with another employer or via Centrelink.
Step 5. Arrange for your eligible employees to complete the “JobKeeper employee nomination notice” and return it to you before the end of April.
Step 6. From the 20 April you can enrol with the ATO via the ATO Business Portal or via our office. Enrolment must be completed by the end of April to qualify for the April payments.
Step 7. Provide bank details etc on the online form.
Step 8. Provide an estimate of the number of eligible employees for the first JobKeeper fortnight (30 March – 12 April) and the second JobKeeper fortnight (13 April – 26 April).
The actual online forms and access points are not yet available so you need to prepare your relevant business information in anticipation of the access being available from 20 April 2020.
The registration and claims process for May and following will be slightly different with the process being streamlined using your Single Touch Payroll (STP) pay reports – more detail will become apparent as the systems are released by the ATO.
As always, we are here to help you through this process – please so not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance.
Price Gibson Covid-19 Support Summary
It has been a difficult and testing time for all Australians.
There has been an array of information and legislative changes and assistance that can be confusing at the best of times. We have attempted to put these measures in one package for you, in the attached schedule.
If you have 20 employees or more on 1 April 2018, you will be required to report via STP from 1 July 2018.
Do you pay wages?
If you are an employer, you will be impacted by the new Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting measures being implemented by the Australian Taxation Office.
STP means employers will be obliged to report wages, PAYG withholding and superannuation to the Australian Taxation Office directly from their payroll solution at the same time they pay their employees.
When will I need to report via STP?
STP starts from 1 July 2018 for employers with 20 or more staff (i.e. substantial employers’).If you have 19 or less employees, STP is optional until 1 July 2019 (at which time it becomes compulsory).
Who is included as an employee?
Employers need to do a headcount on 1 April 2018 to ascertain if they are caught by the new measures for reporting commencing 1 July 2018.It is irrelevant if an employee is casual or part-time – they count as 1 employee.If employee numbers drop below 20 after you have registered for STP, you need to continue reporting through STP.
The following employees are included for these purposes:
Casual employees who are on your payroll on 1 April and worked any time during March;
Employees based overseas;
Any employee who is absent or on leave (paid or unpaid);
The following employees are excluded:
Any employees who ceased work before 1 April;
Casual employees who did not work in March;
Staff provided by a third-party labour hire organisation;
*although directors are excluded from the headcount, if the employer is a ‘substantial employer’ then remuneration paid to directors through payroll, will be reportable under STP.
If you have 20 employees or more on 1 April 2018, you will be required to report via STP from 1 July 2018.
What does this mean for me?
STP means every time you pay an employee, you must report the following information electronically on, or before the day you withhold from a payment (the pay day):
payment information, including salary or wages, allowances, deductions, etc.
superannuation liability information or ordinary times earnings (OTE)
Further, you will not be required to prepare annual PAYG Payment Summaries at year end.
If you are caught by the STP regime and you maintain a manual payroll system, you will need to choose a payroll solution that is STP-enabled.We urge you to contact our office to discuss your options.
We have been advised that MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks are all working on a solution to become STP compliant and they should have more information available in the coming months.
If you are a MYOB or Quickbooks user only their cloud-based products will be STP compliant.We therefore recommend that if you are using a desktop version of the software, that you contact our office.We can assist you with the transition to a cloud-based version.
If you outsource your payroll functions (e.g. ADP), your payroll administrator should be STP compliant however we recommend you confirm this with them directly.
STP is not optional. By 1 July 2019 all employers will need to be ready to report electronically.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office should you wish to discuss any of the above in further detail. Alternatively, you can click on the following link to view a short video published by the ATO in respect to STP www.ato.gov.au/business/Single-Touch-Payroll
ATO starts random audits of taxpayers claiming work-related deductions
The ATO have started undertaking random audits of taxpayers with work related deductions. Please contact our office if you are unsure of what you can claim.
Please contact our office should you wish to discuss how these budgetary measures affect you.
Interest Rate Update
The Reserve Bank of Australia has decreased the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.75%.
The reduction is a reaction to new data showing that inflation has dropped below their target range of 2.5 - 3%. The strength of the Australian Dollar and the impact this is having on exporters and tourism, together with a slowing housing market are also contributing factors to the rate reduction.
There is speculation that some lenders may not pass the decrease on in full. Therefore it may be a great time to review your current finance arrangements. Please contact our office should you require assistance in this regard.
Potential changes to negative gearing
The Labor Government has proposed a plan to scrap negative gearing for established properties with effect from July 2017.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has again decided to leave the official cash rate unchanged at 2%. Refer below for a copy of the official media release.
Even though the cash rate remains unchanged, lenders are making changes to lending rates so it may be useful to re-visit your current debt arrangements. Please get in touch with us if you require assistance in this regard.