COVID-19 Updates

JobKeeper 3.0 explained

14 August 2020

With the release of JobKeeper 3.0 some of the eligibility rules have changed from fortnight 10.

The relevant date of employment has been moved from 1 March 2020 to 1 July 2020. This means employees who were previously not eligible, may now be eligible for the current Jobkeeper period as well as the extended periods.

To satisfy the eligibility criteria, you need to identify these employees and meet the Jobkeeper minimum wage condition i.e. $1,500 by 16 August 2020.

It’s time to revisit the eligibility of your employees to comply with the existing “one in, all in” rule.

Employees are eligible in the extension period if they:

• are currently employed by an eligible employer (including if you were stood down or rehired)
• were for the eligible employer (or another entity in their wholly-owned group) either:
– a full-time, part-time or fixed-term employee at 1 July 2020; or
– a long-term casual employee (employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months) as at 1 July 2020 and not a permanent employee of any other employer.

• were aged 18 years or older at 1 July 2020 (if you were 16 or 17 you can also qualify if you
are independent or not undertaking full time study).

• were either:
– an Australian resident (within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991); or
– 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 July 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; or
– a payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual’s total incapacity for work.

Only one employer can claim the JobKeeper Payment in respect of an employee.

The self-employed will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment where they meet the relevant turnover test, and are not a permanent employee of another employer.

Employees will continue to receive the JobKeeper Payment through their employer during the period of the extension if they and their employer are eligible and their employer is claiming the
JobKeeper Payment. However, the amount of the JobKeeper Payment will change at the rates outlined below:

From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, the JobKeeper Payment rates will be:
• $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees who were working in the business or notfor-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, and for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average; and
• $750 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.

From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the JobKeeper Payment rates will be:
• $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees who were working in the business or not for-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, and for business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average; and
• $650 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.

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).

To find out more see the JobKeeper extension fact sheet.

JobKeeper 2.0 Q & A Session


Extension of the JobKeeper Payment

22 July 2020

The Government is extending the JobKeeper Payment by a further six months to March 2021. Support will be targeted to businesses and not-for-profits that continue to be significantly impacted by the Coronavirus. The payment rate will be reduced and a lower payment rate will be introduced for those who work fewer hours. Other eligibility rules remain unchanged.

The payment rate of $1,500 per fortnight for eligible employees and business participants will be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight from 28 September 2020 and to $1,000 per fortnight from 4 January 2021. From 28 September 2020, lower payment rates will apply for employees and business participants that worked fewer than 20 hours per week.

From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits seeking to claim the JobKeeper Payment will be required to demonstrate that they have suffered an ongoing significant decline in turnover using actual GST turnover (rather than projected GST turnover).
From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits will be required to reassess their eligibility with reference to their actual GST turnover in the June and September quarters 2020. They will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test in both of those quarters to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021.

From 4 January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will need to further reassess their turnover to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment. They will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test with reference to their actual GST turnover in each of the June, September and December quarters 2020 to remain eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.

To be eligible for JobKeeper Payments under the extension, businesses and not-for-profits will still need to demonstrate that they have experienced a decline in turnover of:
• 50 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion;
• 30 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less; or
Economic Response to the Coronavirus – JobKeeper Extension Last updated: 21 July 2020 2
• 15 per cent for Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission-registered charities (excluding schools and universities).

If a business or not-for-profit does not meet the additional turnover tests for the extension period, this does not affect their eligibility prior to 28 September 2020.
The JobKeeper Payment will continue to remain open to new recipients, provided they meet the existing eligibility requirements and the additional turnover tests during the extension period.
Other eligibility rules for businesses and not-for-profits and their employees remain unchanged.

See the Fact_sheet-JobKeeper_Payment_extension to find out more in detail.


COVID-19 Q & A Session


COVID-19 Relief Measures Update

17 June 2020

Jobkeeper monthly declarations

If you’ve enrolled for the JobKeeper Payment and identified your eligible employees you still need to make a monthly declaration to the ATO by the 14th day of each month.

As part of the declaration you will need to:

  • ensure you’ve paid your eligible employees at least $1,500 (before tax) in each JobKeeper fortnight you’re claiming for.
  • reconfirm your eligible employees and your contact and financial details.
  • provide information on your current and projected GST turnover, this isn’t a retest of your eligibility – it will indicate to us how your business is progressing.

For more information refer to the ATO website

Cash flow boosts

The second round of cash flow boosts are set to commence when you lodge your activity statements from June 2020.

The amounts will be equal to the total amount of initial cash flow boosts you received and will be split evenly over your lodgments. If you lodge:

  • quarterly, you’ll receive 50% of your total initial cash flow boost for each activity statement
  • monthly, you’ll receive 25% of your total initial cash flow boost for each activity statement.

When you lodge your June 2020 activity statement, you may receive the last part of your initial cash flow boost and the first additional cash flow boost as a credit.

You can find more information here.


Extensions to JobKeeper Scheme

28 April 2020

The ATO has just announced extensions to both the time to enrol in the JobKeeper Scheme, and the time in which employers need to pay employees for the first two JobKeeper fortnights.

Employers now have until 31 May 2020 to enrol for the initial JobKeeper payments.  In addition, it has extended the time in which employers need to pay employees for JobKeeper fortnights 1 and 2 until 8 May 2020.  Employers should ensure that by this date, all eligible employees have been paid $3,000 for the first two fortnights.

It is important that employers also ensure that a minimum of $1,500 per employee be paid by 10 May 2020 in relation to JobKeeper fortnight 3, as no extension to this date has been announced.

Further details regarding these extensions can be found on the ATO website.


JobKeeper Payment – rules announced

16 April 2020

The JobKeeper payment is for businesses and not-for-profits that are significantly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, and the measures in place to restrict it.

The government package will give eligible employees $1,500 per fortnight for a 26-week period, running from 30 March to 27 September.

The treasurer has now released rules governing the scheme. We will keep you informed as these are updated.

The one in, all in rule – Employers who opt to participate in the JobKeeper scheme must ensure that all eligible employees are covered. This includes all eligible employees who are undertaking work for the employer or have been stood down. The employer cannot select which eligible employees will participate in the scheme.

Notifying employees – If you have applied for the JobKeeper payment you must notify all eligible employees that you have elected to participate and they will be covered by the scheme. You’ll need to provide them with a JobKeeper employee nomination notice.

Decline in turnover test – If your organisation does not qualify for the month of April 2020 because turnover has not been sufficiently affected, turnover can be tested in later months to determine if the test is met.

Paying employees in the interim – The JobKeeper Payment is a reimbursement scheme that will be paid by the ATO monthly in arrears. Talk to us about your options if you are experiencing cash flow difficulties now.

What if an eligible employee usually earns less than $1,500 per fortnight before tax? – If you want to claim the subsidy for an eligible employee and they have not been paid $1,500 per fortnight since 30 March 2020, employers must pay a ‘top-up’ payment to employees so that they are eligible. It is possible that some employees may receive more than their ordinary pay.

Failure to pay the payment to employees – If you receive the JobKeeper subsidy for an employee, you must ensure that the employee receives a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight, before tax. Failure to do so is a breach of the Fair Work act and may result in penalties as an individual and corporation, plus penalties under the Commonwealth Criminal code.

Superannuation – There are a number of scenarios related to superannuation:

  • If your employee is not working, but receiving the JobKeeper payment, you do not need to pay superannuation.
  • If your employee is working and receiving the JobKeeper payment, employers will still need to pay superannuation.
  • If an employee is having their wages topped up to $1,500 per fortnight by the JobKeeper Payment, the employer does not need to pay superannuation on the top-up amount.

Monthly reporting – participation in the JobKeeper scheme requires monthly reporting including current GST turnover for the reporting month and projected GST turnover for the following month.

Does the JobKeeper payment cover other income loss such as rental income? – No. Only businesses with employees or self-employed people are eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.

Processing payments through your accounting and payroll software – Providers of this software are upgrading now to allow for easy processing of JobKeeper payments within payroll and will be ready by the time businesses receive the first payment.

How to apply

The first step is to register your interest and subscribe for JobKeeper payment updates on the ATO site. This will allow you to check your eligibility. You will also get access to the forms for your employees.

From 20 April 2020, you can enrol 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.

Get in touch with your questions

We can provide further guidance on the JobKeeper Payment and assist with the reporting requirements for your organisation.


Australia’s Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

14 April 2020

As part of the government’s economic response to the Coronavirus, the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme provides support for small businesses to access credit.

The $40 billion scheme is backed by the government, who cover 50% of the risk, with the remaining 50% covered by the lender for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital.

What we know so far

  • Businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans
  • Loans are up to $250,000 per operating business.
  • The loans will be up to 3 years, with an initial 6 month repayment holiday. They must be repaid within the three year time period
  • The loan will be in the form of unsecured finance. This means that businesses will not need to provide an asset as security.
  • These are loans, not grants. Criteria, fees and interest rates will differ by each lender.
  • The Scheme will be available for new loans made by participating lenders until 30 September 2020
  • The Government is yet to finalise the list of participating lenders. This will be published on the Treasury’s webpage.

If you are looking for financial support for your business, the more information you can provide to a bank or other lender, the better.

It is likely that you will need to provide proof that you can repay the loan. This will involve up-to-date financials including trading figures up until lockdown and a business plan that shows the future sustainability of your business.

Talk to us about your business plan. We can assist you with the financials and guide you through available funding options.


JobKeeper FAQ

7 April 2020

The Treasury has released a Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet on the proposed JobKeeper payments. The document responds to a number of questions raised by employers, including:

  • Eligibility of businesses and entity types
  • Determining eligible employees
  • Further details regarding the wage payment and reimbursement process
  • Definition of turnover, including details for new start ups and businesses with varying income

The fact sheet addresses questions raised by employees and Self-Employed people, and there is also guidance as to how the payments will apply to partnerships, trusts and shareholders.


The JobKeeper Payment – support for Australian businesses and sole traders

31 March 2020

The Government has announced a new measure to support Australian businesses, employees and sole traders. The JobKeeper Payment aims to support businesses to maintain their income and connection with employees. These connections will enable businesses to reactivate their operations quickly after the crisis is over.

The JobKeeper Payment

Eligible businesses will be able to claim $1,500 from March 30th, per fortnight per eligible employee for a maximum of 6 months. Payments will flow from the first week of May but will be backdated to March 30th.

Who is eligible?

The Jobkeeper Payment will be available to full-time workers, part-time workers, sole traders and casual workers (casual workers must be employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020. Eligibility is as follows:

  • Your business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and you can demonstrate it will be reduced by more than 30% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month).
  • Your business has a turnover of over $1 billion or more and you can demonstrate it will be reduced by more than 50% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month).
  • Employers must have been in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020. Businesses will be required to keep the employee on their books in order to distribute the payment.
  • Employees must be Australian citizens or holders of a permanent or special category visa, such as subclass 444. They must also be 16 years of age or older and not already receiving the JobKeeper payment from another employer.

Note: The JobKeeper Payment must be reported as income. If you are a non-employing sole trader this payment may affect your eligibility for payments from Services Australia.

What do I do next?

At this stage, eligible businesses should register with the ATO.

We will provide more information once it becomes available.


Scott Morrison unveils additional stimulus and support measures

23 March 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an additional stimulus package, taking the value of the total support to $189 billion.

Acknowledging that the coronavirus pandemic may continue for some time and have long lasting impact on the livelihoods of Australians, the PM announced a raft of new support measures.

Details of the new package:

Support for businesses – eligible businesses and not-for-profits, with a turnover of under $50 millions and who are employers, will receive up to $100,000 (with a minimum of $20,000). This is an extension to the ‘boosting cashflow for employers measure’ which aims to keep employees in work. Employers will receive a tax free payment equal to 100% of wages or salary withheld (increased from 50%). This will be available from April 28th.

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses – by temporarily providing higher thresholds and more time to respond to demands from creditors and providing temporary relief from directors’ personal insolvent trading liability.

Increasing the instant asset write-off – the Government has already announced that they are raising the threshold to $150,000 (from $30,000) — and making more businesses eligible to use it up to a turnover of $500 million.

Backing business investment – by accelerating depreciation deductions.

Supporting apprentices and trainees – through wage assistance to help small businesses.

Coronavirus SME guarantee scheme – a loan guarantee arrangement between the Government and participating banks to assist with the immediate cash flow needs of small businesses.

Increasing the benefit – the Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments with a new, time-limited coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight. The payment will go to existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit for the next 6 months.

Early access to superannuation – eligible individuals and sole traders will be able to access up to $10,000 in 2019-20, and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Withdrawals will be tax-free. Applications are through the myGov site online by July 1. There will also be a temporary reduction of minimum super drawdown rates.

Support for airlines and airports – up to $715 million relief from a range of taxes and Government charges.

For more on the new package, the Treasury has fact sheets on each measure at https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.


COVID-19 Financial Support for Australian Businesses

13 March 2020

Whatever your business, it’s likely that COVID-19 will be impacting you.

You may be dealing with stock shortages, exporting issues, disrupted travel plans or a sales downturn due to tourist drop off.

As the situation changes and develops across the world, it’s important that businesses develop a workplace response to coronavirus. You’ll want to have a plan on how to look after or protect your staff, how to manage sick leave and self isolation plus consider issues around privacy.

The Australian government has announced a $17.6 billion economic stimulus package, with the goal to support Australian’s health, jobs and livelihoods and set up Australia to bounce back.

The stimulus package to support business and recharge the economy includes the following programmes:

  • Boosting cashflow for employers – Temporary cash flow support for small businesses that employ staff. Payments will be a minimum of $2,000 and up to $25,000 tax free, for eligible businesses.
  • Increasing the Instant Asset Write-Off – Increasing the instant asset write off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expand access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020.
  • Supporting apprentices and trainees – Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.
  • Backing Business Investment – Accelerated depreciation deductions to support business investment and economic growth over the short term.

The government’s business site has useful information on support for Australian businesses.

Have a question? Connect with us.

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Perth Anaesthetic Group has worked with Thorntons Accountants and Business Advisors since 1987. I have personally worked alongside Abha and the team for the last 8 years, within this time I have found their services and professionalism to be exceptional. Company financials are always completed as per the scheduled date and professionally presented. In recent times with Covid, being a small business we have needed help with Jobkeeper and eligibility for Stimulus packages, I have found Abha and the team have gone above and beyond to help and guide us to ensure we have the most up to date information to determine eligibility. I am reassured having Thorntons as our Accountants/Business Advisers and look forward to continuing working with Abha and the team.
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