COVID-19 planning tools
COVID-19 and its impacts will be with us for some time, so it’s important to have a plan to keep the workplace safe and virus free. We all need to develop safe work practices and consider how to reconfigure operations to adapt to the ongoing restrictions. Having a plan and using checklists will help get through each stage from preparing and preventing to responding and recovering.
Visit the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission for an excellent planning tool pmc.gov.au/nccc/resources/planning
Extension of time to enrol for the JobKeeper scheme
Please note the Commissioner has extended the time to enrol for the initial JobKeeper periods from 30 April 2020 until 31 May 2020.
If you enrol by 31 May, you will still be able to claim for the fortnights ending in April and May provided you meet all the eligibility requirements for each of those fortnights. This includes having paid your employees by the appropriate date for each fortnight.
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 8 May. If you do not pay your staff by this date, you will not be able to claim JobKeeper for the first two fortnights.
Employers (or their accountants) need to log into the business portal on the ATO’s website using their MyGovID, where they can access JobKeeper enrollment forms.
Here are the steps to prepare:
- Check if you, as an employer, and your nominated employees meet the eligibility requirements..
- Notify eligible employees that you (their employer) intend to participate in the JobKeeper scheme.
- Send your eligible employees the JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice to complete and return to you.
- Keep the Employee Nomination Form on file for five years.
- Pay the minimum $1,500 to each eligible employee per JobKeeper fortnight. The first fortnight starts on 30 March and ends on 12 April. Alternatively, you can make one combined payment of $3,000 for the first two fortnights (paid by the end of April 2020).
Sole traders and other businesses with self-employed individuals are eligible for the JobKeeper Payment for one business participant if their business has experienced a downturn. They will need to meet other eligibility criteria, like having an ABN on 12 March 2020. You can find out more about eligibility for sole traders through the ATO’s JobKeeper Payment scheme page.
You need to pay all your eligible employees at least the minimum amount of $1500, even if you re-hire them or they earn less than this per fortnight. You cannot pay your employees less than $1500 per fortnight and keep the difference.
How to pay
You need to re-start or continue to pay all your eligible employees at least $1500 a fortnight in line with your existing pay cycle through your existing payroll solution.
When to pay
You should pay your employees for each JobKeeper fortnight you plan to claim for. The first fortnight is from 30 March – 12 April and each JobKeeper fortnight follows after that.
For the first two fortnights (30 March – 12 April, 13 April – 26 April), the ATO will accept the minimum $1500 payment for each fortnight has been paid by you even if it has been paid late, provided it is paid by May 8. This means that you can make two fortnightly payments of at least $1500 per fortnight before May 8, or a combined payment of at least $3000 before May 8.
If your eligible employees change or leave your employment, you need to notify the ATO.
How much to pay
You must pay the minimum $1500 (before tax) to each eligible employee per fortnight to claim the JobKeeper payment for that fortnight.
If your eligible employees earn less than $1500 (before tax) per fortnight, you must pay them at least $1500 for each fortnight to claim the JobKeeper payment.
You cannot pay your employees less than $1500 per fortnight and keep the difference. You will not be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if you pay your nominated employee less than $1500 (before tax) per fortnight.
If your eligible employees earn more than $1500 per fortnight, you should continue to pay them their regular salary or wages. However, you will only receive $1500 for each eligible employee. Any amount you pay above $1500 per fortnight is not subsidised by the JobKeeper payment.
If an employee was stood down after 1 March 2020, you can start paying them $1500 per fortnight to qualify for the JobKeeper payment for that employee.
If an employee ceased working for you after 1 March 2020, you can re-engage them and pay them at least $1500 per fortnight. You will only be eligible to claim for the fortnights after you re-engaged your employee.
All JobKeeper payments are assessable income of the business that is eligible to receive the payments. The normal rules for deductibility apply in respect of the amounts your business pays to its employees where those amounts are subsidised by the JobKeeper payment.
The JobKeeper payment is not subject to GST.
For further information and updates visit the ATO JobKeeper pages ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/
Updated turnover test
The ATO has also issued updated guidance on the basic decline in turnover test, based on GST turnover.
This test is satisfied where a business’ projected GST turnover for the turnover test period falls short of their current GST turnover for the relevant comparison period, by the specified percentage (generally 30 per cent).
According to the ATO, in order to satisfy the test businesses will need follow a five step process including identifying the turnover test period; identifying the relevant comparison period; working out the relevant GST turnover; determining which shortfall percentage applies; and determining if GST turnover has fallen by the specified shortfall percentage.
The Tax Office explained that while the turnover calculation is based on GST turnover, there are some modifications to the definitions of current and projected GST turnover, including disregarding GST grouping.
In order to satisfy the test, businesses with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less will need to determine a shortfall of 30 per cent or more in turnover, while those with a turnover of more than $1 billion will need to show a 50 per cent fall in turnover. ACNC registered charities need to demonstrate a shortfall of 15 per cent or more.
The ATO’s guidance on applying the turnover test is available at ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/In-detail/Applying-the-turnover-test.
Visit the business.gov.au whole-of-government website. It is a single entry point for information, services and support to help businesses. Find financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the new government support for Australian businesses. business.gov.au/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman My Business Health website supports small businesses and family enterprises.
They have a dedicated COVID-19 section covering finances and mental health asbfeo.gov.au/my-business-health/categories/covid-19
Small Business relief package summary
The Government announced on March 22nd the second stage of measures to keep businesses in business and to keep workers in jobs.
This stage of measures is squarely focused on getting businesses and their workers through to the other side of this crisis.
Updates for business owners:
- ·business owners and NFP's who employ staff will receive a rebate
- ·this rebate will be based on the amount of tax reported on activity statements
- ·the rebate will be 100% of the tax withheld
- ·maximum payment is $50k across the eligible period (Jan 2020 - June 2020)
- ·minimum payment is $10k across that same period
- ·additional payment for the July 2020 - October 2020 period
- ·that additional payment is based on what has previously been received in the January 2020 - June 2020 period
- ·there is a maximum payment limit of $100k across the full 10 month period
- ·to be eligible there are turnover limits of $50 million
Please refer to treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses for the most up to date business relief information
Updates for individuals, sole traders without employees, and households:
- ·income support payments available including a new Coronoavius supplement
- ·this is based on those applying for the job seeker allowance
- ·$750 payments to eligible persons (including those on social security, concession card holders and other income support recipients)
- ·early access to superannuation (always always always speak to your financial advisor before making any withdrawals from your super fund)
- ·there are specific rules around who is eligible to access their superannuation early
Please refer to treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/households for the most up to date individual and household relief information.
Business Council of Australia members support www.bca.com.au/what_our_members_are_doing
Federal government economical response link: treasury.gov.au/coronavirus