AM I ELIGIBLE FOR THE PAYMENT?
Yes. People who are self-employed will be eligible for the payment provided, at the time of applying, they:
- estimate their GST turnover has or will fall by 30 per cent or more;
- had an ABN on or before 12 March 2020, and either had an amount included in its assessable income for the 2018-19 year and it was included in their income tax return lodged on or before 12 March 2020 (or such later time as allowed by the Commissioner), or made a supply during the period 1 July 2018 to 12 March 2020 and provided this information to the Commissioner on or before 12 March 2020 (or such later time as allowed by the Commissioner);
- were actively engaged in the business;
- are not entitled to another JobKeeper Payment (either a nominated business participant of another business or as an eligible employee);
- are not a permanent employee of any other employer;
- were aged at least 16 years of age as at 1 March 2020; and
- were an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder at 1 March 2020.
I AM SELF-EMPLOYED. HOW CAN I APPLY FOR THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?
The ATO will administer the program with an online application process. You may be asked to provide your ABN and a single Tax File Number for the eligible recipient of the JobKeeper Payment, and a declaration of business activity.
I AM SELF-EMPLOYED AND ALSO HAVE A JOB. AM I ELIGIBLE FOR THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?
An individual can only receive the JobKeeper Payments from one source. However, if you are eligible for a JobKeeper Payment, you can also receive income from other sources including another job. To be eligible as a self-employed individual, you must not be a permanent employee of any other employer.
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.
IS MY BUSINESS ELIGIBLE?
Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if their business has an aggregated turnover of less than $1 billion and estimate their GST turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 30 per cent or more.
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;
- is a permanent employee of the employer, or if a casual employee, not a permanent employee of any other employer;
- 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?
Employers will need to satisfy payment requirements for their eligible employees in respect of each 14 day period covered by the scheme. The first period starts on Monday 30 March 2020 and ends on Sunday 12 April 2020.
The payment requirement is that employers pay their eligible employees a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight in the scheme payment periods.
Where an employer pays their staff monthly, the ATO will be able to reallocate payments between periods. However, overall an employee must have received the equivalent of $1,500 per fortnight.
The final period will start on Monday 14 September 2020 and end on Sunday 27 September 2020.
MY BUSINESS HAS ONLY JUST STARTED OR MY BUSINESS HAS ‘LUMPY’ INCOME. HOW CAN I SELF-ASSESS THAT MY TURNOVER HAS FALLEN?
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, (for example, 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 (for example, 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 GST turnover will fall by 30 per cent or more (or 50 per cent or more for businesses with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or more) relative to your GST 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 as at 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 the 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 IF I PAY MY EMPLOYEES LESS THAN $1,500 PER FORTNIGHT BEFORE TAX?
To be able to claim the JobKeeper payment for an eligible employee, that employee must be paid a minimum of $1,500 income per fortnight, before tax is withheld.
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. The ATO will provide further guidance on how this will work.
The employer will be reimbursed $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible employee. Employers cannot pay their employees less than $1,500 per fortnight and be entitled to a payment for that employee.
WHAT IF I PAY MY EMPLOYEES MORE THAN $1,500 PER FORTNIGHT BEFORE TAX?
If the eligible employee is paid more than $1,500 a fortnight before tax, the employer will only be reimbursed $1,500 per fortnight.
IF I HAVE STOOD DOWN MY EMPLOYEES WITHOUT PAY AFTER 1 MARCH 2020 CAN I ‘BACK PAY’ THEM TO 30 MARCH 2020?
Yes. If you want to claim the JobKeeper Payment for your employees you will need to confirm your eligible employees want to be part of the scheme and arrange for them to be paid a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight before tax from 30 March 2020.
I LET MY EMPLOYEES GO AFTER 1 MARCH 2020. IF I RE-HIRE THEM, AM I ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THE PAYMENT?
Yes. You can receive the JobKeeper Payment if you re-hire any eligible employees you had at 1 March 2020. You can receive the payment even if you then need to immediately stand them down, so long as they remain employed.
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 presents cash flow difficulties, 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.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY EMPLOYEE RESIGNS?
If an employee for whom you are receiving the JobKeeper Payment resigns, you must notify the ATO. You may need to refund some money to the ATO.
I HIRED AN EMPLOYEE AFTER 1 MARCH 2020. CAN I RECEIVE THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT FOR THEM?
No. The employee must have been engaged as of 1 March 2020.
I PURCHASED A BUSINESS IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS AND RETAINED SOME CASUAL EMPLOYEES WHO WORKED FOR THE PREVIOUS BUSINESS OWNER. ARE THE CASUAL EMPLOYEES ELIGIBLE?
Employers must assess whether their casual employees satisfy the test of working for 12 months on a regular and systemic basis. A casual may still meet this condition even if the entity operating the business has changed recently.
WILL THE ATO USE THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENTS TO OFFSET A BAS DEBT?
The payment will generally be paid directly to the employer and not used to offset tax liabilities, as the intent is that it is a payment that facilitates employers to pay their employees.
SOME OF MY EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES FOR THE JOBKEEPER SCHEME. WHAT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE FOR MY BUSINESS SO I CAN TRY AND RETAIN ALL OF MY EMPLOYEES?
The Government is providing a range of support to businesses to address the significant economic consequences of the Coronavirus.
The Government is boosting cash flow for employers by providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profits, that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000.
These payments will help businesses with their cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff. Other measures to support businesses include temporary relief for financially distressed businesses, increasing the instant asset write-off and backing business investment.
Further information on the economic response to the Coronavirus is available on the Treasury website at treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.