The Governments financial response to COVID-19 what does it mean for me?

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Common Individuals questions answered

WHAT IS THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

The JobKeeper Payment is a payment made to eligible businesses and not-for-profits affected by the Coronavirus to support them in retaining employees.

Eligible businesses that elect to participate will receive a payment of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee to support the people they employed as at 1 March 2020 who are retained in employment.

Businesses must have paid their employees before they are entitled to receive the JobKeeper payment.

Where an employee’s total remuneration is less than $1,500 per fortnight (before tax), or has been stood down, the employer must provide the employee at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). Where an employee earns more than $1,500 per fortnight, employers can use the payment to subsidise the employee’s wages.

Self-employed individuals will also be eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment.

WHEN WILL THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT COMMENCE?

The JobKeeper Payment will be available from 30 March 2020.

WHEN WILL THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT COMMENCE?

The JobKeeper Payment will be available for the period until 27 September 2020.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM AN ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEE FOR THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

Eligible employees are employees who:

  •  are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
  •  are 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;
  •  were aged 16 years or older at 1 March 2020;
  •  were an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder (New Zealand Citizen) at 1 March 2020;
  •  were a resident for Australian tax purposes on 1 March 2020; and
  •  are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.

I AM AN ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEE IN AN ELIGIBLE BUSINESS. HOW MUCH WILL I RECEIVE?

Eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight before tax. You will receive a payment from your employer.

I AM STILL WORKING OR ON PAID LEAVE AND EARN MORE THAN $1,500 PER FORTNIGHT BEFORE TAX. WILL MY PAY CHANGE?

No. If you receive $1,500 or more in income per fortnight before tax, you will continue to receive your regular income according to your prevailing workplace arrangements. The JobKeeper Payment will assist your employer to continue operating by subsidising part of your income.

I AM STILL WORKING OR ON PAID LEAVE AND I EARN LESS THAN $1,500 PER FORTNIGHT BEFORE TAX. HOW MUCH WILL I RECEIVE?

For eligible employees, if you receive less than $1,500 in income per fortnight before tax, your employer must pay you, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax. Your employer will continue to pay you your ordinary income according to your prevailing workplace arrangements and provide a ‘top-up’ so you receive $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.

I HAVE BEEN STOOD DOWN. HOW MUCH WILL I RECEIVE?

If your employer is eligible for the JobKeeper Payment, and they elect to participate, your employer will receive $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible employee. They will be required to pay you $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight. The payment will be treated as income, and so will have tax withheld by your employer on your behalf.

I HAVE TAKEN UP OTHER WORK AFTER BEING STOOD DOWN. WILL I STILL RECEIVE A PAYMENT?

Yes. The JobKeeper Payment is not income-tested, so you may earn additional income without your payment being affected as long as you are eligible and maintain your employment (including being stood down) with your JobKeeper-eligible employer. However, you can only receive the JobKeeper payment from one employer, your primary employer.

I WAS EMPLOYED ON 1 MARCH 2020, BUT I WAS STOOD DOWN OR LET GO AND I HAVE APPLIED FOR OR AM CURRENTLY RECEIVING INCOME SUPPORT (SUCH AS THE JOBSEEKER PAYMENT) FROM SERVICES AUSTRALIA. WILL I RECEIVE THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

You will be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment if you have been stood down from work, or if your former employer re-hires you. However, the JobKeeper Payment is treated as ordinary income for the purposes of social security payments. You must therefore report your change in circumstances to Services Australia if you are receiving income support, and this is likely to make you ineligible for the JobSeeker Payment or other income support payments or eligible at a reduced rate.

WILL MY EMPLOYER PAY SUPERANNUATION ON THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

No superannuation guarantee payments are required to be paid on any additional payment made because of the JobKeeper Payment.

I STARTED WORK WITH MY CURRENT EMPLOYER AFTER 1 MARCH 2020. WILL I RECEIVE THIS PAYMENT FROM THAT EMPLOYER?

No. The JobKeeper Payment supports businesses to maintain eligible employees who were in their employ on 1 March 2020. You may be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment if you are currently stood down by your 1 March 2020 employer or if you are re-hired by that employer.

I AM A CASUAL WORKER. AM I ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THE PAYMENT?

You are eligible for the payment if you have been with your employer for 12 months at 1 March 2020 on a regular and systematic basis. Apart from this, casual employees are not eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.

If you are ineligible for the JobKeeper Payment, you may be able to apply for support through Services Australia depending on your personal circumstances.

I AM ON A FIXED TERM CONTRACT WITH MY EMPLOYER. AM I ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THE PAYMENT?

Fixed term contractors are eligible for the payment if you were employed at 1 March 2020 and meet the other eligibility criteria for the JobKeeper Payment.

I HAVE MULTIPLE EMPLOYERS. WILL I RECEIVE MULTIPLE PAYMENTS?

No. Every employee is only able to receive one payment from one employer, their primary employer. Your employers who have elected to participate in the JobKeeper Payment scheme may ask you to indicate whether they are your primary employer. If you are employed by more than one employer, you should contact your employers and indicate to them which is your primary employer.

You can continue to receive non-JobKeeper supported income from your non-primary employer.

I AM A CASUAL EMPLOYEE AND THE BUSINESS OWNER CHANGED WITHIN THE LAST 12 MONTHS. AM I ELIGIBLE?

You may still be eligible if you have been working for the business for at least 12 months as at 1 March 2020 on a regular and system basis, even if the entity operating the business has changed recently.

Your current employer will need to assess whether you meet this test.

I AM WORKING IN AUSTRALIA ON A TEMPORARY VISA. AM I ELIGIBLE?

To be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment, an employee must be an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder New Zealand Citizen) at 1 March 2020.

I WAS WORKING IN AUSTRALIA ON 1 MARCH. I HAVE BEEN STOOD DOWN, AND RETURNED TO MY HOME COUNTRY. AM I ELIGIBLE?

You may be eligible to receive the payment if you are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder (New Zealand Citizen) who has temporarily left the country. You will be eligible for the payment if you are a resident of Australia for tax purposes and if you have been stood down from work, or if your former employer re-employs you. If you have ceased employment, and are not rehired, you will not be eligible for the payment.

I AM 15 YEARS OLD AND, APART FROM AGE, I MEET THE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA. AM I ELIGIBLE FOR THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT WHEN I TURN 16 LATER IN THE YEAR?

No. Employees must be at least 16 years of age on 1 March 2020 to be eligible.

I AM ON UNPAID OR PAID LEAVE. WILL I RECEIVE THE PAYMENT?

Yes, unless you are in receipt of Government Paid Parental Leave or Dad and Partner Pay. If you are an eligible employee and your employer is an eligible employer, they will receive the payment whether you are working, on leave, or have been stood down.

I AM NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT. WHAT SUPPORT CAN I GET FROM THE GOVERNMENT?

If you are not an eligible employee, you may be able to access income support through Services Australia. More information is available on the Services Australia website at servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals.

I AM RECEIVING WORKERS COMPENSATION. AM I ELIGIBLE?

If you are still working — such as reduced hours — then you will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment. However, if you are not currently working due to incapacity and you are being supported through workers’ compensation arrangements then you will not be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.

I AM RECEIVING PARENTAL LEAVE PAY OR DAD AND PARTNER PAY THROUGH SERVICES AUSTRALIA. AM I ELIGIBLE?

For the period that you are receiving Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay then you will not be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.

I CURRENTLY HAVE A SALARY SACRIFICE ARRANGEMENT WITH MY EMPLOYER. CAN IT CONTINUE?

Yes. The JobKeeper payment may be paid to an employee in cash or as a fringe benefit or extra superannuation contribution where the employee and employer agree.

Common Employer Questions Answered

WHAT IS THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

The JobKeeper Payment is a payment made to eligible businesses and not-for-profits affected by the Coronavirus to support them in retaining employees.

Eligible businesses that elect to participate will receive a payment of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee to support the people they employed as at 1 March 2020 who are retained in employment.

Businesses must have paid their employees before they are entitled to receive the JobKeeper payment.

Where an employee’s total remuneration is less than $1,500 per fortnight (before tax), or has been stood down, the employer must provide the employee at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). Where an employee earns more than $1,500 per fortnight, employers can use the payment to subsidise the employee’s wages.

Self-employed individuals will also be eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment.

WHEN WILL THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT COMMENCE?

The JobKeeper Payment will be available from 30 March 2020.

WHEN WILL THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT COMMENCE?

The JobKeeper Payment will be available for the period until 27 September 2020.

IS MY BUSINESS ELIGIBLE?

Employers (including not-for-profits) will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion (and if part of a group for income tax purposes the group has a combined turnover of less than $1 billion) and estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 30% or more; or
  • their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more (or if part of a group for income tax purposes, the group has a combined turnover of $1 billion or more) and estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 50% or more; or
  •  their business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

For charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), they will be eligible for the subsidy if they estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 15% or more relative to a comparable period.

JobKeeper Payments are paid in respect of each eligible employee who was employed at 1 March 2020 and is currently employed by the business (including those who are stood down or re-hired). 

WHAT TYPE OF ENTITIES ARE ELIGIBLE?

All business types (sole traders, Company, Trusts, Partnerships, not-for-profits), will be eligible with the exception of those listed below.

The following entities will not be eligible:

  •  Australian Government and its agencies,
  •  State and Territory governments and their agencies,
  •  Foreign governments and their agencies;
  •  Local council governments;
  •  Wholly-owned corporations of any of the above; and
  •  A business subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Additionally, a company that is in liquidation, or a partnership, trust or sole trader in bankruptcy, will not be eligible.

Some sectors may not be eligible if they are separately provided with support from the Government that explicitly requires them to forgo access to the JobKeeper Payment.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO IF I WANT TO PARTICIPATE?

Eligible employers need to determine if they want to participate in this program by electing into it. Initially you can register your interest for the Jobkeeper payment at www.ato.gov.au and click on the heading “Jobkeeper Payment”. More details will be provided shortly.

The JobKeeper Payment will be administered by the ATO. If you register you will receive updates and information from the ATO about how and when to claim the JobKeeper payment.

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;
  •  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 (New Zealand Citizen) 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?

The first payments by the ATO will be received by employers in the first week of May.

HOW OFTEN WILL THESE PAYMENTS BE MADE?

The payments will be made by the ATO monthly in arrears.

WHAT ARE THE ELIGIBLE PAYMENT PERIODS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR A JOBKEEPER SUBSIDY?

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 they 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.

IF I HAVE STOOD DOWN MY EMPLOYEES AFTER 1 MARCH 2020, AND ARE NO LONGER PAYING THEM, DO I NEED TO PAY THEM, FOR WHAT PERIOD AND BY WHEN?

Yes. You can claim JobKeeper for employees that were stood down after 1 March 2020. To be eligible in relation to these employees, you will need to pay them a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight (before tax) for the payment periods of the JobKeeper Scheme.

The first payment period under the scheme is from 30 March 2020 to 12 April 2020. Where an employer pays their staff monthly the monthly payment must be equivalent to the required fortnightly payment.

For all following payment periods you will need to continue to pay your employees a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight (before tax), before the end of the payment period.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF TURNOVER?

Turnover will be defined according to the current calculation for GST purposes and is reported on Business Activity Statements. It includes all taxable supplies and all GST free supplies but not input taxed supplies.

There are some modifications for businesses that are part of a GST group.

IS THIS TURNOVER TEST RELATED TO ONLY TURNOVER IN AUSTRALIA, OR DOES IT INCLUDE OVERSEAS OPERATIONS AS WELL?

Under the GST law, only Australian based sales are included and therefore, only Australian based turnover is relevant. A decline in overseas operations will not be counted in the turnover test.

MY BUSINESS HAS ONLY JUST STARTED OR MY BUSINESS HAS “LUMPY” INCOME. HOW CAN I SELF-ASSESS THAT MY TURNOVER HAS FALLEN 30 PER CENT?

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, (e.g. 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 (e.g. 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% or more or 50% 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 turnover will fall by 30 per cent or more (or 50% or more for businesses with a turnover of $1 billion or more) relative to your 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 at the start of the JobKeeper scheme on 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 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 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 may present cash flow difficulties, those 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.

I ACCEPTED SOME CASUAL EMPLOYEES FROM ANOTHER MEMBER OF MY CORPORATE GROUP. ARE THE CASUAL EMPLOYEES ELIGIBLE?

Employers must assess whether their employees satisfy the test of working for 12 months on a regular and systematic basis. A casual may still meet this condition even if they were they were transferred from another member of a corporate group within the last 12 months.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I WANT TO RE-HIRE AN ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEE WHO RECEIVED A REDUNDANCY PACKAGE?

If an eligible employee has received a redundancy package and you wish to re-hire them, you will need to consult with the employee and consider prevailing workplace arrangements to settle redundancy terms.

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.

I RUN A LABOUR HIRE COMPANY. WILL EMPLOYEES BE ELIGIBLE IF THEIR ‘HOST EMPLOYER’ CLAIMS THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

Employees are only eligible in respect of their direct employer.

CAN I RECEIVE THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT FOR EMPLOYEES IN RECEIPT OF WORKCOVER?

Employees will not be eligible for the JobKeeper scheme if they are fully incapacitated, unable to work and being supported by a workers compensation scheme. In other cases, employees would be eligible as they are in an employment relationship with their employer, provided their employer has an obligation to pay some component of their salary or wages. If your employee is fully compensated under your workcover insurance, they will be ineligible for the JobKeeper scheme.

CAN EMPLOYERS RECEIVE BOTH THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT AND THE SUPPORTING APPRENTICES AND TRAINEES WAGE SUBSIDY?

Eligible small businesses can receive the 50% wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees in the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure from 1 January to 31 March 2020, and the JobKeeper Payment. Where small businesses receive the JobKeeper Payment, they are not eligible to receive the apprentice and trainee wage subsidy from 1 April 2020 onwards.

Further information on the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure is available on the Treasury website at treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses.

MY BUSINESS RECEIVED A WAGE SUBSIDY THROUGH AN EMPLOYMENT SERVICES PROVIDER. ARE WE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

There have been no changes to wage subsidies administered by employment services providers. The Government’s announcement of the JobKeeper Payment is intended to encourage employers, who might make staff redundant due to the Coronavirus outbreak, to retain or rehire their employees. This measure is a temporary measure, accessed through the Australian Taxation Office.

Where an employer received a wage subsidy when they engaged an employee, they can still access the JobKeeper Payment if all other eligibility criteria for this payment are met.

WILL THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT BE INCLUDED IN MY CHILD SUPPORT ASSESSMENT?

The JobKeeper Payment is included in adjusted taxable income. Parents should continue to report any change to their income or wages as they normally would. A key principle of the child support scheme is that children are supported by their parents in accordance with their financial capacity to do so.

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.

Sole traders and other entities

WHAT IS THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

The JobKeeper Payment is a payment made to eligible businesses and not-for-profits affected by the Coronavirus to support them in retaining employees.

Eligible businesses that elect to participate will receive a payment of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee to support the people they employed as at 1 March 2020 who are retained in employment.

Businesses must have paid their employees before they are entitled to receive the JobKeeper payment.

Where an employee’s total remuneration is less than $1,500 per fortnight (before tax), or has been stood down, the  employer must provide the employee at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). Where an employee earns more than $1,500 per fortnight, employers can use the payment to subsidise the employee’s wages.

Self-employed individuals will also be eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment.

WHEN WILL THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT COMMENCE?

The JobKeeper Payment will be available from 30 March 2020.

WHEN WILL THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT COMMENCE?

The JobKeeper Payment will be available for the period until 27 September 2020.

I AM SELF-EMPLOYED. 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 turnover has or will fall by 30% 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);
  • 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 (New Zealand citizen) at 1 March 2020.

MY BUSINESS IS A PARTNERSHIP. CAN EACH PARTNER RECEIVE A JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

No. Only one partner can be nominated to receive a JobKeeper Payment along with any eligible employees, noting a partner cannot be an employee.

CAN TRUSTS RECEIVE THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

Trusts can receive JobKeeper payments for any eligible employees. Where beneficiaries of a trust only receive distributions, rather than being paid salary and wages for work done, one individual beneficiary (that is, not a corporate beneficiary) can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment.

I AM A COMPANY DIRECTOR THAT RECEIVES DIRECTOR FEES. AM I ELIGIBLE?

An eligible business can nominate only one director to receive the payment, as well as any eligible employees. Only one person in a director capacity may receive the payment and that individual may not receive the payment as an employee.

I AM PAID AS A SHAREHOLDER. AM I ELIGIBLE?

An eligible business that pays shareholders that provide labour in the form of dividends will only be able to nominate one shareholder to receive the JobKeeper Payment.

I RECEIVE RENTAL INCOME AS A LANDLORD BUT AM NOT REGISTERED AS A BUSINESS. AM I ELIGIBLE?

No. Only businesses with employees or self-employed people are eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.

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 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.

WILL THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT BE INCLUDED IN MY CHILD SUPPORT ASSESSMENT?

The JobKeeper Payment is included in adjusted taxable income. Parents should continue to report any change to their income or wages as they normally would. A key principle of the child support scheme is that children are supported by their parents in accordance with their financial capacity to do so.

MY BUSINESS RECEIVED A WAGE SUBSIDY THROUGH AN EMPLOYMENT SERVICES PROVIDER. ARE WE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT?

There have been no changes to wage subsidies administered by employment services providers.

The Government’s announcement of the JobKeeper Payment is intended to encourage employers, who might make staff redundant due to the Coronavirus outbreak, to retain or rehire their employees. This measure is a temporary measure, accessed through the Australian Taxation Office.

Where an employer received a wage subsidy when they engaged an employee, they can still access the JobKeeper Payment if all other eligibility criteria for this payment are met

CAN EMPLOYERS RECEIVE BOTH THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT AND THE SUPPORTING APPRENTICES AND TRAINEES WAGE SUBSIDY?

Eligible small businesses can receive the 50% wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees in the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure from 1 January to 31 March 2020, and the JobKeeper Payment. Where small businesses receive the JobKeeper Payment, they are not eligible to receive the apprentice and trainee wage subsidy from 1 April 2020 onwards.

Further information on the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure is available on the Treasury website at treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses.

Home Offices Expenses

EMPLOYEES WORKING FROM HOME

As the situation around COVID-19 continues to develop, the ATO acknowledges you may now be working from home and you may incur expenses that you can claim at tax time.

To claim a deduction for working from home, all of the following must apply:

  • You must have spent the money.
  • The expense must be directly related to earning your income.
  • You must have a record to prove it.

This means you cannot claim a deduction for items provided by your employer or if you have been reimbursed for the expense.

If you are not reimbursed by your employer, but instead receive an allowance from them to cover your expenses when you work from home, you:

  • must include this allowance as income in your tax return.
  • can claim a deduction as outlined in this fact sheet.

EXPENSES YOU CAN CLAIM

If you work from home, you will be able to claim a deduction for the additional running expenses you incur. These include:

  • electricity expenses associated with heating, cooling and lighting the area from which you are working and running items you are using for work
  • cleaning costs for a dedicated work area
  • phone and internet expenses
  • computer consumables (for example, printer paper and ink) and stationery
  • home office equipment, including computers, printers, phones, furniture and furnishings – you can claim either the:
    • full cost of items up to $300
    • decline in value for items over $300.

Tracking all of these expenses can be challenging at this time. So the ATO will accept a temporary simplified method (or shortcut method) of calculating additional running expenses for the period starting 1 March 2020 until at least 30 June 2020. The ATO may extend this method, depending on when work patterns start to return to normal.

EXPENSES YOU CAN’T CLAIM

If you are working from home only due to COVID-19, you:

  • cannot claim occupancy expenses such as mortgage interest, rent and rates
  • cannot claim the cost of coffee, tea, milk and other general household items your employer may otherwise have provided you with at work.

CALCULATING RUNNING COSTS

There are three ways you can choose to calculate your additional running expenses:

  • shortcut method ─ claim a rate of 80 cents per work hour for all additional running expenses from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020
  • fixed rate method ─ claim all of these:
    • a rate of 52 cents per work hour for heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and the decline in value of office furniture,
    • the work-related portion of your actual costs of phone and internet expenses, computer consumables, stationery, and
    • the work-related portion of the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device.

 

  • actual cost method ─ claim the actual work-related portion of all your running expenses, which you need to calculate on a reasonable basis.

Shortcut method

You can claim a deduction of 80 cents for each hour you work from home due to COVID-19 as long as you are:

  • working from home to fulfil your employment duties and not just carrying out minimal tasks such as occasionally checking emails or taking calls,
  • incurring additional deductible running expenses as a result of working from home.

You do not have to have a separate or dedicated area of your home set aside for working, such as a private study.

The shortcut method rate covers all deductible running expenses, including:

  • electricity for lighting, cooling or heating and running electronic items used for work (for example your computer), and gas heating expenses
  • the decline in value and repair of capital items, such as home office furniture and furnishings
  • cleaning expenses
  • your phone costs, including the decline in value of the handset
  • your internet costs
  • computer consumables, such as printer ink
  • stationery
  • the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device.

You do not have to incur all of these expenses, but you must have incurred additional expenses in some of those categories as a result of working from home due to COVID-19.

If you use the shortcut method to claim a deduction for your additional running expenses, you cannot claim a further deduction for any of the expenses listed above.

You must keep a record of the number of hours you have worked from home as a result of COVID-19. Examples are timesheets, diary notes or rosters.

If you use the shortcut method to claim a deduction when you lodge your 2019-20 tax return , you must include the note ‘COVID-hourly rate’  next to your claim in your tax return.

Working from home running expenses that are incurred before 1 March 2020 (and/or incurred from this date where an individual does not use the 80 cents per hour method) must be claimed using existing claim arrangements

Fixed rate method

You can claim a deduction of 52 cents for each hour you work from home instead of recording all of your actual expenses for heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and the decline in value of furniture.

This rate is based on average energy costs and the value of common furniture items used in home business areas.

To claim using this method, keep records of either:

  • your actual hours spent working at home for the year
  • a diary for a representative four-week period to show your usual pattern of working at home.

You can then apply the four-week representative period across the remainder of the year to determine your full deduction amount. However, if your work pattern changes you will need to create a new record.

You need to separately work out all other home work area expenses, such as:

  • phone and internet expenses
  • computer consumables and stationery
  • decline in value on computers or other equipment.

Actual expenses method

If you have a dedicated work area, you can claim additional running costs and the decline in value of office furniture used in the area for work purposes.

To calculate actual expenses for your dedicated work area, you can:

  • keep a record of the number of actual hours you work from home during the income year
  • keep a diary for a representative four-week period to show your usual pattern of working at home
  • work out the decline in value of depreciating assets and
    • keep receipts showing the amount you spent on the assets
    • work out the percentage of the year you used those depreciating assets exclusively for work – you can claim a deduction for the proportion of the decline in value that reflects your work-related use of the depreciating assets
  • work out the cost of your cleaning expenses by adding together your receipts and multiply it by the floor area of your dedicated work area (floor area of the dedicated work area divided by the whole area of the house as a percentage) – your claim should be apportioned for any
    • private use of your home office
    • use of the home office by other family members
  • work out the cost of your heating, cooling and lighting by working out the following
    • the cost per unit of power used – refer to your utility bill for this information
    • the average units used per hour – this is the power consumption per kilowatt hour for each appliance, equipment or light used
    • the total annual hours used for work-related purposes – refer to your record of hours worked or your diary for this information.

You must also take into account if any other members of your household use the home office and, if so, apportion your expenses accordingly.

To claim a deduction for an asset that cost $300 or more, you need to calculate the decline in value for both the period you:

  • owned the assets during the income year
  • used the assets for work-related purposes.

You can use the depreciation and capital allowances tool to calculate your deduction for the decline in value of  equipment, furniture and furnishings that cost more than $300, use the depreciation and capital allowances tool to work this out.

If you don’t have a dedicated work area, you should work out the actual cost of your heating, cooling and electricity expenses. You can do this by working out the cost of running each unit you used per hour and multiplying that by the hours you worked from home. The amount of the additional expense is generally small, especially if there are other people using the area at the same time you are working. In those circumstances, there is no additional cost for lighting, heating or cooling.