While you were paying your respects (and playing your cornets) in the driveway, Treasury has been hard at it, making further substantial tweaks to the operation of the JobKeeper scheme. While so far we only have announcements and the devil will definitely be in the detail, here are some of the key changes proposed:
- Potential to allow service entities to access the JobKeeper scheme, even where it is the operating entity and not the service entity that has suffered the decline in turnover. Service entities are very commonly used in many areas of professional practice (accounting, legal, IT, medical, pharmacy – you will know if you have one) whereby a separate entity employs the staff and charges a fee to the operating entity. This is a major additional concession, however the language used by the Treasurer so far is frighteningly vague and imprecise, so keep the corks in the champagne for now and we will monitor and report on developments as they occur.
- GST turnover for calculating the 30% decline – originally, businesses that lodge BAS and pay GST on a cash basis could assess their decline in turnover on either a cash or accruals basis, while businesses that report on an accruals basis had to use accruals for the test – UNTIL NOW. Now, all businesses can assess their decline on a cash or accruals basis. So, Officeworks will do well on the supply of calculators so you (or we) can crunch the numbers from several new angles to see if your business can qualify (please contact us if you believe you now are in with a chance and weren’t before). You only have to satisfy the decline by one of the methods (including the recently announced alternative tests if they are relevant to your circumstances).
- One in all in appears to be the only way to access JobKeeper at all. Previously, while there have been many official and unofficial statements about employers not being able to pick and choose which employees to pay the $1,500 per fortnight to, the actual written rules (ie the L.A.W.) did not technically support this position. As an acknowledgement of the fact, the Treasurer has now confirmed the legislation will be amended to make it ‘clearer’ that unless an employee opts out, all eligible employees must be paid for the employer to receive any Jobkeeper subsidy. Please take the few days we have left in April to reconfirm you have all eligible employees in and paid (noting as long as you pay them or top them up to $3,000 for the month of April by 30 April you will potentially qualify).
- The registration date has been extended and you now have until 31 May to register to claim for the fortnights in April and May – provided you meet all the eligibility requirements for each of those fortnights (ie $3,000 in total paid during April and $1,500 for each of the fortnights in May). So, this is not really a huge concession as registering is the easy part.
- Tougher on the kiddies – previously employees had to be aged 16 years or over on 1 March 2020; now the rules also exclude those 17 and under who are full-time students and not financially independent.