The Government of Australia declared six-month extension to its Job Keeper Program whose expiry was scheduled on 27 September. JobKeeper 2.0 will experience diverse payment rates, and likewise, the eligibility requirements too would be different till March 2021.
Job keeper payments are also subjected to reduction from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 with the revised norms having reduction of $1,200 per fortnight for people working for 20 hours or more in a week and $750 for job keeper working less than 20 hours. In order to be eligible, businesses need to substantiate that their GST Turnover has undergone a reduction in both the quarters of June and September 2020.
Also, the rates are again scheduled to decline to $1,000 and $650 for the folks having working hours figures below 20 hours a week with effect from 4 January to 28 March 2021. Businesses are bound to undergo retest of their eligibility again along with showing off their declining turnover test for quarters of June, September, and December 2020.
The extension is welcomed, but the jobs of accountants have been increased with the frequent change in eligibility criteria. Due to revised GST turnover and eligibility criteria, business houses will now be more careful of their cash flow and billing provisions. During this hard time, treasury’s new fact sheet, which keeps the records of entities, came up with little assistance stating that eligibility will be assessed based on details stated in BAS (Business Activity Statement). It further stated that deadline to file a BAS is ordinarily due in following months and businesses and nonprofit organizations will be required to check their eligibility for JobKeeper before BAS deadline to fulfil the terms of the wages.
Tony Greco, the general manager of the Institute of Public Accountants, stated he hopes that the guidance on actual GST turnover will be mentioned clearly before its implementation. As per the existing norms, turnover is the value of supplies accomplished in the relevant duration comprising of GST-free supplies and excluding input-taxed supplies. Before the issue of LCR 2020/1, the ATO’s website stated many times in a week but actually couldn’t clear that cash and accrual methods were concessionary modes and it got cleared with the release of LCR only.
“The LCR states clearly that the law makes the taxpayer segregate supplies done in each relevant period, and after that, it is required to work upon the value of supplies.
Time to adjust
CPA Australia’s tax policy adviser, Elinor Kasapidis, appreciated the lead duration given to implement the incoming changes as the rate and eligibility changes are subjected to implement from September 2020. He further stated that it is incredibly welcoming to see that government has replied to their feedback and promised that the Jobkeeper’s profession has sufficient notice to comprehend the changes and suggest their business clients accordingly.
Advance notice would aid businesses to seek professional advice to craft the finest course of action and know the things they may be required to become eligible.
Ms Kasapidis also requested the government to lay attention over funding voucher scheme for small business houses to seek expert advice when they couldn’t afford it. Despite this announcement, many businesses still not lookout for advice and would play with their future and business.
To aid small businesses in seeking help, the government should give them vouchers that they can use for professional advice. The tax agents would turn out to be key to the success of JobKeeper.