Final JobKeeper payments due on March 28 as wage subsidy comes to an end, ATO warns

JobKeeper

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has published what may be its final update about key dates and reporting requirements for businesses receiving JobKeeper.

Businesses must pay their employees the correct JobKeeper amount by March 28, before making their last monthly business declaration in April, the ATO said.

Employers must pay their eligible employees the correct JobKeeper rates of either $1,000 for employees receiving the tier-one payment, or $650 for those on the tier-two payment.

The ATO also reminded any business wanting to claim payments for the JobKeeper fortnights ending in March to enrol by March 31 at the latest.

The update comes as the end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme looms.

The $90 billion scheme, which will end in seven days, was designed to help employers keep staff members on the books during COVID-19, and has been the largest stimulus program ever delivered by an Australian government.

Businesses with a turnover of $1 billion of less had to prove they experienced a 30% decline in turnover to receive the payments, which they then pass on to their staff to help keep them employed.

While the number of businesses receiving JobKeeper has steadily declined since COVID-19 restrictions eased and Australia started to emerge from its economic recession, some sectors and regions are still relying on the wage subsidy scheme.

These include the tourism and accommodation sectors, in particular in Cairns in far north Queensland, where it is estimated 16% of companies are still on JobKeeper.

According to Treasury, there were 1,821 businesses in Cairns that applied for JobKeeper in December, which is the highest level outside capital cities.

Accommodation businesses in capital cities are also facing a post-JobKeeper cliff.

Accommodation Association chief executive Dean Long said in a statement that accommodation providers in Sydney and Melbourne are currently looking at a vacancy rate of about 90% between April and May.

Long said the lack of federal government support for the sector, which depends on international and corporate markets, would result in a loss of jobs and slow recovery once borders reopen.

“Our hotels in these two major international gateways currently have a forward booking rate of less than 10% for the next 90 days and desperately need immediate support,” he said.

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