ATO tweet suggests SMEs could be looking at 14-day delay to JobKeeper payments


The ATO has nonchalantly dropped a JobKeeper bombshell, suggesting in a tweet last week that JobKeeper payments might not actually be paid to businesses until the second half of May, rather than in the first week, as was originally suggested.

Since the JobKeeper wage stimulus subsidy was first announced, the messaging has strongly suggested payments would start flowing in the first week of May.

As the process dragged, the deadline to pay employees ⁠— an eligibility requirement ⁠— was extended to May 8.

Last week, on May 7, in a friendly tweet reminding business owners to make those payments, the tax office said if businesses have completed the process, they will see their JobKeeper funding “within 14 days”.

That means some businesses may not see any cash until May 21.

In subsequent tweets, an ATO spokesperson said if a business completed the process by the end of April, and hasn’t received payment by May 15, “we suggest that you phone us”.

This suggests that even if a business had its application completed by the original deadline, there may still be a delay on payment.

More than 75,000 businesses have enrolled in the JobKeeper program, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that processing could take a while.

The ATO said on Thursday it has already paid out more than $1 billion in payments.

But, for those that haven’t seen a cent yet, the prospect of waiting even longer is, understandably, less than welcome.

One Twitter user called on the tax office to “hurry up and take the pressure off”.

Another noted that getting through March was a struggle enough, suggesting that sole traders are “not surviving this”.

Have you seen a JobKeeper payment yet? Get in touch to share your experience.

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