SMEs granted extra time for JobKeeper reporting over holiday season

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Small and medium businesses will have extra time to meet their JobKeeper reporting requirements over the Christmas and New Year period, with the Australian Taxation Office extending key reporting dates in December and January. 

The extensions apply to December monthly declarations, as well as the wage conditions that employers must meet for JobKeeper fortnights 20, 21 and 22.

December monthly declarations will now be due by January 28, instead of the 14th of the month. This will cover JobKeeper fortnights 18, 19 and 20, which include payments made to employees between November 23, 2020, and January 3, 2021. 

The wage condition for JobKeeper fortnight 20, which covers the period from December 21, 2020 to January 3, 2020, has been extended to Monday, January 4, to give employers additional time to pay the appropriate JobKeeper amounts. 

The ATO will also give employers the whole of January to meet the wage condition for eligible employees for JobKeeper fortnights 21 and 22, which cover the period from Monday, January 4 to Sunday, January 31. 

The tax office said this extension is to make sure businesses have been able to pay all eligible employees before submitting their February monthly declarations. 

The extensions come as employers start preparing for the second part of JobKeeper 2.0, which commences on Monday, January 4, and will run until Sunday, March 28. 

Under this phase, payments will drop to $1,000 for ‘tier 1’ eligible employees or business participants, and $650 for those on ‘tier 2’.

To access JobKeeper payments under this phase, businesses will need to complete a new decline in turnover test to show a decline in actual GST turnover in the December 2020 quarter, against a comparable period. 

Existing JobKeeper recipients and businesses enrolling in JobKeeper for the first time will need to complete this test by the end of January 2021. 

About 500,000 businesses are continuing to receive JobKeeper payments, with around 450,000 entities coming off the program in October, according to figures released by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Monday. 

Between March and September, about 1 million businesses and more than 3.6 million workers qualified for the first phase of the JobKeeper program, with close to $70 billion paid out over 13 fortnights. 

Businesses were required to retest their eligibility for the second phase of the program, which commenced in October, and this led to 450,000 businesses and about 2 million employees no longer qualifying for the wage subsidies. 

Of the employees and business participants that did qualify in October, 86% received the ‘tier 1’ payment of $1,200 a fortnight and 14% received the lower ‘tier 1’ payment of $750 per fortnight. 

Frydenberg said the take-up of the payments was lower than forecast in October and this shows Australia’s recovery from the pandemic is “well underway”. 

“These preliminary October JobKeeper figures suggest an improvement on the 2020-21 Budget assumption of 2.2 million recipients for the December quarter, with around 700,000 fewer employees/eligible business participants covered by the payment in October due to their employer no longer meeting the required decline in turnover test,” he said.

More information about key JobKeeper dates is available on the ATO website here.


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