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Advisers brace for ATO JobKeeper guidance

The JobKeeper rule changes registered by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday have fired the starting gun for advisers, who are now bracing for the relevant ATO determinations before they can start advising their clients.

Advisers brace for ATO JobKeeper guidance
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • September 17, 2020
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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has registered the rules governing the JobKeeper extension just two weeks before the changes are scheduled to take place.

But before advisers can start reaching out to their clients, the ATO is expected to release its determinations and guidance material, providing a point of certainty for the trusted business advisers, the accountants.

“It is only after all these steps come to fruition where advisers can start preparing clients to either obtain or continue to retain access to the wage subsidy,” Tony Greco FIPA, general manager of technical policy, IPA, said.

Mr Greco explained that the ATO will be better prepared this time around, having already handled a similar process with the initial JobKeeper stimulus measure.

“The only good thing second time round is that the ATO are far better prepared for the dissemination of the guidance as they have had time to consult and they had JK version one experience to draw on,” said Mr Greco.

On Tuesday, Mr Frydenberg released the eighth edition of the JobKeeper rule changes, outlining the important JobKeeper 2.0 eligibility criteria and the two-tiered payment system for employers wishing to retain the wage subsidy from 28 September.

JobKeeper 2.0 is due to replace the current flat $1,500 a fortnight subsidy with a two-tiered system from 28 September.

The subsidy will consist of a $750 fortnightly payment for those working under 20 hours pre-COVID and $1,200 per fortnight for others. This will then be reduced further from January next year to $650 and $1,000, respectively.

According to the explanatory statement, to qualify for any type of JobKeeper payments for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 28 September 2020, an entity must satisfy the new actual decline in turnover test for the quarter applicable to the fortnight.

For JobKeeper fortnights between 28 September 2020 and 3 January 2021 (inclusive), the applicable quarter is the quarter ending 30 September 2020. For JobKeeper fortnights between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021 (inclusive), the applicable quarter is the quarter ending 31 December 2020.

Under the new test, the entity must have had an actual decline in its turnover for the applicable quarter relative to its comparable quarter in 2019. 

The statement explains that the percentage decline for the quarter for the entity under the new test must be equal to or greater than the required percentage decline in turnover of 15 per cent, 30 per cent or 50 per cent (as applicable). 

The statement also specifies that the new actual decline in turnover test applies in conjunction with the original decline in turnover test.

The legislative instrument can be found here.

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