Below are some frequently asked questions about the JobKeeper payments. The JobKeeper payment is yet to be legislated. Parliament is due to sit on the 8th of April 2020. We will endeavour to update our responses as further information becomes available.
I am Self-Employed. Am I eligible for the JobKeeper Payment?
Yes. People who are self-employed will be eligible for the payment provided, at the time of applying, they:
- estimate their turnover has or will reduce by 30 per cent or more;
- had an ABN on or before 12 March 2020, and
- either had an amount included in its assessable income for the 2018-19 year and it was included in their income tax return lodged on or before 12 March 2020, or
- made a supply during the period 1 July 2018 to 12 March 2020 and provided this information to the Commissioner on or before 12 March 2020;
- were actively engaged in the business;
- are not entitled to another JobKeeper Payment (either as a nominated business participant of another business or as an eligible employee);
- were aged at least 16 years of age as at 1 March 2020; and
- were an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder at 1 March 2020.
My Business operates through a Partnership. Can each partner receive the JobKeeper Payment?
No. Only one partner can be nominated to receive a JobKeeper Payment along with any eligible employees, noting a partner cannot be an employee.
Can Trusts receive the JobKeeper Payment?
Trusts can receive JobKeeper payments for any eligible employees. Where beneficiaries of a trust only receive distributions, rather than being paid salary and wages for work done, one individual beneficiary (that is, not a corporate beneficiary) can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment.
I am a Company Director that receives Directors Fees. Am I eligible?
An eligible business can nominate only one director to receive the payment, as well as any eligible employees. Only one person in a director capacity may receive the payment and that individual may not receive the payment as an employee.
I am paid as a Shareholder of a company. Am I eligible?
An eligible business that pays shareholders that provide labour in the form of dividends will only be able to nominate one shareholder to receive the JobKeeper Payment.
I receive rental income as a landlord but am not registered as a business. Am I eligible?
No. Only businesses with employees or self-employed people are eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.
I am Self-Employed. How can I apply for the JobKeeper Payment?
The ATO will administer the program with an online application process. You may be asked to provide your ABN and a single Tax File Number for the eligible recipient of the JobKeeper Payment, and a declaration of business activity.
I am Self-Employed and also have a job. Am I eligible for the JobKeeper Payment?
An individual can only receive JobKeeper Payments from one source. However, if you are eligible for a JobKeeper Payment, you can also receive income from other sources including another job.
My Business has only just started, or my business has ‘lumpy’ income. How can I self-assess that my turnover has fallen 30 per cent?
To establish that a business has faced or is likely to face a 30 per cent or more or 50 per cent or more fall in turnover, most businesses would be expected to establish that their turnover has fallen in the relevant month or quarter (depending on the Business Activity Statement reporting period of that business) relative to their turnover in a corresponding period a year earlier.
Where a business was not in operation a year earlier, or where their turnover a year earlier was not representative of their usual or average turnover, (e.g. because there was a large interim acquisition, they were newly established, were scaling up, or their turnover is typically highly variable), the Tax Commissioner will have discretion to consider additional information that the business can provide to establish that they have been adversely affected by the impacts of the Coronavirus.
The Tax Commissioner will also have discretion to set out alternative tests that would establish eligibility in specific circumstances (e.g. eligibility may be established as soon as a business ceases or significantly curtails its operations). There will be some tolerance where employers, in good faith, estimate a 30 per cent or more or 50 per cent or more fall in turnover but actually experience a slightly smaller fall.
My Turnover has not decreased by 30 per cent this month, but I believe it will in the coming month. Am I eligible?
You can apply for the payment if you reasonably expect that your turnover will fall by 30 per cent or more relative to your turnover in a corresponding period a year earlier. The ATO will provide guidance about self-assessment of actual and anticipated falls in turnover.
It is unlikely that my turnover will decrease by 30 per cent in the coming month, but can I apply later if my turnover decreased in one of the subsequent months?
If a business does not meet the turnover test at the start of the JobKeeper scheme on 30 March 2020, the business can start receiving the JobKeeper Payment at a later time once the turnover test has been met. In this case, the JobKeeper Payment is not backdated to the commencement of the scheme. Businesses can receive JobKeeper Payments up to 27 September 2020.
Will the ATO use the JobKeeper Payments to offset a Business Activity Statement debt?
The payment will generally be paid directly to the employer and not used to offset tax liabilities, as the intent is that it is a payment that facilitates employers to pay their employees.
Can Employers receive both the JobKeeper Payment and the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy?
Eligible small businesses can receive the 50 per cent wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees in the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure from 1 January to 31 March 2020, and the JobKeeper Payment. Where small businesses receive the JobKeeper Payment, they are not eligible to receive the apprentice and trainee wage subsidy from 1 April 2020 onwards.
Further information on the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure is available on the Treasury website at treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses.
What will be done to ensure compliance?
This program will be subject to ATO compliance and audit activities. There will be a positive obligation on employers to establish their eligibility and that of their employees. In addition, the ATO will cross-check payments with Services Australia data, and data from other government agencies, and undertake activities designed to identify multiple or ineligible payments to individuals.
What is the Government going to do to ensure Companies don’t manipulate their turnover to ensure they qualify?
The ATO will provide guidance to help businesses self-assess their eligibility. This will include for circumstances that do not fit neatly into more general circumstances that the majority of businesses are in.
The Government will include appropriate integrity rules to prevent employers from entering into artificial schemes in order to get inappropriate access to payments.
There are serious consequences, including large penalties and possible imprisonment, for those trying to illegally get benefits under the scheme.