COVID-19 Government Support Package Changes
On 7 August 2020, the Federal Government announced further proposed changes to the JobKeeper payment.
The key changes announced include:
- From 3 August, the employment date has changed from 1 March 2020 to 1 July 2020. An employee needs to be employed at that date before they become eligible (in addition to other criteria). This could mean that businesses may find that more employees could become eligible for the JobKeeper payment.
- GST turnover testing criteria will be referenced to the immediately previous quarter rather than the previous 2 or 3 quarters. The previous announcement required businesses to prove that their actual turnover in the June and September (and December) quarters had fallen by the relevant percentage from the comparison period. The new announcement only requires a business to prove they have suffered a drop in turnover in the immediate prior quarter.
For example, the changes mean that to be eligible for JobKeeper from 28 September 2020, a small business will need to prove that its actual GST turnover for the September 2020 quarter had fallen by more than 30% from the September 2019 quarter. From 4 January 2020, a small business will need to prove that its actual GST turnover for the December 2020 quarter had fallen by more than 30% from the December 2019 quarter.
These changes should mean that affected businesses will need to keep their records up to date and be prepared to lodge activity statements earlier than they may otherwise would have. For example, a business lodging a quarterly September BAS via a tax agent may have until 25 November to submit that BAS. They may be incentivised to lodge in early October to support their claim for JobKeeper.
We emphasise that these are just Government announcements and are subject to change. While we do not expect much opposition to the proposed rules, with Parliamentary sitting currently suspended, the Government will need to recall Parliament in order to pass these proposed laws as the current JobKeeper is due to end on 28 September 2020.
As previously announced on 21 July 2020:
The revised scheme known as “JobKeeper 2.0” will see a reduction of the current levels of support but for an extended period, with other amendments to better target the support provided.
It was reaffirmed that the current JobKeeper arrangements will continue through to the end of September 2020 as originally announced. After that, the current support of $1,500 per fortnight for every eligible employee will reduce to $1,200 per fortnight, but only $750 for employees who work less than 20 hours per week. That support will apply from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021.
JobKeeper will then reduce further to $1,000 per fortnight for relevant employees and $650 per fortnight for those who work less than 20 hours per week. This third instalment of JobKeeper payments will continue through to 28 March 2021.
Additional tests for employer eligibility to participate in the scheme will apply for the December 2020 quarter and the March 2021 quarter. Eligibility will require a further assessment of turnover decline for these later quarters. The original JobKeeper turnover threshold test will apply through to 28 September.
The turnover test to assess eligibility remain at the same levels as previously:
- 50% decline for those employers with turnover more than $1billion
- 30% decline for those with turnover of $1billion or less
- 15% decline for ACNC registered charities (excluding schools and universities).
The Covid-19 Supplement of $550 per fortnight payable to eligible individuals will continue until 24 September 2020.
The supplement will then reduce to $250 per fortnight until 31 December 2020.
The eligibility requirements for access to the Supplement remain for the same group of recipients.
To offset the reduced Supplement levels, recipients of JobSeeker payments and Youth Allowance will be able to earn higher levels of income and still receive the full support. In brief, the income free area will increase from just over $100 per fortnight up to $300 per fortnight before the JobSeeker payments are reduced.
The ‘mutual obligation’ components of the JobSeeker payment arrangements will be gradually reintroduced.
If you require further assistance or have any questions about your lodgement and payment deadlines, please contact your usual Mazars advisor or alternatively can contact one of our specialists:
Brisbane – Jamie Towers
Melbourne – Evan Beissel
Sydney – Gaibrielle Cleary
+61 7 3218 3900
+61 3 9252 0800
+61 2 9922 1166
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