Treasury has now released an updated frequently asked questions fact sheet on the proposed JobKeeper payments ahead of draft legislation being tabled before Parliament on Wednesday.
The 12-page fact sheet details responses to a raft of questions that have arisen in the wake of the government’s announcement to roll out a flat $1,500 payment per fortnight to businesses as a wage subsidy for employees retained in the business.
The update comes after the Commissioner of Taxation was given discretion to determine eligibility where businesses are unable to demonstrate impact through turnover reduction test.
Businesses with a turnover of less than $1 billion will be eligible for the subsidy if their turnover has fallen by 30 per cent or more, while business with a turnover of $1 billion or more will need to estimate that a fall of 50 per cent or more in turnover has happened.
Further, charities and not-for-profits will be eligible if their turnover has fallen by 15 per cent or more relative to a comparable period.
Regarding the turnover test, Treasury has now clarified that turnover will be defined according to the current calculation for GST purposes as reported on business activity statements. It will include all taxable supplies and all GST-free supplies but not input-taxed supplies.
Only Australian-based sales will be included.
“The ATO will provide guidance about self-assessment of actual and anticipated falls in turnover,” Treasury said.
Partnerships, trusts, shareholders
Treasury has also now advised that only one partner in a partnership can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper payments.
Likewise, where beneficiaries of a trust only receive distributions, rather than being paid salary and wages for work done, one individual beneficiary can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper payment.
Eligible businesses will also only be allowed to nominate one director to receive the payment and that individual may not receive the payment as an employee.
Further, 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.
Treasury has now warned that legislation 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,” Treasury said.
Businesses that use Single Touch Payroll will need to report payments made to employees to support the online claims process.
Where businesses do not report through Single Touch Payroll, there will be a manual claim process, although Treasury has yet to reveal further details.
Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.