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ATO releases initial JobKeeper guidance

Tax agents will now be able to enrol their clients for the JobKeeper payment from as early as next week as the ATO releases its first tranche of guidance.

Tax&Compliance Jotham Lian 15 April 2020
— 1 minute read

Following the release of the rules governing the JobKeeper scheme by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the ATO has now released its first round of guidance on the $1,500 per fortnight payment.

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The guidance, broken into targeted segments for employers, employees and tax professionals, provides further clarity on the eligibility criteria and application process.

Tax agents will now be able to enrol for JobKeeper on behalf of their clients from 20 April 2020 using Online services for agents.

The five-step process will include providing clients’ bank details, specifying the number of clients’ employees eligible for the first two fortnights, and receiving confirmation that employees are eligible and have been notified of the incoming payments.

Agents will then be able to help their clients claim the first two fortnight payments by submitting a report through Online services for agents or the business portal between 4 May and 31 May 2020.

While the JobKeeper payments began on 30 March, legislation was only passed last week, and the ATO’s guidance now comes in the second fortnight period running from 13 April to 26 April.

As such, the ATO will accept that the minimum $1,500 payment before tax has been paid for each of the first two fortnights even if it has been paid late, provided it is paid by the end of April.

“This means that they can make two fortnightly payments of at least $1,500 per fortnight before the end of April, or a combined payment of at least $3,000 before the end of April,” the ATO said.

While the ATO has set out guidance on determining the decline in turnover test for businesses, it has yet to reveal the alternative tests for businesses where turnover periods are not appropriately comparable.

Guidance for sole traders and businesses that operate in the form of a company, trust or partnership will also soon be provided by the Tax Office, although it has confirmed that the payment will be limited to one entitlement for each entity even if there are multiple business owners or participants.

More information on the ATO’s guidance is available here.

ATO releases initial JobKeeper guidance
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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian is the 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.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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