With enrolments for JobKeeper fortnights in April and May closing over the past weekend, it has been feared that some practitioners and their clients may have missed out on completing Step 2 – identifying eligible employees before the 31 May deadline.
Institute of Certified Bookkeepers executive chair Matthew Addison told Accountants Daily that while practitioners can no longer complete Step 2 for April and May payments on Online services for agents, they can still rectify the issue by calling the ATO.
“The cold, hard deadline of 6pm on 31 May was for enrolments or anyone who wanted to claim JobKeeper for either April or May,” Mr Addison said.
“What has been missed in the communication and the marketplace is that the ATO considered that you had to also complete Step 2 by 6pm on 31 May.
“They have recognised that there is a gap and what they are allowing people to do is ring them to do Step 2 over the phone.”
Mr Addison stressed that the issue would not be relevant for employers who had already received the subsidy for April, and would only affect new entrants who completed Step 1 by enrolling but had yet to complete Step 2 by identifying and confirming the number of eligible employees.
While the ATO continues to receive high call volumes, 100 per cent up from this time last year, Mr Addison believes practitioners should be able resolve the Step 2 issue smoothly once they get in touch with the Tax Office.
“The ATO call centre is taking heaps of phone calls, but they tend to be answering those calls within a relatively short period of time — about 10 minutes or less — and in the majority of cases, they are able to solve the queries quite quickly,” he said.
“We are getting a little bit of inconsistency between the responses over the phone at the ATO, but that’s because things changed in the last 24 hours, so the call centre is just getting up to speed.”
With the 31 May deadline now passed, employers who are looking to enrol for subsequent JobKeeper fortnights have now been reminded to complete both Step 1 and 2 before the end of the first fortnight that they are claiming for.
The 31 May enrolment deadline was an extension afforded by the ATO as it recognised the number of updates and changes that continued to roll in over April.
“The deadlines are now real deadlines,” Mr Addison said.
“A big call-out is going forward: if an employer is entering JobKeeper for the first time, they must enrol and do Steps 1 and 2 before the close of business of that fortnight.”
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.