The ATO is poised to introduce guidance around the JobKeeper extension alternative tests this week after the Treasurer’s rules and the subsequent commissioner’s determinations were registered last week.
These alternative tests are expected to mirror the original tests that cover seven circumstances, including businesses that started after the comparison period and those that had a substantial increase in turnover, have an irregular turnover, or were affected by drought or natural disaster.
The original alternative tests also provide for a business restructure that changed the entity’s turnover, and sole traders or small partnerships that experienced sickness, injury or leave during the comparable period.
However, it is expected that the alternative tests will now need to be applied on the basis that the turnover test period is a quarter, instead of the flexibility of choice between a month and quarter for the first version.
ATO acting second commissioner Deborah Jenkins confirmed to a Senate committee that the alternative tests would proceed under the JobKeeper extension.
“There are no changes to the use of alternative tests. Under the extension to JobKeeper, we still have the option,” Ms Jenkins said.
“As you can imagine, it’s to take into account things like that people might have had a particularly good year last year, so the relativities look different and it could have been, for example, that they were affected by floods, bushfires et cetera.
“The option to have an alternative test still applies under the JobKeeper extension.”
Businesses that are looking to apply for the JobKeeper extension using one of the alternative tests will now need to indicate to the ATO that they are doing so.
“The first time I think you’ll all remember it all happened quite quickly and we had to get things up and running, so we didn’t record any information about who used an alternative decline in turnover test,” said ATO senior director Michelle Allen.
“For the actual decline in turnover test that you need to fill in for JobKeeper [2.0], if you are using an alternative period for your decline, you will need to tell us and indicate that and advise which test it is.
“So, it’s just an extra box on the form that you need to use.”
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.