The second tranche of the JobKeeper scheme changes the eligibility test for employers and the method and amount paid to employees.
If your business currently receives JobKeeper, your arrangements will generally remain unchanged until 27 September 2020. From 28 September 2020, employers seeking to claim JobKeeper payments will need to reassess their eligibility and prove an actual decline in turnover.
To continue receiving JobKeeper payments, employers will need to reassess their eligibility with reference to actual GST turnover for the June and September 2020 quarters (for payments between 28 September to 3 January 2021), and again for the June, September and December 2020 quarters (for payments between 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021).
The broad eligibility tests to access JobKeeper remain the same with an extended decline in turnover test.
On 1 March 2020, carried on a business in Australia or was a non‑profit body pursuing its objectives principally in Australia; and
before the end of the JobKeeper fortnight, it met the decline in turnover test*:
>15% for an ACNC-registered charity (excluding universities, or schools within the meaning of the GST Act – these entities need to meet the basic turnover test)
> 50% for large businesses:
aggregated turnover for the test period is likely to be $1 billion or more, or aggregated turnover for the previous year to the test period was $1 billion or more (a small business that forms part of a group that is a large business must have a >50% decline in turnover to satisfy the test).
>30% for all other qualifying entities.
And, was not:
on 1 March 2020, subject to Major Bank Levy for any quarter ending before this date, a member of a consolidated group and another member of the group had been subject to the levy; or
a government body of a particular kind, or a wholly-owned entity of such a body; or
at any time in the fortnight, a provisional liquidator or liquidator has been appointed to the business or a trustee in bankruptcy had been appointed to the individual’s property.
1 March 2020 is an absolute date. An employer that had ceased trading, commenced after 1 March 2020, or was not pursuing its objectives in Australia at that date, is not eligible.
*Additional tests apply from 28 September 2020.
Additional decline in turnover tests
To receive JobKeeper payments from 28 September 2020, businesses will need to meet the basic eligibility tests and an extended decline in turnover test based on actual GST turnover.
30 March to 27 September 2020
28 September to 3 January 2021
4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021
Decline in turnover
Projected GST turnover for a relevant month or quarter is expected to fall by at least 30% (15% for ACNC-registered charities, 50% for large businesses) compared to the same period in 2019.*
Actual GST turnover in the June and September 2020 quarters fell by at least 30% (15% for ACNC-registered charities, 50% for large businesses) compared to the same periods in 2019.
The decline for both of the quarters needs to be met to continue receiving JobKeeper payments.
Actual GST turnover in the June, September and December 2020 quarters fell by at least 30% (15% for ACNC-registered charities, 50% for large businesses) compared to the same periods in 2019. The decline for all three of the quarters needs to be met to continue receiving JobKeeper payments.
* Alternative tests potentially apply where a business fails the basic test and does not have a relevant comparison period.
Most businesses will generally use their Business Activity Statement (BAS) reporting to assess eligibility. However, as the BAS deadlines are generally not due until the month after the end of the quarter, eligibility for JobKeeper will need to be assessed in advance of the BAS reporting deadlines to meet the wage condition for eligible employees. However, the ATO will have discretion to extend the time an entity has to pay employees in order to meet the wage condition.
Alternative arrangements are expected to be put in place for businesses and not-for-profits that are not required to lodge a BAS (for example, if the entity is a member of a GST group).
The Commissioner of Taxation will have discretion to set out alternative tests that would establish eligibility in specific circumstances where it is not appropriate to compare actual turnover in a quarter in 2020 with actual turnover in a quarter in 2019, in line with the Commissioner’s existing discretion.
Employee eligibility will remain broadly the same but the value of the payment will change from 28 September based on average weekly hours in February 2020.
On 1 March 2020:
Was aged 16 years and over; and
If the individual was aged 16 or 17, was either financially independent or was not undertaking full-time study;
Was an employee other than a casual, or was a long-term casual*; and
Was an Australian resident (under the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991), or a resident for tax purposes and held a Subclass 444 (Special category) visa**.
And, at any point during the JobKeeper fortnight:
Was an employee of the employer; and
Was not an excluded employee:
An employee receiving parental leave pay or dad and partner pay; or
An employee receiving workers compensation payments in relation to total incapacity.
Agreeing to be nominated by the employer as an eligible employee under the JobKeeper scheme; and
Confirming that they have not agreed to be nominated by another employer; and
If they are a long-term casual, they do not have permanent employment with another employer.
*A ‘long term casual employee’ is a person who has been employed by the business on a regular and systematic basis during the period of 12 months that ended on 1 March 2020 (1 March 2019 to 1 March 2020). These are likely to be employees with a recurring work schedule or a reasonable expectation of ongoing work.
30 March to 27 September 2020
28 September to 3 January 2021
4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021
$1,500 per fortnight per employee
· $1,200 per fortnight per employee or business participant who worked > 20 hours per week
· $750 per fortnight per employee or business participant working < 20 hours per week
· $1,000 per fortnight per employee or business participant who worked > 20 hours per week
· $650 per fortnight per employee or business participant working < 20 hours per week
Assessing if an employee has worked 20 hours or more
JobKeeper payments from 28 September 2020 are paid at a lower rate for employees who worked less than 20 hours per week on average in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020.
The Commissioner of Taxation will have discretion to set out alternative tests for those situations where an employee’s or business participant’s hours were not usual during February 2020. Also, the ATO will provide guidance on how this will be dealt with when pay periods are not weekly.
Can I keep getting JobKeeper until September?
If your business and your employees passed the original eligibility tests to access JobKeeper, and you have fulfilled your wage requirements, you can continue to claim JobKeeper up until the last JobKeeper fortnight that ends on 27 September 2020.
ATO assistant commissioner Andrew Watson said in a recent interview, “Once you’re in, you’re in to the end of September. If you meet the eligibility test once, you’re in it for the whole time.” The original eligibility test was a once only test although there are ongoing conditions that need to be satisfied for each JobKeeper fortnight.
JobSeeker and other support
The Coronavirus supplement will continue, albeit on a reduced rate of $250 per fortnight (from $550), from 25 September until 31 December 2020 for eligible individuals.
27 April to 24 September 2020
$550 per fortnight
25 September to 31 December 2020
$250 per fortnight
Eligibility remains the same. That is, those receiving:
JobSeeker Payment (and all payments transitioning as a result of JobSeeker Payment)
Parenting Payment (Partnered and Single)
ABSTUDY Living Allowance
Farm Household Allowance
Eligible New Enterprise Incentive Scheme participants
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Education Schemes
The eligibility criteria and some of the tests for access to income support is changing.
Eligibility and access
The expanded eligibility criteria for the Jobseeker Payment and the Youth Allowance Jobseeker will continue to apply until 31 December 2020:
Permanent employees who have been stood down or lost their jobs (and are not receiving payments from an employer or through insurance),
Sole traders, the self-employed, casuals or contractors who meet the income and assets tests.
In addition, if you receive JobSeeker or Youth Allowance payments, the amount you can earn before impacting income support has been increased to $300 per fortnight from 25 September 2020 until 31 December 2020.
However, a number of restrictions have been reintroduced.
Reintroduction of assets and partner income tests
From 25 September 2020, the assets test and the Liquid Assets Waiting Period (applies to those with assets such as cash savings worth over $5,500 for singles or $11,000 for singles with children and partnered people) will be reintroduced for access to income support payments.
In addition, partner income testing will resume from 25 September, albeit with higher thresholds than those pre coronavirus. That is, you will not be eligible for income support if you are not earning an income but your partner earns $3,086.11 per fortnight or $80,238.89 per annum. The partner income test taper rate will increase from 25 cents for every dollar of partner income earned over $996 per fortnight to 27 cents for every dollar of partner income earned over $1,165 per fortnight.
Reintroduction of job seeking requirements
Job seeking requirements that were suspended from 24 March 2020 have been introduced from 9 June 2020. The mutual obligation requirements include:
Voluntary job searches
At least one phone or online appointment with a jobseeker’s employment services provider
Voluntary participation in activities, either online or in person, and
No payment suspensions or penalties for failure to comply.
Waiting periods continue to be waived
Some waiting periods for access to income support will continue to be waived until 31 December 2020:
The one-week ordinary waiting period is waived.
The newly arrived resident’s waiting period for new migrants (previously four years). Claimants will still need to meet residency requirements, that is they will need to hold a permanent visa. Affected claimants will need to serve the remainder of this waiting period at the end of the period the Coronavirus Supplement is paid for.
The Seasonal Work Preclusion Period for those who are eligible for the Coronavirus supplement -this applies to those who finished seasonal, contract or intermittent work in the six months prior to claiming income support.
The Government has announced the $2.5bn JobTrainer package to retrain, upskill and open new job opportunities.
JobTrainer for job seekers and school leavers
An additional 340,700 training places will be created to provide no or low cost courses into sectors with job opportunities. The Government is working with the States and Territories to develop a list of qualifications and skill sets to be covered by the program.
JobTrainer for employers
The JobTrainer package has expanded the number of businesses that can access the 50% apprentice wage subsidy and extends the subsidy until 31 March 2021 (from 30 September 2020).
Originally, only businesses with less than 20 employees or larger employers employing apprentices/trainees let go by a small business were able to access the subsidy (for wages paid to apprentices employed by them as at 1 March 2020).
Now, businesses with under 200 employees can access the subsidy for apprentices employed from 1 July 2020.
Employers will be reimbursed 50% of an eligible apprentice’s wage up to a maximum of $7,000 per quarter per apprentice.
A small business with fewer than 20 people, using a Group Training Organisation, and
the apprentice or trainee was undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship with you on 1 July 2020 for claims after this date. Claims prior to 1 July 2020, will continue to be based on the 1 March 2020 eligibility date.
Claims are open now for small business.
For medium sized businesses:
Employ 199 people or fewer, or
A medium sized business with 199 people or fewer, using a Group Training Organisation, and
the apprentice or trainee was undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship with you on 1 July 2020.
Claims open 1 October 2020 for medium sized businesses.
You will need to provide evidence of wages paid to the apprentice. If the business subsequently is unable to retain the apprentice, another business can access the incentive if they then employ and pay wages to the apprentice.
Final claims for payment must be lodged by 30 June 2021.
How does the apprenticeship subsidy and JobKeeper work together?
They don’t. It is one or the other.
An employer will not be eligible to claim the apprentice wage subsidy for any period where they choose to claim the JobKeeper payment for the same apprentice.
An employer or Group Training Organisation will not be eligible for the JobKeeper payment where the employer is in receipt of an Australian Government wage subsidy for the same Australian Apprentice (for example Supporting Apprentices and Trainees and the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy).
If your superannuation fund balance is less than $500,000, a new rule means you are now able to carry forward any unused concessional contribution from prior years into following years. This allows you to maximise the tax benefits of contributing the upper limit concessional amount.
It also gives you some flexibility with being able to contribute more in years that you have the cash flow to do so. This is useful for people whose income has been interrupted or for those who receive larger than usual income some years.
Once your fund balance reaches $500,000 you won’t be able to carry forward unused amounts. Also, unused balances can only be carried forward for up to five years.
The new rule applies from 1 July 2018. This means that the 2020 financial year is the first year in which you can top-up your super contributions by the carry forward amount. This year, there is only one year (2019) of unused cap that can be carried forward. In 2021, there will be two years of unused balance available to carry forward and so on, up to a maximum of five years balance to carry forward in the 2024 financial year. Assuming the law doesn’t change, the five-year expiry rule will continue from then.
What are Concessional Contributions?
Concessional superannuation contributions are those made to your super fund before tax. This includes compulsory employer superannuation guarantee contributions, additional employer before-tax super and salary sacrifice amounts.
It may also include personal contributions you make as tax deductions, for example, sole traders who contribute to their own super fund.
Roll Over Unused Concessional Balance Example
If you contributed $15,000 in the 2019 financial year, and your fund balance is less than $500,000, you can contribute an extra $10,000 in the 2020 financial year, above the usual $25,000 concessional cap, bringing the total for 2020 to $35,000.
As another example, let’s say as a self-employed person you did not contribute any superannuation for 2019 to 2023. In the 2024 financial year, you could then contribute $125,000 to catch up to the allowable concessional contribution cap for the previous five years.
Concessional Contributions Checklist
Check your superannuation balance as at 30 June 2019. Was it less than $500,000?
What did you contribute to super in the 2019 financial year?
If you contributed less than $25,000 in 2019 and you have available cash flow, consider topping up to the threshold, even if you don’t pay the full $25,000 this tax year. You can always carry forward this year’s threshold balance and top up in a future year.
What is the last date your super fund will accept payments? It will probably be at least a week before the end of the financial year.
Get advice before making extra contributions
If you contribute too much to your super fund you may end up with a tax bill! If you’re keen to get the tax benefits of maximum contributions, talk to us now before your super fund deadline and we’ll help you build your super balance. We can also help you start planning for the following year’s contributions.
The Government has announced grants of $25,000 to encourage people to build a new home or substantially renovate their existing home.
The HomeBuilder scheme targets the residential construction market by providing tax-free grants of $25,000 to eligible owner-occupiers, including first home buyers, to build a new home or substantially renovate their existing home.
The grants will be distributed by the revenue office of the State or Territory where you live or plan to live.
There are a few complexities to this grant that both home builders/renovators and the building industry need to be across before jumping in and signing a new contract on the expectation that the grant will apply.
Eligibility criteria apply to the individuals applying for the grant and the building project:
The HomeBuilder scheme is available to owner occupiers including first home buyers. It is not accessible to owner builders, developers or investors.
To be eligible you need to be:
An individual (not a company or trust); and
18 years of age or older; and
An Australian citizen.
And, you need to meet the income test. To be eligible, you cannot earn more than:
Individuals – $125,000 based on your 2018-19 or later tax return
Couples – $200,000 based on both of your 2018-19 or later tax returns
The building project eligibility
The building contract must be signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020. And, the construction or renovation must commence within three months of the contract date.
The grants are available if you build a new home or renovate a home to live in (your principal place of residence) where:
The property value (house and land) does not exceed $750,000
Substantially renovate your existing home, where: The renovation contract is between $150,000 and $750,000, and The value of your existing property (house and land) does not exceed $1.5 million
* house, apartment, house and land package, off-the-plan, etc.
** renovation works must be to improve the accessibility, safety and liveability of the dwelling. It cannot be for additions to the property (such as swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor spas and saunas, sheds or garages (unconnected to the property)).
If you own or have purchased land but have not signed a contract to build your home, you may meet the eligibility criteria if you:
Own a property (house and land), and knock down the house to rebuild – this will be counted as a substantial renovation, and therefore subject to the renovation price range of $150,000 to $750,000 provided the total value (house and land) of the property does not exceed $1.5 million pre-renovation;
Own vacant land before 4 June 2020, and then build, the total value of the land and new build cannot exceed $750,000; or
Buy the land after 4 June 2020, and then build, the total value of the land and build cannot exceed $750,000.
Integrity measures and pricing
Building contracts must be at arms-length, that is, the parties cannot be related or connected.
Renovations or building work must be undertaken by a registered or licenced building service ‘contractor’ (depending on the state or territory you live in) and named as a builder on the building licence or permit.
When it comes to price, the terms should be commercially reasonable, and the contract price should not be inflated compared to the fair market price. The rules enable the purchaser to request that the builder demonstrate that the contract price for the new build or substantial renovation is no more than a comparable product (measured by quality, location and size) as at 1 July 2019.
Interaction with first home owner grant schemes
The HomeBuilder grant does not exclude first home buyers from accessing other grants and concessions such as the First Home Owner Grant, stamp duty concessions, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, and First Home Super Saver Scheme.
As the building contract is entered into before the grant is approved, it will be important that the grant is not essential to finance the building project, just in case the grant is not approved. In addition, as the builder needs to commence work within three months of the contract date, it will be important to ensure that the contract recognises the commencement dates.
The Federal Government has released a mandatory code of conduct for commercial leasing arrangements, to take effect from 3 April 2020 for the same six-month period as the JobKeeper program.
Commercial tenancies include retail, offices, warehousing and industrial leases.
The new code affords tenants a combination of rent waivers and deferrals.
What does it mean for tenants?
Commercial rent relief eligibility is in line with the JobKeeper Payment scheme. (Small businesses with less than 50 million in turnover, who have experienced a reduction in turnover by more than 30%).
Leases can’t be terminated for non-payment of rent.
Rent reductions will be proportional. If your turnover is down by 50% then your rent would reduce by 50%. At least 50% of the reduction amount must be waived and the remainder can be a rent deferral – with a minimum 24 months to pay, or the term of your lease.
There can be no fees or charges for a waiver or deferral.
What are the rules for landlords?
Evictions will be banned for the next six months.
Any benefits, such as a reduction in land tax or reduced interest payments must be proportionally passed on to tenants.
Landlords must give a lease extension for the period of the deferral of rent.
Rent can not be increased for the period of the COVID-19 pandemic and/or a reasonable subsequent recovery period.
Landlords will not be able to draw on a tenant’s security such as a bond, for non-payment of rent during this period.
No penalties can be charged to tenants who reduce opening hours or cease to trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The property owner may choose to waive 100% of the rent for the six-month period and a lessee may choose to pay the agreed reduced rent without deferring any payments.
The code requires landlords and tenants to negotiate new arrangements for the period of the JobKeeper program to aid continuation of business once the pandemic business crisis is over. The intention of the code is to ensure that the financial burden is shared between property owners and tenants.
Tenants must supply accurate reports to prove their financial position and eligibility for JobKeeper. Likewise, landlords must be open and honest in passing on any applicable decrease in their costs, such as rates or taxes, or any other benefits such as deferred loan payments, to the tenants.
Struggling with rent? – We can help you with the financial reports you will need to provide to the proprietor of your business premises.
Property owners – Talk to us if you need help working out the waiver and deferral amounts for your tenants.
This new code is binding. If the two parties cannot reach agreement, they will need to approach the relevant State or Territory office for advice or mediation.
From 30 March 2020 for six monthsFor employees employed at and from
1 March 2020First payments in first week of
Based on comparable periods:
Employers <$1 bn that have
experienced a downturn of more than 30% Employers >$1bn that have
experienced a downturn of more than 50%
A subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight per employee,
administered by the ATO, will be paid to businesses that have experienced a
downturn of more than 30% (50% for businesses over $1bn).
To be a part of the subsidy, employers will need to
ensure that their employees receive at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax).
See the example below.
There are two levels of eligibility; for employers and
are those with:
Turnover below $1bn that have
experienced a reduction in turnoverof more than 30% relative to
a comparable period 12 months ago (of at least a month); or
Turnover of $1bn or more that have
experienced a reduction in turnover of more than 50% relative to a comparable
period 12 months ago (of at least a month); and
Are not subject to the Major Bank
and the self-employed with an ABN, and not-for-profits (including charities)
that meet the turnover tests are eligible for the JobKeeper payment.
Eligible employees are
Were employed by the relevant
employer at 1 March 2020; and
Are currently employed by the
employer (including those who have been stood down or re-hired); and
Are full time, part-time, or long
term casuals (a casual employee employed on a regular basis for 12 months as at
1 March); and
Are at least 16 years of age; and
Are an Australian citizen, hold a
permanent visa, are a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected
Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for
10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder; and
Are not in receipt of a JobKeeper
Payment from another employer.
While it appears that businesses without employees can
potentially qualify for JobKeeper Payments, it is not clear at this stage what
conditions will need to be satisfied.
How the support is calculated
The ATO will administer this program and will make the
$1,500 payments based on payroll information. The payments will be made monthly in arrears, so it is
essential that you ensure your business and your employees continually
meet the eligibility criteria.
The business will continue to receive the payments for
eligible employees while they are eligible for the payments. While the program
is expected to run for 6 months, payments will stop if the employee is no
longer employed by the relevant employer.
How the support is provided
the JobKeeper subsidy, you should talk to your accountant or adviser to assist
you with the registration process and calculations.
If you want
to manage the process yourself, you must:
Applications are not yet
open. However, you should register your intent to apply for the
JobKeeper subsidy with the ATO (here). The ATO will provide you with regular updates and advise
you when you can lodge your application
Ensure you have an
accurate record of your revenue for the 2018-19 income year and for the 2019-20
year to date
Ensure you keep an
accurate record of revenue from March 2020 onwards
Compare your revenue for
the whole of March 2019 with the whole of March 2020
Measure the % decline in
your revenue and ensure it has declined by more than 30%
If you are not eligible in
March, you may become eligible in another month
Identify eligible employees
Nominate the employees
eligible for the JobKeeper payments – you will need to provide this information
to the ATO and keep that information up to date each month. The ATO will use
Single Touch Payroll to prepopulate the information in most cases.
Notify all eligible
employees that they are receiving a JobKeeper payment. Employees can only be
registered with one employer.
Pay eligible employees at
least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). If an employee normally receives
$1,500 or more per fortnight before tax the employee should continue to receive
their regular income.
guarantee on normal salary and wages amounts paid to employees. If the employee
normally receives less than $1,500 per fortnight before tax, the employer can
decide whether to pay superannuation on the additional amount that is paid as a
result of the JobKeeper program.
and the self-employed can register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper
payment with the ATO. These businesses will need to provide an ABN for the
business, nominate an individual to receive the payment, provide the
individual’s TFN and declare their continued eligibility for the payments. Payments
will be monthly to the individual’s bank account.
Example: Adam owns a real estate business with two employees. The business is still operating at this stage but Adam expects that turnover will decline by more than 30% in in the coming months. The employees are:
Employee – Anne Employment type – Full-time Salary per fortnight (before tax) – $3,000
Employee – Nick Employment type – Part-time Salary per fortnight (before tax) – $1,000
Both Anne and Nick are still working in the business.
Adam registers his interest in the JobKeeper scheme (from 30 March 2020), then applies to the ATO providing details of his eligible employees. Adam also advises Anne and Nick that he has nominated them as eligible employees to receive the payment. Adam will provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis and receive the payment monthly in arrears.
Adam’s business is eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment for each employee.
For Anne, the business will: 1. Continue to pay Anne her full-time salary of $3,000 per fortnight before tax, 2. Receive $1,500 per fortnight from the JobKeeper Payment 3. Pay superannuation guarantee on Anne’s salary
For Nick, the business will: 1. Continue to pay Nick $1,000 per fortnight before tax salary 2. Pay Nick an additional $500 per fortnight before tax (totalling $1,500) 3. Receive $1,500 per fortnight from the JobKeeper Payment 4. Pay superannuation guarantee on Nick’s wage of $1,000 per fortnight (but can choose to pay SG on the full $1,500)
Adapted from Treasury fact sheet: JobKeeper payment — information for employers