Weekly Digest – 29 April 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting nearly every aspect of our lives and will be remembered as a pivotal time in history. Like any other event that impacts the world, we don’t know what the future will be like, but we do know that the other side of this will require resilience and creativity from all of us. In the spirit of resilience, we have put together some useful resources to help you.
It’s all we’ve been thinking about lately, so here are some recent updates on the JobKeeper scheme.
JobKeeper Alternative Eligibility Tests
Late last week the government announced alternative tests for businesses that don’t meet the basic JobKeeper eligibility test (a 30% decline in turnover). The alternative tests are good news for startups, those who have restructured, been affected by drought or have irregular revenue.
JobKeeper Deadline Extended
The ATO has extended the deadline for making JobKeeper payments and top ups to employees for the first two fortnights of April 2020. The time to enrol for the initial JobKeeper periods has been extended from 30 April 2020 until 31 May 2020.
If you enrol by 31 May 2020 you will still be able to claim for the fortnights in April and May, provided you meet all the eligibility requirements for each of those fortnights. This includes having paid your employees by the appropriate date for each fortnight.
The ATO has also extended the time that the first two fortnights have to be paid by to assist businesses with their cashflow. The first two fortnights (the two in April 2020) now need to be paid in full by 8 May 2020.
If you have any questions about JobKeeper, please let us know. We are working hard to help many individuals and business owners through this time. We appreciate your patience and support.
Calculating Turnover Decline
Most eligible businesses have probably already registered for JobKeeper, but the ATO has this week changed its approach to the most appropriate accounting method of calculating the decline in business turnover.
Previous ATO guidance was that businesses could calculate the current and projected business turnover on either a cash or an accruals basis. The updated guidance is that if a business chooses to use a different GST accounting method from the one it normally uses for its BAS, the Tax Office may reach out to understand why it has done so.
“If you normally account for GST on an accruals basis, but seek to calculate on a cash basis (or vice versa), we may seek to understand your circumstances to ensure that the calculation achieves an appropriate reflection of your turnover,” the ATO said.
How can I pay staff while waiting for JobKeeper?
One of the main concerns for employers wanting to enrol for the Job Keeper Scheme is that they have to make the $1,500 payments to employees before they are eligible to receive the Job Keeper Payment.
The Treasurer (Josh Frydenberg) spoke with the ‘Big 4’ banks and they have agreed to establish dedicated Hotlines for employers to call in relation to accessing bridging finance.
Those Hotline numbers are:
Westpac – 1300 731 073
NAB – 1800 562 533 (1800 JOBKEEPER)
CBA – 13 26 07
ANZ – 1800 571 123
NSW Covid-19 economic support measures
The NSW Government has announced a number of Covid-19 economic support measures. These include Payroll Tax and Land Tax reductions of 25% and payment deferment. The application process is still being developed but please contact Revenue NSW if you would like to defer your payments.
ACT Covid-19 economic support measures
The ACT Government has announced a second package of $214 million to support hospitals, businesses and households. Some of these measures include 6 month waiver of payroll tax for affected businesses, deferring the issuance of commercial rates notices by 4 weeks, increasing subsidies for apprenticeships, $750 electricity rebates and support of up to $1300 a quarter for residential landlords who reduce rents by at least 25% for tenants under Covid-19 related rental stress.
Some state governments have announced plans to slowly start lifting coronavirus restrictions. The relaxed restrictions would potentially allow specific activities to begin again. PM Scott Morrison confirmed no national restrictions would be lifted until at least May 11, when they will measure key statistics.
It’s still early days but good news that our country has done well to ‘flatten the curve’.
Are you adapting?
Businesses that use the Coronavirus setback as an opportunity to adapt, innovate and improve are the ones that will thrive. You may need to modify your offerings, look into offering online services and see what you can do differently.
We recommend you use this time to do those things you’ve been putting off because you didn’t have enough time. Can you improve some internal processes, conduct staff training, complete that new website project or look at your marketing efforts? How about developing a plan for when you can reopen?
Ten working from home issues to consider
Some businesses have established processes and systems for employees working from home however there will be many employers who need to quickly grasp the many issues involved.
Time for some good news
The pandemic has caused many people to adjust. We have seen innovations born out of necessity, such as hands-free door openers and rapid development and manufacturing of ventilators and masks. There’s also interesting news of video gamers being called to help develop COVID-19 treatments.
Google is offering $340 million in Ads credits for those who have spent with them in most of 2019.
Take care of yourself
We know that this is a hard time. Everyone is throwing words around like “uncertain” and “unprecedented”, while business feels more stressful than ever. Please take time out today to look after yourself. We will get through this.
Thanks again for your patience. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.