The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has been reviewing some of its decisions on JobKeeper eligibility after losing a JobKeeper test case in the Full Federal Court.
Some of these reviews will happen automatically, however if you missed the deadline to apply for the JobKeeper scheme or did not apply because you initially thought you were ineligible, you may be able to get a second chance to lodge an application which must be made by 30 June 2021.
What is JobKeeper?
The JobKeeper Payment scheme was launched at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic to support businesses through subsidising wages and subsequently ceased on 28 March 2021.
Under this scheme, eligible employers received JobKeeper payments worth $1,500 per fortnight as a wage subsidy for employees.
JobKeeper has been critical in keeping businesses afloat during the strict lockdowns imposed at the height of the pandemic.
What if you missed the initial JobKeeper?
If you missed the deadline to apply for the JobKeeper scheme or did not apply because you initially thought you were ineligible, you may be able to get a second chance to lodge an application – due 30 June 2021.
One of the key eligibility requirements for the scheme is to have had an ABN effective on or before 12 March 2020.
The ATO’s website explains that this requirement was included “to prevent new entities from being established, or inactive entities being revived, solely to obtain the benefits provided under either measure.”
However, the JobKeeper Rules also grant the Tax Commissioner the discretion to allow a taxpayer further time to obtain an ABN or provide a notice of assessable income supplies.
In March 2021, the Full Federal Court held that the Tax Commissioner had exercised that discretion too narrowly when they refused to allow a sole trader further time to register his ABN and thereby satisfy the JobKeeper eligibility rules.
In that case, a sole trader Mr Apted had recommenced working since mid 2019, after a brief retirement, but only reactivated his ABN after 12 March 2020.
Mr Apted managed to get his ABN backdated to 1 July 2019 however the ATO still disallowed his application for JobKeeper and refused to exercise its discretion to allow him further time to obtain an ABN.
The Court found the ATO’s approach too narrow and instead looked at the overall intention of the JobKeeper legislation.
“As is made plain by government announcements and the provisions of the legislation, the JobKeeper payment was intended to benefit taxpayers in Mr Apted’s general circumstances,” said Honourable Justice Thomas Thawley.
The upshot is that some taxpayers may be able to get their JobKeeper applications reviewed by the ATO although the deadline has passed.
Further, those who didn’t apply because they thought they were ineligible may wish to now make an application which includes seeking the Tax Commissioner exercise their discretion to allow further time to obtain an ABN or provide a notice of assessable income supplies.
Free eligibility review with PAQ
The process of applying for the JobKeeper scheme can be daunting given the strictness of the review process. We can assist you with checking your eligibility for a review to make sure everything is done correctly before sending it off to the ATO.
Our review process will involve performing a decline in turnover test, which is another one of the key requirements to be eligible for JobKeeper.
We will also be the liaison between yourself and the ATO which will entail negotiating your eligibility and ensuring that all of your details with the ATO are up to date and accurate.
If you are indeed eligible for a review with the ATO, we will then submit your JobKeeper application for you and all that’s left to do is wait for your application to be processed and get your cash back!
PAQ Group specialises in all things bookkeeping including GST, PAYG and other related taxes. We understand the struggles that small businesses have with cash flow and arranging investments.
We are confident that we will be able to assist you with any issues you may encounter in your business. We do this by providing up-to-date bookkeeping, regular catch-ups, and the steps you can take to optimise your business operations.
If you need any help with your business’ financial planning, please do not hesitate to contact us on our website.