Archive of all previous announcements, COVID-19 related, Tax and Compliance matters.
21 JULY 2020
JobKeeper 2.0 – Extension to the JobKeeper Scheme
Announced today by the Federal Government, JobKeeper payments to be extended until 28 March 2021.
Full details are available on our dedicated JobKeeper page https://hotchkinhughes.com.au/jobkeeper-payment/
13 July 2020
Business Victoria $5,000 Business Support Fund – Expansion Program
Victorian businesses within the areas that are affected by the return to Stay at Home restrictions may be eligible for a one-off $5,000 grant under the Business Victoria Business Support Fund – Expansion Program.
Applications for the program close on 19 August 2020.
To apply follow this link: https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-support-package/business-support-fund
Or alternatively, if you would like us to apply on your behalf, please contact our office at your earliest convenience. Before applying read the information on this page carefully as the initial eligibility criteria has changed since details were first released for this fund.
WHAT TYPE OF BUSINESS CAN APPLY FOR THIS GRANT?
Businesses can apply if they meet ALL of the criteria listed below:
- must operate a business located in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire (details below);
- be a participant in the JobKeeper Payment Scheme;
- employ people;
- be registered with WorkSafe on 30 June 2020;
- be registered for GST as at 30 June 2020;
- have an annual payroll of less than $3 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis;
- hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at 30 June 2020;
- be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator.
Businesses that have received funding from other components of the Victorian Government’s Economic Survival Package are eligible to apply for this program.
Business owners that do not employ people (non-employing businesses) are not eligible for funding through this program.
As at 13th July 2020 the postcodes included are:
|Banyule||Bellfield, Bundoora, Greensborough, Heidelberg, Ivanhoe, Montmorency, Rosanna, Watsonia|
|Bayside||Beaumaris, Brighton, Cheltenham, Hampton, Highett, Sandringham|
|Boroondara||Ashburton, Balwyn, Camberwell, Canterbury, Glen Iris, Hawthorn, Kew, Surrey Hills|
|Brimbank||Calder Park, Deer Park, Delahey, Derrimut, Keilor Downs, St Albans, Sunshine, Sydenham, Taylors Lakes|
|Cardinia||Bunyip, Gembrook, Koo Wee Rup, Nar Nar Goon, Officer, Pakenham|
|Casey||Berwick, Clyde, Cranbourne, Endeavour Hills, Narre Warren|
|Darebin||Alphington, Fairfield, Kingsbury, Northcote, Preston, Reservoir, Thornbury|
|Frankston||Carrum Downs, Frankston, Langwarrin, Sandhurst, Seaford, Skye|
|Glen Eira||Bentleigh, Caulfield, Elsternwick, Glen Huntly, Murrumbeena, Ormond|
|Greater Dandenong||Dandenong, Keysborough, Lyndhurst, Noble Park, Springvale|
|Hobsons Bay||Altona, Newport, Spotswood, Williamstown|
|Hume||Broadmeadows, Coolaroo, Craigieburn, Dallas, Keilor, Mickleham, Roxburgh Park, Sunbury, Tullamarine|
|Kingston||Aspendale, Chelsea, Cheltenham, Mentone, Moorabbin, Mordialloc, Patterson Lakes|
|Knox||Bayswater, Boronia, Ferntree Gully, Scoresby, Wantirna|
|Manningham||Bulleen, Doncaster, Templestowe, Warrandyte, Wonga Park|
|Maribyrnong||Braybrook, Footscray, Maribyrnong, Yarraville|
|Maroondah||Croydon, Heathmont, Kilsyth, Ringwood, Vermont|
|Melbourne||Carlton, Docklands, Flemington, Kensington, Parkville, Southbank|
|Melton||Caroline Springs, Diggers Rest, Melton, Rockbank|
|Mitchell||Broadford, Kilmore, Puckapunyal, Seymour, Tallarook, Upper Plenty, Wallan|
|Monash||Chadstone, Clayton, Glen Waverley, Hughesdale, Mount Waverley, Mulgrave, Oakleigh|
|Moonee Valley||Airport West, Ascot Vale, Essendon, Moonee Ponds, Strathmore|
|Moreland||Brunswick, Coburg, Glenroy, Oak Park, Pascoe Vale|
|Mornington Peninsula||Blairgowrie, Dromana, Hastings, HMAS Cerberus, Mornington, Mount Eliza, Rosebud, Rye, Sorrento|
|Nillumbik||Diamond Creek, Eltham, Greensborough, Plenty, Wattle Glen|
|Port Phillip||Albert Park, Balaclava, Elwood, South Melbourne, Port Melbourne, St Kilda|
|Stonnington||Armadale, Malvern, Prahran, South Yarra, Toorak|
|Whitehorse||Blackburn, Box Hill, Mitcham, Mont Albert, Nunawading|
|Whittlesea||Epping, Lalor, Mernda, Mill Park, South Morang, Thomastown, Whittlesea township|
|Wyndham||Hoppers Crossing, Laverton, Point Cook, Tarneit, Truganina, Werribee|
|Yarra||Abbotsford, Clifton Hill, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Richmond|
|Yarra Ranges||Belgrave, Coldstream, Ferny Creek, Healesville, Lilydale, Mount Dandenong, Olinda, Warburton, Yarra Glen|
HOW CAN THE FUNDING BE USED?
Grant funds, for example, may be used to assist the business with:
- meeting business costs, including utilities, salaries or rent
- seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning
- developing the business through marketing and communications activities
- any other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.
IMPORTANT APPLICATION INFORMATION
Eligible businesses are invited to apply for a one-off grant of $5,000. A business, as defined by its ABN, can only receive one grant under this Fund.
As part of the assessment process, evidence provided by applicants may be subject to a check with other government agencies including the State Revenue Office, Worksafe and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
Circumstances that may be taken into consideration in any decision whether to award a grant include:
- any adverse findings by a regulator regarding a business
- if a business is placed under external administration
- if there is a petition to wind up or deregister a company or business
- if the business is, or becomes, deregistered or unregistered (including cancellation or lapse in registration).
Applicants must ensure that their Australian Business Number (ABN) registration information and registration with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission is up-to-date and current as at the time of application.
Applicants are required to apply online via the Business Victoria website. All questions in the application need to be completed to ensure timely assessment.
The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions will endeavour to notify all applicants on the outcome of their submitted application within ten business days.
WHAT EVIDENCE DO BUSINESSES NEED TO PROVIDE TO PROVE ELIGIBILITY AND COMPLIANCE?
Applicants must certify that they meet the eligibility criteria and must provide evidence of the address of their eligible business operation through their most recent:
- utility bill (gas, electricity, telecommunications, water);
- lease agreement; or
- council rate notice.
Applicants must also provide evidence of their participation in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme. The evidence required will be the most recent JobKeeper business monthly declaration or for new entrants their JobKeeper enrolment form. These documents must be a PDF file generated from the Australian Taxation Office Business Portal.
Applicants are subject to a risk assessment which verifies business details provided with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commissioner (ACNC), Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) and/or other applicable regulators.
Applicants will be subject to an audit by the Victorian Government or its representatives and will be required to produce evidence (such as payroll reports to demonstrate impact) at the request of the Victorian Government for a period of four years after the grant has been approved.
If any information in the application is found to be false or misleading, or grants are not applied for the purposes of the business in accordance with the terms of funding as set out in these guidelines and attached application, the grant will be repayable to the Victorian Government on demand.
- Sole traders must employ persons other than themselves to be eligible.
- The applicant must be able to provide a ‘WorkCover employer number’.
- Relevant regulators are the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC); the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC); Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV); and in the case of sole traders ABN registration will suffice (sole traders who use a business name other than their own personal name must have that business name registered with ASIC).
HOW TO APPLY
Applicants must submit an application online via the ‘Apply now’ button on the Business Victoria page.
All questions in the application must be completed and any requested documentation attached to ensure timely assessment and grant payment.
6 May 2020
More Payroll Tax Relief For Businesses
The Victorian Government has announced additional payroll tax relief to support businesses and jobs as we face coronavirus (COVID-19).
To qualify for the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper payments, employers must pay a minimum of $1500 a fortnight to eligible employees.
Any additional payments that an employer makes to bridge the gap between their employee’s normal wage and the $1500 a fortnight required to qualify for JobKeeper payments are now exempt from payroll tax. For employees who have been stood down, the full $1500 payment is exempt.
More information about this emergency tax relief measure is available at sro.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.
The additional payments are not included in rateable remuneration for the purposes of calculating WorkCover Premiums. For more information, visit worksafe.vic.gov.au.
Eligibility requirements for JobKeeper payments are available on the Australian Taxation Office website.
OTHER SUPPORT AVAILABLE TO BUSINESSES
The Victorian Government has a range of other tax relief measures as part of its Economic Survival Package in response to coronavirus. Please find all Information about all Victorian Government tax relief measures via this link.
Businesses across the state can access information on dealing with the impact of coronavirus by calling the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.
28 April 2020
ATO ANNOUNCES EXTENSION TO WAGE PAYMENTS
The ATO has just announced that it has extended the time in which employers need to pay employees for JobKeeper fortnights 1 and 2 until 8 May 2020.
One of the key requirements of the JobKeeper Scheme is that employers must first pay their employees before they can apply to receive JobKeeper Payments. Originally, a concession was available that allowed employers to make the payments for JobKeeper fortnights 1 and 2 by 26 April 2020 (being the end of fortnight 2). The ATO then extended this to 30 April 2020.
However, under this new announcement, a further extension has been granted until 8 May 2020 providing employers with additional time to ensure they have paid each eligible employee $3,000 for JobKeeper fortnights 1 and 2.
As a warning, employers must be aware that, despite the fact they can now pay their employees as late as 8 May 2020 and still be eligible for JobKeeper Payments for fortnights 1 and 2, they are still required to pay their employees a further $1,500 by 10 May 2020 in relation JobKeeper fortnight
3 (which ends on the same date).
At the current time, no extension to this date has been announced, and it would be unwise for employers to anticipate that there will be one.
Enrolments for the first two JobKeeper fortnights has also been extended to 31 May 2020.
Reference can also be made to the following:
Assistant Treasurer’s media release
7 April 2020
ATO Announces Temporary Change to Home Office Deductions
You can claim a deduction of 80 cents for each hour you work from home due to COVID-19 as long as you are:
- working from home to fulfil your employment duties and not just carrying out minimal tasks such as occasionally checking emails or taking calls,
- incurring additional deductible running expenses as a result of working from home.
You do not have to have a separate or dedicated area of your home set aside for working, such as a private study.
The shortcut method rate covers all deductible running expenses, including:
- electricity for lighting, cooling or heating and running electronic items used for work (for example your computer), and gas heating expenses
- the decline in value and repair of capital items, such as home office furniture and furnishings
- cleaning expenses
- your phone costs, including the decline in value of the handset
- your internet costs
- computer consumables, such as printer ink
- the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device.
You do not have to incur all of these expenses, but you must have incurred additional expenses in some of those categories as a result of working from home due to COVID-19.
If you use the shortcut method to claim a deduction for your additional running expenses, you cannot claim a further deduction for any of the expenses listed above.
You must keep a record of the number of hours you have worked from home as a result of COVID-19. Examples are timesheets, diary notes or rosters.
If you use the shortcut method to claim a deduction and you lodge your 2019-20 tax return through myGov or a tax agent, you must include the note ‘COVID-hourly rate’ in your tax return.
Furthermore, according to the ATO’s announcement, under the 80 cents per hour method:
(a) there is no requirement to have a separate or dedicated area at home set aside for working (e.g., a private study);
(b) multiple people living in the same house could claim under this method (e.g., a couple living together could each individually claim running expenses they have incurred while genuinely working from home, based on the 80 cents per hour method); and
(c) an individual will only be required to keep a record of the number of hours worked from home as a result of the Coronavirus, during the above period. This record can include time sheets, diary entries/notes or even rosters.
Working from home running expenses that are incurred before 1 March 2020 (and/or incurred from this date where an individual does not use the 80 cents per hour method) must be claimed using existing
Broadly, these existing claim arrangements require:
• an analysis of specific running expenses incurred as a result of working from home; and
• more onerous record-keeping (e.g., the requirement to provide receipts and similar documents for
expenses being claimed, as well as the requirement to maintain a time usage diary or similar record
to show how often a home work area was used during the year for work purposes).
RECORDS YOU MUST KEEP
If you use the shortcut method, you only need to keep a record of the hours you worked at home, for example timesheets or diary notes.
If you use the other methods, you must also keep a record of the number of hours you worked from home along with records of your expenses. For more information on what those records are see Home office expenses.
31 March 2020
JobKeeper Subsidy Scheme
Introduced by the Federal Government on 31st March 2020, known as the ”JobKeeper Payment”, to assist eligible employers and self-employed individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort for them to continue to pay their workers.
WHAT IS IT?
Eligible employers will be able to claim a subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight, per eligible employee, from 30 March 2020 (with payments commencing from the first week of May 2020), for a maximum period of six months.
This subsidy will be paid by the ATO monthly in arrears and will ensure that an eligible employee receives a gross payment (i.e., before tax) of at least $1,500 per fortnight.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THIS?
1. for a business with a turnover of less than $1 billion – its turnover will be reduced by more than 30% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
2. for a business with a turnover of $1 billion or more – its turnover will be reduced by more than 50% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
3. the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.
Self-employed individuals (who employ or do not employ workers) and not-for-profit entities including charities that meet the above criteria.
WHEN CAN THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT BE CLAIMED IN RESPECT OF AN EMPLOYEE
Before an eligible employer can claim the JobKeeper payment in respect of an employee (‘eligible employee’), the employee must satisfy the following requirements:
• The employee is currently employed by the employer (which includes an employee who has been stood down or re-hired after they had already lost their job).
• The employee was employed by the employer as at 1 March 2020.
• The employee is a full-time or part-time employee, or a long-term casual employee who has been employed by the employer on a regular basis for longer than 12 months at 1 March 2020.
• The employee is at least 16 years of age.
• The employee is an Australian citizen, or the holder of a permanent visa, 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.
• The employee is not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.
In summary, eligible employers will receive the JobKeeper Payment for each eligible employee who was on the employer’s books on 1 March 2020 and continues to be engaged by that employer (including full-time, part-time, long-term casuals and stood down employees).
Employees who have multiple employers will need to notify their primary employer to claim the JobKeeper Payment on their behalf, as only one employer will be eligible to receive the payment.
HOW DOES A BUSINESS APPLY?
Employers must register their intent to claim the subsidy via ATO website link: https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/
Eligible employers that apply for the JobKeeper Payment will need to provide supporting information demonstrating a downturn in their business, and must report the number of eligible employees employed by the business on a monthly basis.
Businesses without employees (Includes self-employed individuals, Trusts & Companies) will need to provide an ABN for the business, nominate an individual to receive the JobKeeper payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number, as well as provide a declaration on the recent business activity (to demonstrate the downturn in the business). These businesses will also need to provide a monthly update to the ATO in order to declare their continued eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment
HOW IS THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT APPLIED?
The purpose of the payment is to ensure that eligible employees/sole traders are paid a gross minimum amount of $1,500 per fortnight.
If an employee receives at least $1,500 in gross salary per fortnight, they will continue to receive that amount and the JobKeeper payment effectively subsidises the employees wage in full.
If an employee receivers less than $1,500 in gross salary per fortnight then their employer must still pay them the full $1,500 subsidy amount received under the scheme
If an employee has been stood down, their employee must pay the employee a minimum gross fortnightly salary of $1,500
If an employee was employed on 1 March 2020, has subsequently ceased employment with their employer, and then has been re-engaged by the same employer, the employee will receive a minimum gross fortnightly salary of $1,500
EXAMPLE 1 – Employer affected by Covid-19 with multiple employees
Adam owns a business whose turnover has declined by more than 30% as a result of the downturn due to the Coronavirus. The business had the following three employees as at 1 March 2020:
• Anne, who is a permanent full-time employee and who continues to work in the business earning a gross salary of $3,000 per fortnight.
• Nick, who is a permanent part-time employee and who continues to work in the business earning a gross salary of $1,000 per fortnight.
• Fred, who was recently stood down from the business without pay.
Adam is eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment for each employee of $1,500 per fortnight (before tax), for a maximum period of six months (which would be paid monthly in arrears). The JobKeeper Payment would provide the following benefits for the business and its employees:
(a) The business continues to pay Anne her full-time gross salary of $3,000 per fortnight, as well as superannuation guarantee support on this income. In this case, the $1,500 per fortnight JobKeeper Payment effectively partly subsidises the cost of Anne’s salary.
(b) The business continues to pay Nick his $1,000 gross fortnightly salary and an additional $500 gross amount per fortnight, resulting in a total gross fortnightly salary of $1,500. In this case, the JobKeeper Payment fully subsidises the cost of Nick’s salary. The business must continue to provide Nick with superannuation guarantee support on the $1,000 fortnightly salary amount, but has the option of choosing to pay superannuation on the additional $500 gross amount paid to Nick under the JobKeeper Payment scheme.
(c) The business must start paying Fred a gross salary of $1,500 per fortnight, which is fully subsidised by the JobKeeper Payment. The business has the option of choosing to pay superannuation on this amount paid to Fred under the JobKeeper Payment scheme. If Fred commenced receiving any Centrelink support (e.g., JobSeeker Payment), he will need to advise Centrelink of his JobKeeper
EXAMPLE 2 – Self-employed affected by Covid-19 with no employees
Melissa is a sole trader running a florist without any employees.
The economic downturn due to the Coronavirus has adversely affected Melissa’s business and she expects that her business turnover will fall by more than 30% compared to a typical month one year ago (i.e., in 2019).
On this basis, Melissa will be able to apply for the JobKeeper Payment and would receive $1,500 per fortnight (before tax), which will be paid to her on a monthly basis in arrears.
EXAMPLE 3 – Self-employed affected by Covid-19 with employees
Melissa is a sole trader running a florist with one employee.
The economic downturn due to the Coronavirus has adversely affected Melissa’s business and she expects that her business turnover will fall by more than 30% compared to a typical month one year ago (i.e., in 2019).
On this basis, Melissa will be able to apply for the JobKeeper Payment for herself and her employee and would receive $1,500 per fortnight (before tax) for herself and her employee, which will be paid to her on a monthly basis in arrears.
Please call our office should you have any queries or require assistance.
Further information can also be found at: https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_Info_for_Employers_3.pdf
and to a Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet for further clarification: