Posts Categorized: Employment matters

JobKeeper money flowing!

Today we have the distraction of ATO systems crashing and not being able to complete the JobKeeper enrolment process.  That said, we are however pleased to report that some of our clients have today received the JobKeeper payments for the first two fortnights.

Being a reimbursement process, many businesses will be using that to fund the balance of the JobKeeper fortnight ending Sunday, particularly those that have casuals earning less than $1,500pf. 

And whilst on the matter of Sunday, please ensure you have topped up employees’ pays where their gross is under $1,500.  Our clients will know this given the educational program we have delivered.  If we are not your accountant, then we suggest it is time you were.  

 

JobKeeper payment bridging finance

There are a number of oddities about the JobKeeper system.  Whilst  designed to support businesses in stress retain their employees, it is a reimbursement system – it requires the employer to pay the employee first and then receive a reimbursement in the following month.

It particularly tough on those with a casual workforce where the average pay is under $1,500 per month.  For a casual earning say $600pf, an employer must top it by $900 to $1,500 in order to qualify for a reimbursement.  That is a very significant cash hit for a business that is already stressed!  No wonder why so many businesses who registered interest haven’t enrolled into the system.

Following a fair amount of political pressure, the four major banks have been requested to provide bridging finance.  They will not be giving money away; they will be assessing applications with a short term focus and presumably with some level of security.

As a side point, I have yet to hear of any business yet take out one of the government backed loans.

The four major banks (as well as the next tier of Westpac subsidiaries ) have set up dedicated JobKeeper support hotlines. 

They can be contacted on the following numbers:-

  • CBA: 13 26 07

  • ANZ: 1800 571 123

  • NAB: 1800 JOBKEEPER

  • Westpac: 1300 731 073 and Westpac’s subsidiaries;
     – St George: 1300 730 196
     – Bank of Melbourne: 1300 784 873
     – Bank SA: 1300 669 472

They will of course not consider a bridging application without:-

  • Confirmation of JobKeeper entitlement, and

  • At a minimum a detailed cash flow projection, but also expect to be asked for forecast Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet.  That said, a business receiving JobKeeper will have to provide the ATO with projected turnover by the 7th day of every month.

 

JobKeeper tasks

So past, current and future JobKeeper tasks can be summarised as follows:-

  • Determined your turnover in accordance with the modified GST turnover definition.

  • Assessed yourself against any 9 of the testing periods (or 18 depending on accounting and GST recognition methods).

  • Assessed against alternative tests when a new business or abnormal period(s).

  • If you don’t qualify now based off months, monitor when you may apply.

  • Prepared a full and proper forecast where claiming for June quarter.

  • Determined eligible employees.

  • Determined eligible business participant.

  • Enrolled for JobKeeper.

  • Pay each eligible employee $1,500 within each JobKeeper fortnight.  There is an extension to 30th April for the two fortnights ending 27th April.

  • Notify each employee that they will receive JobKeeper.

  • Amend your payroll system.

  • Consider changing your payroll periods.

  • Continue to report required information to the ATO.

If I can leave you three thoughts they would be:-

  1. Don’t proceed unless you are 100% certain as to what you are doing, AND

  2. This has been formulated and introduced in a hurry so be up to date with all the changes and clarifications, AND

  3. To quote Donald Rumsfeld, be very mindful that there may be unknown unknowns.

 

JobKeeper Business Participant Nomination form

The problem with the first stimulus package with its pay-as-you-go withholding relief (Cash Flow Boost) was that it excluded more than 75% of businesses in Australia.

This problem has been overcome with JobKeeper as it applies to not only employees, but business owners as well.  JobKeeper allows a business participant, being either:-

  • a sole trader

  • a partner in a partnership

  • a beneficiary of trust, or

  • a director of the company

to be able to apply for the JobKeeper as well (subject to additional tests)

The form can be accessed or from the following link:-

https://tinyurl.com/yaa2jzbn

You will note however that the form cannot be used by sole traders – sole traders have to register separately as per the shaded box in the top left-hand corner of the form.

We do not recommend filling this form or completing the enrolment process yourself without speaking to your accountant first as there are a number of traps and considerations which are not readily apparent.  You also need to be aware that the whole regime is very fluid and far from finalised with some of the information from both the Tax Office and respected sources being incorrect or in dispute.

And please remember enrolments close on Sunday for the first two JobKeeper fortnight payments.

 

JobKeeper Alternative Test

So we FINALLY have the JobKeeper Alternative Test!

About time!  So many people who hanging in day by day so it’s quite unbelievable that it gets released only on the morning of Thursday 23rd April.

Finally new fledgling business can ascertain whether they will receive JobKeeper (either for employees or themselves as a business participant).  Or not; in which case many can finally decide whether they should hibernate, contract or close down.

So finally in the short time left before the registration test can we have a full and proper discussion and analysis of clients with new businesses.

If you want to read it, here it is:-

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2020L00461

 

 

JobKeeper Employee Nomination form

This is the form to be completed by all employees:-

https://tinyurl.com/yd34rxkq

If you are enrolling yourself for JobKeeper:-

  • Please be aware that the ATO page has been crashing.

  • The ATO has yet to make provision for anyone wanting to apply on the basis of projected turnover for the June quarter (which is important for those who won’t qualify on the basis of the actual turnover for March or the projected turnover for April).

  • Make sure you understand the definition of turnover is a modified version of GST turnover.

  • That the ATO are yet to definitively clarify whether turnover should be measure don a cash or accrual basis.

  • New qualifying conditions have been “added today” to business participants that have NOT part of any discussion from some of the most reputable accounting sources in the country.  

Whist this has been released in a rush and there are understandably teething problems, be very careful of making a mistake due to incorrect or outdated information.


Please return to our website for what we believe will be imminent release of the business participant enrolment form – they have to release it soon as business owners need to sign by Sunday!

JobKeeper registrations only open today

There is much to absorb and action.  Moreover, JobKeeper registrations only open today. 

If you are not registered by Sunday 26th, then you won’t be entitled to receive any JobKeeper payment for the first two JobKeeper fortnights.

There are no retrospective payments.

Yes registrations opened today.  Registered already you say?  No you haven’t – you have merely expressed interest. 

To register you need to do so:-

  • Through your business portal.

  • Through your accountant’s business portal.

  • Manually for employers not reporting through STP (not recommended).

Want to know more – then enrol for our webinar today at 4pm

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KgK3mKcUQHunYb2PW7hwjA

 

JobKeeper – can I claim and how do I claim?

Whilst many businesses cannot claim the PAYG withholding (wages tax) Cash Flow Boost, many more businesses will be able to claim JobKeeper.

Under this stimuli, the government will pay to each qualifying business a flat $1,500 per employee per fortnight.  I say business as the scheme is also open to non-employers such as sole traders, partner of a partnership, a beneficiary of trust and one director of a company.

Even the first JobKeeper payment fortnight has already passed, the registration process will start next week.  The window for that is effectively open for a very short period of time.  Don’t register – no soup for you!

On Monday, will run a webinar in which you will learn:-

  • Whether you are eligible

  • The concept and importance of registering your interest

  • The difference between registering your interest and subsequent application

  • How to register

  • Why you should register even if you believe you may not benefit

  • How to report and claim every fortnight

  • Understand the cash flow shortfall that you will encounter

  • Your ongoing obligations

  • The records you need to keep

  • What happens if you get it wrong

 LEARNING OBJECTIVE – by attending this webinar you will:-

  • Have an understanding of how the system will operate

  • Understand the buzz words and concepts

  • Be able to decide whether yourself, ourselves or recommended bookkeeper will handle both the registration and / or on-going process

  • Any new developments – as this system is far from finalised

  • And as part of this, we will show you the control sheet we have set up to guide you through the process

Effectively we are giving all of this to you on a plate as this has all been built, collated, summarised and systematised on the back of hours attending technical webinars and reading the mountainous pile you can see in the photo below.

Please click on the following link to register for the webinar at 4pm on Monday 20th April:-

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KgK3mKcUQHunYb2PW7hwjA

 

Another webinar will be run if there is sufficient overflow.  If you can’t attend Monday’s webinar then please action the following matter.

IMPORTANT – you need to register your interest with the ATO IMMEDIATELY if you have not done so already.  This interest notification merely advises the ATO that you intend to claim; it is not in itself registration.  To register your interest, please refer to our blog at:- 

https://www.mrsaccountants.com.au/category/covid-19-strategies/

or 

https://www.mrsaccountants.com.au/register-for-1/

We remind you to keep referring to our web page for important daily blogs, tips and strategies.

 

 

 

 

Register for #2

VECCI (Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) is looking to do more to support businesses in Victoria.

So much so that they are offering free membership for the next year.

VECCI is a terrific resource in opening doors to those who are importing and exporting.  But every business can benefit as they offer:-

  • Two free employment and HR support calls.

  • Free attendance at 4 networking events

  • $700 training credit

  • Amongst many other benefits

Why not give them a go – you have nothing to lose and those HR support services may prove invaluable.

You can register at:-

https://join.victorianchamber.com.au/memberships-gs/?utm_source=GSN&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=VCCgenericChamber&utm_term=bmm&utm_content=chamberofcommerce&gclid=CjwKCAjw95D0BRBFEiwAcO1KDDxcosGj6vj3D2XUgDXx1F26kZuySY1Frd8gLLaFEan1oAQrTqFnMBoCn-IQAvD_BwE&fbclid=IwAR2bippWddCMXCyZzwJa-9M0tPXYbNW-D7Mexrwyxn-wtiTG-ktv7v6ka_I

Standing down and retrenching employees

Businesses find themselves in desperate times.  Most businesses are cutting costs in order to survive.  And many businesses are laying off workers due to dramatically lower sales.  Even so, there is a right way and a wrong way in standing down and retrenching employees.

Fairwork Australia has a useful article which you can access from the following link.

https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/?utm_content=123884798&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-425561567#stand-down

You should only be standing down and retrenching employees after ensuring that you have complied with FairWork rules and employment agreements. 

Moreover, we recommend engaging an HR specialist to guide you through this process.

And before standing down and retrenching employees, check to see whether you don’t have to.  It just might be that JobKeeper (assuming you qualify) helps you retain those employees.  You will almost certainly need them when times improve. 

So please factor in these considerations should you be considering standing down and retrenching employees .