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The last few months have been an intense period of survival for many business owners, and it’s not over yet. This next phase will be one of inevitable scrutiny, particularly around JobKeeper entitlements. Here’s what you need to know.


Errors in JobKeeper

There are a number of errors which can result in wrongfully claiming JobKeeper payments. These include:

  • Claiming JobKeeper for an employee who was not your employee on 1 March 2020.  (It’s okay if they were, but were subsequently terminated or left, and you then rehired them)
  • Not documenting support for your prediction of a 30%+ decline in turnover for your chosen period (eg, comparing your prediction for the month of April 2020 to actual turnover for the month of April 2019).  Or the support documented is not credible
  • Mis-applying the alternative decline in turnover tests for businesses that don’t have a comparable period in last year (eg, recently commenced or purchased business, businesses with volatile turnover)
  • Claiming for an employee who has not returned their nomination form to you.

For the above, if you made the error, you’re not entitled to JobKeeper.

  • Not paying the minimum $1,500 (before withholding tax) per fortnight to eligible employees.

If this last point applies to you, the ATO can allow you to make catch-up payments, but it’s intended for genuinely accidental underpayments.


What if your turnover wasn’t down by 30% or more?

When it comes to the 30% or more decline in turnover, if your prediction for the relevant time period was reasonable and supported, the test was passed. If the decline actually ended up being only 27%, it’s unlikely that the ATO will conduct a review.

However, if the actual decline in turnover was only 15%, there’s a good chance the ATO will conduct a review of how you came to your prediction, and will be looking into why it was so inaccurate.


If you’ve been receiving JobKeeper payments, but you’ve discovered you’re not entitled

You can voluntarily withdraw from the JobKeeper program at any time and repay JobKeeper amounts to which you were not entitled. We strongly recommend that if you find yourself in this situation, and do not genuinely qualify for JobKeeper payments, you should repay these amounts immediately. You’ll receive an interest bill, but there will probably be no further consequences. On the other hand, if you keep going, there is a high risk of getting caught, and the consequences can be very severe, including up to 10 years in prison.


Next Steps

If you’re uncertain on whether you should have received JobKeeper entitlements, talk to your trusted team at Greenhalgh Pickard today.

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