Last week (22 July) the Morrison government announced that JobKeeper and JobSeeker are being extended past the current cut-off of at the end of September. But there are changes to eligibility and the amounts being paid.
We’ve waited a week to produce this update to check some details with the ATO. Be aware that the legislation for the extension has not passed Parliament, so our summary below is the best information available at the moment.
Current JobKeeper – No changes. Everything is the same until 27 Sept 2020. See here.
Summary: JobKeeper extension (after 28 Sept 2020)
Employees and self-employed people are still both eligible as per current rules.
Payments are reduced (and will be smaller still if you worked fewer than 20 hours a week in February 2020—see note below):
$1,200 a fortnight for October, November, December 2020 (28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021). But
$750 a fortnight if you/your employees worked fewer than 20 hours a week in February 2020.
$1,000 a fortnight for January, February, March 2021 (4 Jan 2021 to 28 March 2021). But
$650 a fortnight if you/your employees worked fewer than 20 hours a week in February 2020.
Payments continue to be made in arrears.
Turnover requirements change
Projected turnover is out. Actual turnover will be used.
For small businesses your turnover must still be down 30%+, but this must be down
in both the June & September 2020 quarters for the $1,200 ($750) payment;
in the June & September & December 2020 quarters for the $1,000 ($650) payment.
If you are not currently on JobKeeper, you can still apply if your turnover then drops during the extension period.
This is assessed on your BAS return for actual declared GST turnover.
You do not include any JobKeeper receipts in your turnover because JobKeeper doesn’t have GST. (We have checked with the ATO on this.)
Generally, you compare your 2020 quarterly turnover with your 2019 same quarter turnover (eg: September quarter 2020 to September quarter 2019 and so on).
Whether you have worked 20 hours more/less each week is based on the work you did in February 2020. That is, if you worked more than 20 hours a week in each week of February 2020, you will need to prove that to the ATO.
Based on our long experience with the ATO we expect that the audit division of the ATO will conduct aggressive audits of this. We cannot find any information on what hourly work records the ATO expects of you, particularly as a self-employed person. We strongly urge that if you intend to claim the higher amount (+20 hours) that you go back to your work records first and check that you have significant proof of hours worked. This should include invoices to clients and so on.
Higher Covid-19 payments for unemployment (JobSeeker) and other social security have been extended to the end of December 2020, but the amounts drop.
On top of the $565.70 per fortnight you receive
Plus $550 per fortnight to 24 September 2020 (current) but this drops to
Plus $250 per fortnight from 25 September 2020 to the end of December 2020.
Government source documents
Check the government’s fact sheets for full information: