Responding to calls from professional bodies to extend the lodgment due date for all 2018-19 tax returns to 30 June 2020, the ATO announced in an open letter that while no such blanket deferral will be granted, it will implement the following measures to reduce the pressure:
- no late lodgment penalties will be imposed for returns lodged by 30 June 2020;
- deferrals for lodgment and payment may still be applied beyond 30 June 2020 on a case-by-case basis; and
- general interest charges will be applicable for debts that are not paid by the due date (5 June), though you may apply for remissions or payment deferral to which the ATO will take a reasonable compliance approach.
JOBKEEPER: record-keeping requirements, monthly declaration & key dates checklist
As JobKeeper payments start to flow in, employers need to keep in mind that compliance with the record-keeping requirements under the scheme is critical.
Key documents include:
- evidence that employer eligibility criteria and the decline in the turnover test were met;
- evidence that employee eligibility criteria were satisfied, and nomination notices have been received for eligible employees;
- notification electing to participate in the scheme;
- evidence that eligible employees have been paid in accordance with JobKeeper obligations; and
- monthly declaration of current and projected GST turnover.
Adequate records must be retained for 5 years after the payment was made. Failure to comply may result in the ATO clawing back any amount received in an audit.
While a general deferral for the lodgment of tax returns is off the table, the ATO has deferred the due date of the monthly declaration for the JobKeeper scheme to the 14th of each month. The extension aims to provide practitioners more time to ensure the decline in GST turnover test is being applied reasonably.
This means the declaration for May is now due by 14 June. However, the ATO has noted the later a business lodges its monthly declaration, the later it will receive the reimbursement for its JobKeeper payments.
The monthly declaration requires businesses to re-evaluate their current and projected GST turnover and confirm their eligible employees. It is not a retest of an entity’s eligibility and is mainly for the purpose of monitoring the state of the economy.
To help you keep up with the ongoing obligations, see a helpful checklist released by the ATO that outlines the relevant key dates.
Certain employee benefits arising from Covid-19 deemed not taxable
Replying to pertinent questions, the ATO advised that two general categories of benefits provided to employees as a result of the impact of Covid-19 will be not taxable.
- Workplace items: Office equipment provided to enable employees to work remotely, such as a laptop, a portable printer, or other electronic devices, will usually be exempt from the Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT). Other goods and services that are provided for work purposes like phone and internet access may also be covered under the minor benefits exemption and the otherwise deductible rule.
- Emergency assistance: FBT will not apply to the expenses incurred to provide immediate relief to an employee who is or is likely to be adversely affected by COVID-19. Examples include food, transport expenses, and immediate accommodation.
The numbers: early release from super
APRA disclosed that that 1.59 million applications had been made under the early release from superannuation scheme by 17 May, with 1.41 million paid at an average of $7,510 each. Payments took an average of 3.3 business days, with 94% paid within five business days. For more details, check here.
Disclaimer: this update is intended as general information only and is not tailored to individual circumstances. Please contact us if you would like specific advice.