ATO COVID-19 Stimulus Extensions Announced

In BICSI Blog, BICSI Bytes, Featured, Newsby info@bicsi.com.au

BICSI South Pacific recently received an excellent summary of the Australian Tax Office’s initiatives around COVID-19 from its accountants – Mazars – and obtained permission to share this helpful information with members.

Businesses and individuals are really feeling the challenges as a result of COVID-19 so it will be a relief to some with the extensions that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has released around the JobKeeper stimulus and ATO lodgement deadlines.

Income Tax Lodgement And Payment Extensions

The ATO has extended lodgement deadlines for 2019 Income Tax Returns that are due on 15 May 2020, to 5 June 2020. The extension also applies to company tax payments which means businesses now have until 5 June to make payment of any income tax liability.

JobKeeper Stimulus Extensions

The ATO announced that the enrolment deadline for the month of April 2020 JobKeeper Stimulus has been extended from 30 April to 31 May 2020, as well as extending the time in which employers need to pay employees for JobKeeper fortnights 1 and 2 until 8 May 2020. Employers have also been provided with an extension for obtaining the Employee Nomination Form from eligible employees from 30 April 2020 until the date of the lodgement of their enrolment.

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 covering 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.

Next Steps

If you foresee financial difficulty in your business with making JobKeeper payments, it’s best to act early and contact your bank as well. The ‘Big 4’ banks have established dedicated Hotlines for employers to call in relation to accessing bridging finance while the impact of COVID-19 is prolonged:

Although the JobKeeper enrolment deadline has been extended, we strongly recommend that you register as soon as possible to assist with your business’ cashflow.

Further COVID-19 financial insights

Mazars has published several helpful articles on dealing with the financial impacts of COVID-19, including the recorded ‘COVID-19 Business Resilience’ webinar at https://webcast.gigtv.com.au/Mediasite/Play/5f88f54d811240638c3296b963d1f5371d, and helpful articles such as ‘Working From Home For Employees – A New Reality, With Tax Benefits’, ‘JobKeeper Wage Subsidy – How You Can Use The Subsidy To Engage Your Employees And Build Your Business’, ‘JobKeeper Stimulus Package – What, Why, Who And When’ and ‘How COVID-19 Is Impacting Insurance Policies – What You Need To Know‘. To view these and more informative articles, go to https://www.mazars.com.au/Home/News/COVID-19-Resources-we-re-here-to-help.