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Tax Commissioner reveals JobKeeper extension rules

The Commissioner of Taxation’s rules around the JobKeeper extension have now been registered, shedding light on the calculation of the actual decline in GST turnover test.

Tax&Compliance Jotham Lian 16 September 2020
— 1 minute read

17 September update: ATO web guidance has now been published.

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Commissioner Chris Jordan has now registered three legislative instruments pertaining to the method of determining when a supply is made to calculate actual GST turnover; the alternative reference period to determine whether an individual has worked more or less than 80 hours; and when the higher JobKeeper rate will apply to individuals whose work hours are not readily ascertainable.

The new determinations follow after the Treasurer registered the rules governing the extension of the wage subsidy to 28 March 2021 on Tuesday.

Decline in turnover test

According to the new determination, the calculation of current GST turnover will align with how entities would attribute GST payable on supplies to a tax period under the GST Act.

“Importantly, it aligns with how businesses are required to allocate their supplies to a reporting period when completing their GST return (business activity statement),” the explanatory statement said.

The rules also set out the basis of accounting — either a cash basis or a non-cash basis — that an entity is required to use, depending on its circumstances.

Alternative reference period

The commissioner’s determination also covers the new requirement to test the number of hours worked by an employee in the 28-day period before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020 to determine if the higher of lower JobKeeper rate applies.

The new determination details a number of scenarios where the standard reference period might not be suitable, including where an employee’s number of work hours in that standard reference period was not representative of a typical 28-day period.

A range of alternative reference periods that cover the different scenarios is included under the commissioner’s determination.

Determining the higher or lower rate

The final determination covers three specific circumstances where the higher JobKeeper rate is taken to apply, particularly where an employee’s hours are not readily ascertainable.

ATO web guidance has now been updated. View a timeline of content updates here.

View the determination on the decline in turnover test here.

View the determination on the alternative reference period here.

View the determination on when the higher rate will apply here.

Tax Commissioner reveals JobKeeper extension rules
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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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