We must note that while these announcements give us more guidance in relation to the JobKeeper 2.0 rules (beyond 28 September 2020), further guidance from the ATO is still expected to be released shortly.
Most importantly, we must wait to see some detailed guidance as to how the ATO will allow for alternative reference periods to be used for:
- the "decline in turnover test" (where there may be no comparative information available for the September or December 2019 quarters); and
- the "number of hours worked test" for determining which of the two-tier payment rates should apply to each eligible employee (where the two reference periods can not give an accurate figure for the number of hours worked, caused by circumstances out of the employee or business's control).
Clarification on calculating "actual GST turnover" for the new actual "decline in turnover test"
As the new actual "decline in turnover test" is based on the actual decline in GST turnover, rather than projected GST turnover, the ATO has been given a more specific power to ensure that the legislation can deliver the intended policy outcomes.
The ATO Commissioner may now determine that certain supplies (ie. transactions) are to be treated as being wholly (or partly) made at a particular time for the purposes of the actual decline in GST turnover test.
Currently, GST turnover is determined based on when supplies are made, not the period to which any tax payable on the supplies is attributable. However, the GST return usually contained in Business Activity Statements (BAS) requires reporting of supplies on the basis of attribution.
While this distinction often does not matter over the medium term, in the context of quarterly testing of current GST turnover, it could increase compliance costs for some taxpayers.
We understand that the ATO will accept that most (or all) supplies will be treated as being made at a time during the period to which they are attributable for GST reporting purposes, and this will align the turnover information reported by entities to the ATO in GST returns with how current GST turnover is calculated for the purposes of the new actual "decline in turnover test".