Your top JobKeeper and STP queries answered

With so much information on offer, it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to accessing government support. To cut through the confusion, we’ve rounded up some of the most common JobKeeper and STP questions.

  1. How do I ensure my business qualifies for JobKeeper as quickly as possible?
    Unless your turnover exceeds $1 billion per year, you’ll need to document a 30 per cent revenue drop. You’ll also need to share payroll details of eligible employees, information that should already be with the ATO via STP.
  2. What role does STP play?
    The ATO will use the information captured by STP to determine eligibility for JobKeeper as well as for any future stimulus. If your business is STP compliant, then it will pre-populate employees that may be eligible within your accounting software and send that information to the ATO. Alternatively, if your business isn’t registered, you’ll need to manually enter the details of each employee through the ATO’s online services or business portal.
  3. What if I’m self-employed or a sole trader?
    JobKeeper is available to sole traders who have experienced the requisite downturn, have had an ABN since 12 March and are up to date with tax lodgements. If you’re self-employed, you’re also eligible.
  4. How does my business’s GST turnover affect my eligibility? Businesses with a turnover of less than $1 billion will need to prove a loss of 30 per cent or more of their revenue in relation to a comparable period last year. Businesses with a turnover of over $1 billion need to have experienced at least a 50 per cent reduction.
  5. What about the number of staff I have?
    As long as your business can prove the requisite loss in revenue and your employees are eligible, staff numbers don’t matter.
  6. How do I know if my employees are eligible?
    JobKeeper is available to full-time and part-time workers as of 1 March, and casuals who have been on the books for more than 12 months from the start of March. They also need to be at least 16 years of age and an Australian resident (including New Zealanders on the 444 visa).
  7. How much will my employees be paid? What if it doesn’t match their usual salary?
    The ATO will reimburse $1500 a fortnight for every eligible worker, which the employer must pass directly to the employee. If your employee normally receives less than $1500 a fortnight in wages, you’ll pay them the full $1500 you receive, minus PAYG withholding. If the employee normally receives more than $1500 a fortnight, you’ll continue paying their normal wages and be subsidised by $1500.
  8. Do I need to put all of my employees on JobKeeper?
    If one eligible employee is put on JobKeeper, you must include all of them.
  9. What financial support is available?
    To simplify applying for finance ahead of JobKeeper becoming available, ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac have launched support hotlines.
  10. What happens if I terminated or stood an employee down?
    If you stood any staff down after 1 March, you can reinstate them and pay them the $1500 JobKeeper subsidy. If you terminated an employee after 1 March 2020, you can also re-engage them and they’ll be eligible if they met the criteria as of 1 March 2020. You will only be paid a JobKeeper payment for employees from the eligible fortnight they were re-engaged, starting March 30.
  11. How does the payment process work?
    The first step is to register for JobKeeper and nominate your eligible employees and process their payroll through STP.

From 4 May, you’ll be asked to log in to the ATO Business Portal and confirm your details. The ATO will then make payment two to three business days later – this process is repeated each month. Find out more here.

At Xero, we’ve enhanced our Payroll feature to make processing JobKeeper payments as simple as possible – so businesses can spend less time hunting for information.

If you still have questions you can find more information on the ATO JobKeeper page here or reach out to your accountant or bookkeeper.

Angus Capel, Small Business Advocate, Xero 

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