Employers’ frequently asked JobKeeper questions

Latest from ATO

Last modified: 29 May 2020

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Question: What’s the difference between JobKeeper and JobSeeker?

Answer: The JobKeeper scheme supports businesses to retain their employees by contributing to their salary and wages and is administered by the ATO. Eligible businesses are required to register with the ATO to receive these payments for their eligible employees.

JobSeeker payments are a form of income support available to eligible individuals and are administered by Services Australia. These payments are paid directly to the individuals and not to their employers.

See also:

Question: I pay my employee $1,400 per fortnight before tax, plus I contribute $133 super per fortnight to meet super guarantee obligations. Does this qualify for the minimum $1,500 payment?

Answer: No. The minimum $1,500 does not include the amount you contribute as super to meet your super guarantee obligations. However, it does include super contributions made under a salary sacrifice arrangement.

Question: Do I need to be registered for GST to qualify for JobKeeper?

Answer: No, you don’t need to be registered for GST, but there are other requirements. See Employers.

Question: I run a business but do not have employees. Am I eligible for JobKeeper payments?

Answer: Yes, you may be eligible for JobKeeper payments where certain conditions are satisfied. See Sole traders and other entities.

Question: Does an employer have to be assessed by the ATO as being eligible before any payments are made?

Answer: Eligibility for JobKeeper payments is a self-assessment process, with the ATO administering the payment. However, if a payment is made and we later determine that the entity was not entitled to that payment (or was entitled to a lesser amount) the entity will be required to repay the overpaid amount.

Question: What if my pay cycles do not correspond with JobKeeper fortnights? Do I have to change my pay cycles?

Answer: You are not required to change your pay cycles to correspond with JobKeeper fortnights. What is important is that you pay your employees at some time during the JobKeeper fortnight.

However, if you usually pay your employees less frequently the payment can be allocated between fortnights in a reasonable manner. For example, if you pay your employees on a monthly cycle, you will still be entitled to receive a JobKeeper payment if your employees received the monthly equivalent of at least $1,500 per fortnight.

If your employee usually earns $1,500 or less each fortnight and continues with their usual pattern of work throughout the month, you need to pay them at least $3,000 on your normal pay day for each month (except August which has three JobKeeper fortnights and requires a payment of $4,500).

However, if your employee earns more than $1,500 each fortnight, an allocation that takes into account the amount of wages or salary that the employee would have been paid under a fortnightly pay cycle would generally be considered reasonable.

Question: Can the ATO provide me a letter for my bank confirming I have enrolled in the JobKeeper Payment scheme?

Answer: The ATO cannot provide a letter saying you have enrolled in the JobKeeper Payment scheme.

Instead you could provide your bank with the following information that was provided during the JobKeeper enrolment process:

  • JobKeeper receipt number
  • your BSB and account number
  • your number of eligible employees.

If you did not retain your JobKeeper receipt number you will need to contact us on 13 28 66 to get it.

Enrolling for JobKeeper

Question: I am a business or not-for-profit. How do I enrol for JobKeeper?

Answer: You can enrol through the Business Portal:

  • Log in to the Business Portal using myGovID.
  • Select Manage employees then the link for the JobKeeper payment.
  • Fill in the JobKeeper enrolment form and provide your    
    • eligibility information
    • expected number of eligible employees
    • contact and bank details.

After you have enrolled in the JobKeeper program, you will need to lodge a business monthly declaration to receive JobKeeper payments.

A business monthly declaration needs be completed for each month, between the 1st and the 14th of following month.

Question: I am sole trader – I own and control the business myself. How do I enrol for JobKeeper?

You can enrol through either the Business Portal or ATO online services. If you are enrolling through ATO online services:

  • log in to ATO online services through myGov
  • enrol and nominate by confirming    
    • your business has experienced a fall in turnover of at least 30%
    • expected number of eligible employees (if you have them)
    • your bank and contact details for payment
    • you are a sole trader nominating as an eligible business participant.

You can also get your tax or BAS agent to enrol for JobKeeper on your behalf.

After you have enrolled in the JobKeeper program, you will need to lodge a business monthly declaration to receive JobKeeper payments.

Question: Do I need a myGovID for JobKeeper?

Answer: If you are enrolling for JobKeeper on the Business Portal, you will need a myGovID. myGovID is an app you download to your smart device that lets you prove who you are online.

If you have not set this up previously, you will need to download myGovID and set it up. Your myGovID is unique to you and cannot be shared. Once you have set up your myGovID you’ll then need to link it to an Australian Business Number (ABN) in Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM). This allows you to act on behalf of a business online.

See also:

Employee nomination notice

Question: Why do I need to get my employees to fill out the JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice?

Answer: An employee can only nominate one employer for JobKeeper. The employee must agree to be nominated by you for JobKeeper. If the employee does not complete the nomination notice, you can’t claim JobKeeper for them.

Question: Will the ATO accept a digital self-generated employee nomination notice?

Answer: For practical reasons, an employer may choose to create their own digital employee nomination notice, but it must include key information. See Creating your own employee nomination notice.

Your employee’s signature is not required by the ATO, but can be requested by you. Employees can submit their nomination notice to their employer through their internal business process (for example, a business’s HR portal) or their own form of communication channel (for example, an email).

Question: I haven’t received all of the nomination forms back from my employees. Can I still complete step 2 ‘Identify and maintain your eligible employees’ now for the ones I have received?

Answer: Yes, you can. You can either:

  • choose to complete step 2 listing the eligible employees you have received forms from now
  • wait until you have received all the forms back.

If you lodge now, you can add further eligible employees later by contacting us. You should still encourage your employees to return their nomination forms to you as soon as possible.


Question: Can businesses qualify for JobKeeper payments after April, for example, if my business experiences a downturn in the future?

Answer: Yes. If you do not satisfy the turnover test for the current month or quarter, you can still assess your eligibility at a later date. To qualify later, the turnover month can be May, June, July, August or September 2020, provided the fortnight you are qualifying for has ended that month or an earlier month. If the turnover for a quarter is being used, it can be the quarter:

  • from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020
  • from 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020, but only if first seeking to qualify for fortnights ending in July 2020 or later.

Once you satisfy the decline in turnover test, you do not need to retest again.

Question: Do I have to show that it is COVID-19 that caused the decline in the turnover of my business?

Answer: No. It does not matter whether it is COVID-19 or the subsequent effect on the economy that has caused the drop in turnover, provided the turnover has fallen by the required percentage and you satisfy the other eligibility criteria.

Question: My business suffered a steep decline in turnover in March, but I’ve changed to a new business model and I may build the business up again soon. Does this mean I lose JobKeeper?

Answer: No. You only need to satisfy the decline in turnover test once to be entitled to JobKeeper. For example, satisfying it for March 2020 (compared in March 2019) is sufficient, even if your business recovers to previous levels after this.

There are ongoing reporting obligations for current and projected GST turnover, but even where these show a recovery of turnover they don’t affect eligibility.

Question: What happens if my predicted fall in turnover happens to be incorrect, so that the fall ends up being less than the 30% or 50%?

Answer: This does not necessarily mean you are ineligible for JobKeeper.

Your projected GST turnover is a point-in-time test and needs to be a reasonable assessment of what was likely at the time you calculated the test. If, at a later stage, it eventuates that your actual turnover for your test period is greater than your prediction of your projected turnover, you do not lose access to JobKeeper. We will accept your assessment of these turnovers unless we have reason to believe that your calculation of your projected GST turnover was not reasonable.

If there is a significant difference between your projected turnover and what eventuates, we may need to assess whether your assessment was reasonable, so you need to keep good records of your calculations.

Integrity rules are in place to deny or reduce an entitlement to JobKeeper payments if schemes are contrived to ensure payment conditions are satisfied, such as temporarily reducing or deferring turnover. Exceeding your turnover predictions by itself does not trigger these integrity rules.

Our compliance focus will be particularly directed toward schemes where there has not been a genuine fall in turnover in substance, but arrangements are contrived to ensure the turnover test is satisfied.

Question: Do I need to report my April current GST turnover and May projected GST turnover to the ATO by the 7 May 2020 due date?

Answer: No, for April the ATO has extended the due date for entities reporting April current GST turnover and May projected GST turnover to 31 May 2020.

The approved form that entities use to report their monthly GST turnover for April is also used to identify confirm your eligible employees, religious practitioners and/or a business participant each month. This confirmation will need to be made for the ATO to be satisfied that the entity is entitled to a JobKeeper payment. This means that if you choose to report your April GST turnover amounts later than 7 May 2020, your JobKeeper payment will also be delayed

Question: For reporting months other than April, do I need to report my current and projected GST turnover to the ATO by the 7th day of the following month?

Answer: Yes. The extended due date only applies to your monthly reporting requirement for April. The sooner you make your Monthly Business Declaration, the sooner you will receive your JobKeeper Payment.

Question: How do I calculate my monthly GST turnover amounts for reporting purposes?

Answer: You should use the same method for calculating current and projected GST turnover that you used to determine your decline in turnover for eligibility purposes. That is, GST turnover with the modifications prescribed in the JobKeeper rules.

Question: What is the consequence if I get my calculation of my current GST turnover amount wrong?

Answer: We understand that the timeframe prescribed for calculating monthly GST turnover is significantly shorter than an entity would ordinarily have for GST reporting purposes and that the calculation method prescribed in the JobKeeper rules is also different.

Entities should make a genuine effort to calculate and report current and projected GST turnover. If you later identify errors in the calculation, you will not be required to re-report to the ATO.

Question: What records do I need to keep to show how I calculated my GST turnover for the 2020 turnover test period?

Answer: You will need to keep evidence and sufficient records to demonstrate how you calculated your projected GST turnover during the 2020 turnover test period and show how you took reasonable steps.

Your projected GST turnover during the 2020 turnover test period is the sum of the value (GST exclusive sale price) of all the sales you have made, or are likely to make during that period.

For the purpose of determining sales likely to be made, we will accept a calculation based on a bona fide business plan, accounting budget or some other reasonable estimate based on the evidence about the projected facts and circumstances for the remainder of the turnover test period.

Relevant evidence that would support a prediction of sales likely to be made may include:

  • a decline in sales during the turnover test period or since 1 March 2020 as a result of government COVID-19 restrictions
  • customers cancelling or modifying existing contracts for sales on or from 1 March 2020
  • being required to close or pausing the business due to government COVID-19 restrictions
  • delays in being able to get access to trading stock sourced from overseas on or from 1 March 2020
  • evidence of your business’s reliance on tourism
  • any consequential effect on the price of what you supply, for example, the effect on the market value of new property being sold by a developer
  • information known to the business, whether or not publicly available
  • economic forecasts undertaken by a reputable organisation that are relevant to your type of business
  • the likely timing of government COVID-19 restrictions being lifted for your type of business based on government announcements.

You should also keep records of any actual sales that you use in your calculations for the 2020 turnover test period.

Question: I am an approved child care provider. Do I include the Early Childhood Education & Care Relief Package (ECEC Relief Package) payments that I received from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment in calculating my GST turnover?

Answer: No, the ECEC Relief Package payments made to you as an approved child care provider are not included. These payments are not for a supply that you make, so they are not included in your GST turnover.

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