JobKeeper Payment Update: Alternatives to the turnover test

Clear, simple, easy to apply rules are great, lawyers love them, but we are always on the lookout for cases where a clear and simple rule that works well usually, works poorly in unusual situations. That was the case with the turnover test for eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment.

The good news is that the anticipated amendments to the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020 (Cth) (“Rules”) (which were noted in our earlier article), and rulings issued by the ATO (available here and here), have cleared up some instances where the turnover test might have been unfair.

Instances in which an alternative test might apply include:

  • Corporate Groups: it is common that among a group of companies only a single company engages any employees and has labour hire agreements with other members of the group. This structure would have the effect of the employer company suffering no downturn in revenue while the commercial reality for the group is that revenues have been severely impacted by the crisis. Subject to certain conditions the employment company may now be able to consider the turnover of the group rather than only the employer company pursuant to the ‘Modified Test’ for decline in turnover in the Rules;
  • Recently commenced businesses which do not have a long enough trading history for an appropriate comparison period to exist;
  • Businesses which have had a major disposal or acquisition in the last year;
  • Businesses who have conducted a restructure in the past year;
  • Businesses which have recently been impacted by natural disaster or drought;
  • Businesses with irregular turnover; and
  • Businesses run by a sole trader who has been impacted by sickness, injury or leave.

If you were not eligible under the original turnover test (explained here) and one of the alternative tests might apply to you, you should consider the guidance provided by the ATO or consult with your accountant. Alternatively, do not hesitate to contact Gavin Parsons and Associates direct by email gavin@gpalaw.com.au or phone on 02 9262 4471 if you require any assistance in assessing your eligibility.

Conclusion

We hope this overview has provided some useful guidance during these difficult times. However, please remember that businesses should always seek independent and specific legal and accounting advice.

In addition to the above, Gavin Parsons and Associates can assist you with any questions you may have regarding your business or that of your clients. Contact Gavin Parsons and Associates on (02) 9262 4471 for a free no-obligation consultation today.

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Date posted: 2020-05-08