If you’re one of the 800,000 Australian businesses interested in JobKeeper, be aware the window to enroll for the subsidy payments from end-March has been extended. You now have an extra month, as the ATO has set a deadline of 31 May. We’ve built new tools in Xero that make it simple for you to check your eligibility for relief, pay employees a wage subsidy, and file required reports to the tax office.
Our developers have worked around the clock for the past weeks to build these tools in close consultation with the ATO. The features are designed to streamline the process of applying for and processing government relief. It’s just the start of our efforts at Xero to make accessing government help easier, so stay tuned for further updates.
Here’s a brief overview of the steps to take, from getting started to processing JobKeeper payments to your employees.
1. Check whether your business is eligible with our turnover calculator
A key criteria for eligibility is showing that your business’s turnover has dropped by 30%, though there are exceptions. We’ve created a calculator in Xero that easily determines how much your revenue has changed over a set period of time.
2. Ensure you’ve set up STP and enrol your business with the ATO
Single Touch Payroll is the simplest route to receiving a JobKeeper subsidy as you’ll be able to easily report each pay run to the ATO. If you’re not on STP, getting started is simple. Once you’re set up, head over to the ATO website to register your business for JobKeeper.
3. Enroll employees who may be eligible for JobKeeper payments
Xero Payroll will compare the government’s eligibility criteria and data in Xero to suggest a list of employees who are likely to be eligible. To enroll them, head here and simply click “Start JobKeeper.” Select the fortnight in which you want each employee’s JobKeeper payment to start. While you have until 31 May to enroll, the ATO encourages you to do so by the end of April to ensure you receive your JobKeeper payments as soon as possible. Note the tax office plans to pay employers one month in arrears.
4. Report JobKeeper payments you’ve made to employees
We’ve added a new pay item, “JobKeeper Payment top up,” so that you can accurately report these payments to the ATO. You just need to add the item to your employee’s payslip. Note that businesses can now process payroll after 30 April and still receive a subsidy. Per the ATO: “For the first two fortnights (30 March – 12 April, 13 April – 26 April), we will accept the minimum $1,500 payment for each fortnight has been paid by you even if it has been paid late, provided it is paid by 8 May 2020.” The ATO also requires that you report details on your revenue and staff numbers each month, which Xero will help you do. You can learn more about processing payments here.
This is a brief overview, and we recommend getting in touch with your accountant, bookkeeper or other trusted advisor for detailed advice on the JobKeeper program. If you don’t have an advisor, be sure to visit the Xero directory to find one near you.