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ATO extends JobKeeper monthly declaration deadline

ATO
Jotham Lian
22 May 2020 — 2 minute read

Tax practitioners will now have an additional seven days to make the JobKeeper business monthly declaration on behalf of their clients, but they will face a catch-22 scenario with delayed reimbursement payments.

The Commissioner of Taxation has now granted a deferral of the due date for the JobKeeper scheme monthly declaration to the 14th of each month, commencing from June.

As such, the business monthly declaration for reimbursement of JobKeeper payments for the month of May will now need to be completed by 14 June.

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The extension builds on the JobKeeper legislative rules, which stipulated that the monthly declaration needed to be lodged within seven days of the end of the previous month.

The extended deadline was meant to give practitioners more time to ensure clients’ current and projected GST turnover figures were reasonable, but the ATO has noted that the later the monthly declaration is lodged, the later businesses will be reimbursed for its JobKeeper payments.

The Institute of Public Accountants’ Tony Greco said that while the deferred deadline was welcome news for time-strapped practitioners, the pressure from clients to get reimbursements in as soon as possible would be tricky to manage.

“Practitioners will be caught between a rock and a hard place because that process then slows down and it’ll have an impact on the reimbursement, but at least it gives practitioners a bit more wiggle room to ascertain whether the turnover figures are reasonable,” Mr Greco told Accountants Daily.

“It is another example of where things were rushed with no consultation; seven days is a pretty demanding timeline for putting those actual and forecast turnover figures.

“The ATO was saying [the monthly declaration] is just to see how we are tracking and it is more for statistical reasons and they’re not going to hold you to it, but then the Tax Practitioners Board came out and said you can’t just put numbers in there without making sure they are reasonable, so we had a little bit of a stoush between the two regulators.

“By pushing it to 14 days, it gives the practitioner a bit more time to assess the figures because there needs to be some effort into putting the forecast figures for the month ahead, and even for large organisations, that can be quite problematic in this environment.”

The monthly declaration is not a retest of an entity’s eligibility, but it requires businesses to calculate their current and projected GST turnover, and confirm their eligible employees, particularly where staff change or leave their employment.

The TPB has recently released a fact sheet detailing the need for practitioners to take reasonable care in ascertaining a client’s state of affairs, to the extent that ascertaining the state of those affairs is relevant to a statement agents are making or a thing agents are doing on behalf of a client.

The regulator has also advised practitioners that they are obliged to receive a signed client declaration stating that the agent has been authorised to lodge the JobKeeper monthly declaration, and that the information provided is true and correct.

According to the TPB, the client declaration must be obtained each time an agent lodges the monthly business declaration on behalf of their clients.

ATO extends JobKeeper monthly declaration deadline
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