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Employers need to satisfy record keeping requirements to be entitled to JobKeeper payments. These include:
- evidence to support the decision to enter into the JobKeeper scheme, including evidence the employer is eligible and that the decline in turnover test was satisfied
- notification electing to participate in the scheme
- nomination notices have been received for eligible employees
- evidence that employee eligibility criteria is satisfied
- evidence that eligible employees have been paid in accordance with JobKeeper obligations
- monthly declaration of current and projected GST turnover.
Principles of Governance by an Employer Around JobKeeper (et al)
- Leverage existing corporate governance where possible
- Keep good records
- Make a reasonable assessment of projected GST turnover
The judgment of whether a reasonable assessment has been made depends on the circumstances of your business. The question is whether a reasonable person in the same circumstances and at the same time would have exercised greater care in making the assessment. Large public and multinational groups generally have more sophisticated corporate governance systems and this will be reflected in the standard applied.
The ATO states:
“If you've made a claim and made genuine mistakes, we'll help you resolve them. We want to give you the support you need, without the worry of accruing a debt, repaying money or getting penalised for genuine mistakes.
We know that most Australians are honest and do the right thing. However, there are a handful of people who try to take advantage and exploit the system for their own financial gain.
We will not tolerate anyone engaging in illegal behaviour or developing contrived schemes designed to take advantage of the COVID-19 stimulus packages. Where people deliberately exploit the system, we will take action. We've already seen some examples of people doing the wrong thing, and we've acted quickly and decisively.”
Documented JobKeeper Compliance Issues
Some behaviours that are attracting ATO attention include:
- payments to people who do not meet the eligibility requirements or are not employees,
- falsifying records or revising activity statements to meet the fall in turnover test,
- applying for JobKeeper where there is no evidence of carrying on a business or there is no assessable income from carrying on a business,
- employers failing to pass on the full $1500 JobKeeper payment to eligible employees,
- multiple eligible business participant claims,
- employees being incorrectly excluded under the one-in-all-in rule
The ATO will also focus attention on the application of the decline in turnover test. This may include asking questions where actual and projected turnover have significantly diverged.