Sky Update – August 2020

In this Sky Update, we bring you all the latest tax news along with some other items that may pique your interest.

JobKeeper Extension

On the 21st of July, the Federal Government announced that the JobKeeper Scheme would be extended to the 28th of March 2021.

In order to claim for the first extension period commencing on the 29th of September and ending the 3rd of January 2021, it will be necessary to have satisfied the decline in turnover test for the September 2020 financial quarter.  Claims for the period commencing on the 4th of January to the 28th of March 2021 will then be subject to having satisfied the decline in turnover test for the December 2020 financial quarter.

The decline in turnover test remains unchanged from the first phase of the JobKeeper scheme, being:

  • A 50% decline in aggregated turnover for businesses with turnover of more than $1b;
  • A 30% decline in aggregated turnover for businesses with turnover of $1b or less; and
  • A 15% decline in aggregated turnover for ACNC registered charities (excl. schools & universities).

In the extension period, the JobKeeper Payment rates will be:

  • From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021: $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees who were working 20 hours or more per week, and $750 per fortnight for employees who were working less than 20 hours a week.
  • From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021: $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees who were working for 20 hours or more a week, and $650 per fortnight for employees who were working less than 20 hours a week.

Federal Parliament is sitting this week in Canberra.  Amongst the legislation that is being considered is the Bill to enable the extension of the JobKeeper Scheme.

It is anticipated that Bill will be passed by Parliament this week and this will pave the way for the Treasurer to register a new Legislative Instrument setting out the official rules for the extended JobKeeper Scheme.

We eagerly await the release of these new rules so that we can see the finer details needed to assist businesses to assess their eligibility and to put in place arrangements needed to comply with the scheme requirements.

In the meantime, further information on the JobKeeper Extension can be found on the Treasury website.

Victorian Business Support Fund Expansion

Earlier in August, the Victorian Government imposed Stage 4 restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and Stage 3 restrictions for Regional Victoria (incl. Mitchell Shire).

These restrictions significantly impact the ability of many businesses to operate.  Given this, the Victorian Government have launched the Business Support Fund – Expansion program to offer one-off grants of:

  • $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire; and
  • $5,000 for employing businesses in regional local government areas (excl. Mitchell Shire).

Applications for these grants close on the 14th of September.

Any Victorian businesses that have been impacted by the latest restrictions are encouraged to look at submitting an application which can be done on the Business Victoria website here.

High Court Decision on Personal/Carer’s Leave

On the 13th of August 2020, the High Court handed down the long awaited decision in the Mondelez case concerning the method for accruing and taking paid personal/carer’s leave.

In summary, the High Court has found that the entitlement to 10 days of personal/carer’s leave is calculated based on an employee’s hours of work, not days.

As such, 10 days of personal/carer’s leave can be calculated as 1/26th of an employee’s ordinary hours of work in a year.  For a full-time employee on 38 hours per week, this amounts to 76 hours of paid personal/carer’s leave per annum.

Further information on the High Court decision can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website here.

Community Benefits Statements Due Soon

Each year Victorian clubs that operate gaming machines are required to submit an audited Community Benefits Statement to verify whether the community benefit provided by the club is equal to at least 8.33% of the club’s net gaming machine revenue.

Whilst the operations of most clubs have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, The VCGLR has confirmed to our office that there are currently no plans to extend the 30 September deadline.

As such, we encourage Clubs to take steps now to ensure that their Community Benefits Statements can be submitted to the VCGLR by the 30 September deadline.

Victorian Commercial Tenancy Regulations Extended

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has announced that the regulations governing how commercial tenants and landlords negotiate temporary modifications to leasing arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended to the end of the calendar year.

Further information about the scheme can be found here.

At present, we are awaiting amendment of the Regulations to enact this announcement.  Once those amendments are made, businesses and landlords will have the much needed details to assist in negotiating arrangements beyond the end of September.

Commercial landlords experiencing financial difficulties due to tenants that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to investigate making an application for a grant of up to $3,000 under the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund.

Macquarie offers special cashback for Business Asset Finance and Motor Vehicle loans

Macquarie has announced a new $1,000 cashback offer for business asset and vehicle loans.

To qualify, applicants will need to have an ABN and be seeking finance of at least $20,000 with a 60-month term.  The purchase must also be a dealer sale and must be settled by the 31st of October 2020.

Any businesses that are looking at finance to acquire new business assets or vehicles may wish to consider this option.

If you would like to find out more about this offer, please contact our office.

Quote of the month

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is surely an ongoing source or uncertainty, distress and hardship right throughout Australia and the world.

Whilst some areas and industries are comparatively “better off” than others, we are all impacted.

The talk of a vaccine in recent weeks offers some hope.  However, with the availability of a vaccine likely to be quite some way, we must continue to live our lives in the shadow of COVID-19.

With pundits still worrying about a “fiscal cliff” at the end of September, it is no surprise that business and consumer confidence is in decline.

Whilst we can empathize with those among us who are feeling pessimistic about the future, we would like to lay down the challenge to adopt an optimistic mindset to help us get through these difficult times.

As Noam Chomsky put it, “optimism is a strategy for making a better future.  Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”

Sky Accountants Ballarat

Phone: 1300 328 855
Office Address: 902 Howitt Street, Wendouree, Victoria 3355, Australia
Postal Address: PO Box 2234, Bakery Hill, Victoria 3354

Sky Accountants Sunbury & Gisborne

Phone: 03 97444522
Sunbury Office Address: Suite 13, 33-35 Macedon Street, Sunbury, Victoria 3429, Australia
Gisborne Office Address: 45 Hamilton Street, Gisborne, Victoria 3437, Australia
Postal Address: PO Box 270 Gisborne Victoria 3437

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