The year 2020 will undoubtedly be etched in memory – a year that invoked a spectrum of emotions, in the midst of the global upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid the turmoil, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Government stood resolute in their efforts to safeguard the nation’s small and medium-sized businesses. It was a year of trials and triumphs, as evidenced by the launch of the pivotal JobKeeper program under the ATO’s aegis.
The JobKeeper Initiative: A Beacon of Support Amidst Uncertainty
Amid the economic uncertainties wrought by the pandemic, during this time, the year bore witness to the rollout of the JobKeeper program, which was designed to provide a lifeline to struggling businesses. Countless enterprises seized the opportunity, making use of the program by applying for and receiving vital financial support to weather the storm. The program infused hope and stability into the business landscape, enabling many to retain their workforce and stay afloat.
A Current Shift: The ATO’s Vigilance in JobKeeper Audits
Yet, at present, the current juncture finds the Australian Taxation Office engrossed in an extensive review and audit process pertaining to the JobKeeper program. Carrying out a staggering workload of over 8000 reviews and audits, the ATO is meticulously scrutinizing the implementation and utilization of the program. It’s important to note that a considerable portion of these reviews entails meticulous data verification and validation.
Navigating the Review Landscape: Calm and Collaboration are Key
Should you find yourself on the receiving end of a letter from the ATO, rest assured, there’s no need to succumb to panic. Instead, consider embarking on a collaborative journey with us to negotiate and interact with the ATO on more favorable terms. These reviews commonly entail requests for employee particulars and bank statements that corroborate income during the stipulated periods. Additionally, the ATO seeks to validate whether the requisite decline in sales (30%) was met. Details such as employee payslips, employment contracts, and JobKeeper nomination forms are often under the ATO’s magnifying glass.
Underlying Triggers and Preparing for the Future
Review triggers can span from inconsistencies in data, signifying incongruities between employee data and prior Business Activity Statements (BAS) or Single Touch Payroll (STP) records. This vigilance aligns with the ATO’s quest for data integrity. Notably, after the cessation of JobKeeper in March 2021, industry experts anticipate an intensified focus on JobKeeper tax audit. Consequently, accountants and employers are urged to exercise caution in their dealings with JobKeeper applications.
The Future Landscape: Staying Vigilant in an Era of Data
The advent of the Single Touch Payroll System has equipped the ATO with an abundance of employment-related data, with employers mandatorily reporting data on each pay cycle. This heightened data availability suggests that employment-related audits may rise in prominence. Employers should remain attuned to intricacies such as super payments, PAYG, salary disbursements, and Fringe Benefits Tax.
Your Trusted Allies in Inner West Sydney and Adelaide
In these intricate realms of taxation and audits, EndureGo Tax stands as your trusted ally. Our seasoned and professional accountants possess unparalleled experience in navigating the complexities of the JobKeeper program and associated audits. If you find yourself embroiled in a JobKeeper tax audit and seek expert guidance to navigate the process with finesse, we’re here to assist. Reach out to John at 0410829900, and let us empower you with tailored solutions and unwavering support.