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  • Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group special briefing 27 May 2020


    Cash flow boost

    Assistant Commissioner Kasey Macfarlane provided an update on the cash flow boost measure. Feedback received from the group at last week’s meeting on the Cash flow boost for employer’s eligibility companion guide has been incorporated and we expect this guide to be released in the week beginning 1 June 2020.

    Over the last few days, several taxpayers have had their cash flow boost eligibility updated through the new automated system tool. Credits are now being allocated to those subsequently deemed eligible. Further processing is continuing to update eligibility this week, and will see credits allocated to clients on Monday 1 June.

    From Friday 29 May verbal declarations will be able to be made through the ATO contact centres for those required to provide further information or demonstrate proof of business activity for eligibility.

    Jobkeeper update

    Director Michael Karavas provided an update on the JobKeeper measure. The last date for JobKeeper enrolment for the months April and May is 31 May 2020. Michael highlighted to members that this will close at 6:00pm (AEST) to allow a weekend system update to enable claims to be processed on Monday 1 June for the May fortnights.

    The ATO has sent out 100,000 text messages to employers who have enrolled for JobKeeper but have not yet lodged their claim, reminding them they have until the end of the month to do so. Following this date employers will need to contact the ATO to request manual processing of their claim.

    The ATO is currently in the process of updating the ‘how to’ guides for the new monthly process of 'declare and maintain'. Employers will be able to declare and do any updates required for employees on screen. For those using JobKeeper codes through Single Touch Payroll (STP) you will be provided with a total count number and it won’t be editable online. It is important for employers to have their codes identifying individuals up to date through STP software.

    Early release of superannuation

    Deputy Commissioner John Ford provided an update on the early release of superannuation measure. We are currently working through the process to finalise and update information on re-contribution schemes, providing clarity in terms of where we see concerns.

    There are minor changes to the application process ahead of the next stage to highlight errors delaying processing of payments in the first round. This includes the need to check the bank account details being entered are correct, and errors made with the entering of amounts i.e. $10 entered rather than $10,000.

    Future communications will advise clients to consolidate their funds after they apply for the early release of their superannuation. There have been of instances where clients have applied based on their estimate of the consolidated fund balance and if the consolidation is not processed in time, the fund balance is insufficient to support the release application.

    Service Delivery

    Deputy Commissioner Grant Brodie provided a short update on Service Delivery activities. ATO call volumes are still 100% higher than call volumes for the same time last year, although calls have decreased 20% in the last fortnight. The average wait time is under two minutes.

    The calls continue to focus on myGov linking codes, JobKeeper payment progress, cash flow boost eligibility queries and general early release of superannuation queries.


    Director Michael Job provided an update on communications activities. Updates to JobKeeper content this week focused on questions about the ‘identify and maintain’ stage. We are updating monthly declaration information with an instructional video being published soon.

    Communication on the early release of superannuation will focus is on the 30 June application due date, reminding temporary residents that they can only apply once.

    The cash flow boost eligibility guide will be published shortly, as will messages reminding clients to check and update their financial institution details if they have not received a refund from the ATO recently. We will include the special eligibility rules, about where and how to contact us depending on different client scenarios.

    The ATO will be including a reminder in the Tax professional’s newsletter on the car cost limit and the depreciation under instant asset right off rules.

    A number of COVID-19 text messages and emails being sent to clients of agents now include part of a client identifier to make it easier for agents to identify who the notification is for.

    Small business

    Deputy Commissioner Deb Jenkins highlighted that we are conscious of instant asset write-off information being shared in the community that is misleading, and we will continue to manage the perception that this is a ‘cash flow boost’ of some sort.

    Feedback has been received that employers do not understand that the GST turnover being reported in the monthly JobKeeper forms is for the coming month not the previous month. Communications are being developed to inform the community of this requirement and to help reduce confusion.

    Tips and links

    The ATO issued a special edition tax professionals’ newsletter on Monday 25 May: COVID-19 in review. You should subscribeExternal Link to ensure you don’t miss these newsletters.

    If you’ve enrolled for the JobKeeper payment and identified your eligible employees, you need to make a business monthly declaration to us. For more information refer to Monthly reporting for JobKeeper payments.

      Last modified: 02 Jun 2020QC 62782