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  • Private Groups Stewardship Group special briefing 15 April 2020

    ATO’s response to COVID-19

    Updates were provided on JobKeeper Payment Program, other government stimulus measures and ATO support.

    JobKeeper payment for business

    James O’Halloran – Deputy Commissioner, JobKeeper Payment Program, ATO

    Members were provided with an overview of the JobKeeper payment:

    • The new JobKeeper payment has passed through Parliament and is a key priority for the ATO to assist businesses to access the payment and help them retain their employees.
    • Business can enrol and apply for the JobKeeper payment on line from 20 April 2020. For eligible employers, there is no requirement to re-enrol or reconfirm their details unless there are any changes for later periods and payments.
    • The ATO is working closely with a dedicated JobKeeper division in Treasury, Services Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure integrity and good governance of the program.
    • The ATO is committed to tackling any illegal JobKeeper behaviour to protect honest businesses and the community.

    Further information is available on ato.gov.au:

    Information and support for private wealth taxpayers

    Tim Dyce (Co-Chair) – Deputy Commissioner, Private Wealth, ATO
    John Ford – Acting Deputy Commissioner, Superannuation and Employer Obligations, ATO
    Kasey Macfarlane – Assistant Commissioner, Private Wealth, ATO
    Jade Hawkins – Assistant Commissioner, Private Wealth, ATO
    Jenny Lin – Assistant Commissioner, Superannuation and Employer Obligations, ATO

    Members were provided with an overview of the following key stimulus packages:

    • boosting cash flow for employers – for small or medium business entity or NFP of equivalent size (that is, an entity with aggregated annual turnover less than $50 million)
    • early release of superannuation – for eligible individuals up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020 and up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020.

    Cash flow boost

    • The ATO is on track for deployment on 28 April 2020. Further advice and guidance is pending and ato.gov.au is being updated regularly.
    • As it is activity statement based, the process is familiar to many taxpayers. Grouping and turnover are recognised as critical issues.

    Early release of superannuation

    Members queried if SMSFs can apply for early release for superannuation.

    It was confirmed that the applicant can apply on-line via myGovID, and within 4 days will receive a determination letter which they can provide to the trustee of their superannuation fund to get funds released.

    Further information is available at COVID-19 early release of super – updated questions and answers on the ATO website.

    ATO Support

    Members were updated on the ongoing support available to businesses impacted by COVID-19, including:

    • Cross-over issues with NFP and Charities can be sent via direct email to Private Wealth Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Moltisanti who has responsibility for the ATO’s NFP Centre.
    • We are also here to help clients and their advisers in the private groups market with any issues relating to the JobKeeper payment.
    • We have set up dedicated teams to assist eligible employers and their advisers in the private groups market with questions about the JobKeeper payment. Employers and their advisers can now contact us directly at privatewealthservicesteam@ato.gov.au if they have any questions.
    • Important: All members are encouraged to share this service with their colleagues, clients and members.
    • New issues and responses will be included in the COVID-19 Frequently asked questions.

    The ATO acknowledged that responses would not be a private ruling and not binding on the Commissioner. Normal administrative processes would apply if they have relied on the guidance reasonably and in good faith.

    Transition to myGovID

    Members were updated on the following:

    • To lodge online through our Business Portal to receive payments from some of the stimulus measures, clients need to log in using myGovID.
    • Key resources have been established to assist eligible employers and their advisers in the private groups market with questions about the JobKeeper payment. Employers and their advisers can now contact us directly at privatewealthservicesteam@ato.gov.au if they have any questions.
    • Important: Availability of this key resource should be shared with your businesses and advisers
    • New issues/guidance will be incorporated into COVID-19 Frequently asked questions.

    Wrap up and close

    ATO Co-chair Tim Dyce thanked members for their attendance and contributions.

      Last modified: 30 Apr 2020QC 62404