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  • Religious institutions

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    How JobKeeper applies

    If you are a religious institution, you can qualify for the JobKeeper payment if you pay a minister of religion or a full-time member of a religious order who is not an employee to perform religious activities.

    In addition to any eligibility to JobKeeper payments you have as an employer, you may also be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if:

    • you have a non-employee individual who performs activities in pursuit of their vocation as a minister of religion or a full-time member of a religious order and as a member of your religious institution – we refer to this individual as the eligible religious practitioner, and
    • you are an eligible registered religious institution.

    JobKeeper payments

    During the original JobKeeper period you are entitled to one $1,500 JobKeeper payment per fortnight for each of your eligible religious practitioners.

    During the JobKeeper extension periods the JobKeeper amount depends on whether your eligible religious practitioner spent at least 80 hours in their reference period doing activities in pursuit of their vocation with your institution. The reference period is usually February 2020.

    See also:

    Work out your eligibility

    To be eligible, a registered religious institution must have an eligible religious practitioner.

    See also:

    Eligible religious practitioner

    An individual is an eligible religious practitioner of your religious institution for the fortnight if they meet all the following:

    • They are not employed by you.
    • They are a minister of religion or a full-time member of a religious order and undertake activities in pursuit of their vocation as a member of your religious institution (at 1 March 2020 and for the fortnight you are claiming).
    • They are remunerated by you in one or more of the following ways
      • a payment for undertaking activities in pursuit of their vocation as a religious practitioner and as a member of your religious institution
      • a provision of a fringe benefit
      • a provision of a benefit that is exempt from fringe benefits tax.
       
    • As at 1 March 2020, they were both
      • aged at least 18 (or were 16 or 17, and were independent or not undertaking full-time study)
      • an Australian resident (within the meaning of section 7 of the Social Security Act 1991), or a resident for income tax purposes and the holder of a special category (Subclass 444) visa.
       
    • They are not currently receiving government parental leave or Dad and Partner Pay.
    • They are not currently totally incapacitated for work and receiving payments under an Australian workers’ compensation law in respect of their total incapacity to work.
    • They are not an employee (other than a casual employee) of another entity.
    • They have given you a JobKeeper nomination notice.
    • They have not previously given another entity, or us, a JobKeeper nomination notice.

    JobKeeper extension – fortnights from 28 September 2020

    During the JobKeeper extension period the JobKeeper payment you receive for your eligible religious practitioner will depend on whether they spent at least 80 hours doing activities that pursue their vocation as a religious practitioner with your institution.

    This will need to be completed in their reference period (which is usually February 2020). However, in some cases an alternative reference period may be used. If you are claiming the tier 1 rate your eligible religious practitioner must provide you with a written declaration to confirm if they met the 80-hour threshold

    If they provide you with a declaration you will be entitled to the tier 1 rate for them, otherwise you will be entitled to the tier 2 rate.

    JobKeeper fortnight payment rates

    JobKeeper fortnights

    Tier 1 rate

    Tier 2 rate

    28 September 2020 – 3 January 2021

    $1,200

    $750

    4 January 2021 – 28 March 2021

    $1,000

    $650

    If your eligible religious practitioner makes a declaration that the tier 1 rate applies to them, they should keep records to show how they came to this conclusion. There are penalties for making a false or misleading declaration.

    A religious institution must notify:

    • us within 7 days which JobKeeper rate applies to your eligible religious practitioner
    • your eligible religious practitioner in writing and within 7 days of notifying us which rate applies to them.

    Reference period

    The reference period will usually be the month of February 2020. There may be circumstances where February 2020 is not a suitable reference period for your eligible religious practitioner.

    Alternative reference period – less than 80-hours and not representative

    Use this alternative reference period if your eligible religious practitioner's:

    • total hours spent doing activities that pursue their vocation as a religious practitioner with your institution was less than 80 hours in February 2020, and
    • when compared to earlier 29-day periods (each wholly within a calendar month), February 2020 is not representative of your eligible religious practitioner's total number of hours doing those activities in a typical 29-day period.

    For example, your eligible religious practitioner was sick during February 2020, so it is not representative of their typical time spent doing activities that pursue their vocation as a religious practitioner with your institution.

    The alternative reference period is the most recent 29-day period (wholly within a calendar month):

    • ending before 1 March 2020, and
    • during which your eligible religious practitioner's total hours spent doing activities that pursue their vocation as a religious practitioner with your institution was representative of their typical 29-day period.

    Alternative reference period – religious practitioner for part of February 2020

    Use this reference period if your eligible religious practitioner commenced doing activities that pursue their vocation as a religious practitioner with your institution on or before 1 March 2020 but after 1 February 2020.

    The alternative reference period is the 29-day period starting on the day your eligible religious practitioner commenced doing activities that pursue their vocation as a religious practitioner with your institution.

    Religious practitioner who is also an employee

    If a religious practitioner is your employee or an employee (other than a casual employee) of another entity, they cannot be an eligible religious practitioner. However, if they are your eligible employee, you can claim JobKeeper payments on their behalf as an eligible employer.

    See also:

    • Employers – for employers' information on JobKeeper payment.
    • Employees – for employee information on JobKeeper payment.

    Students

    A student minister of religion or a student at a college conducted solely for training people to become members of religious orders is not a religious practitioner for the JobKeeper Payment scheme. Only a minister of religion or a full-time member of a religious order can be a religious practitioner for the JobKeeper Payment scheme.

    See also:

    • TR 2019/3 Fringe benefits tax: benefits provided to religious practitioners - refer to paragraphs 14 and 15 on the expressions a minister of religion and a full-time member of a religious order.
    • Employees – for employee information on JobKeeper payment.

    Eligible registered religious institution

    You are eligible if:

    • on 12 March 2020 – and for the fortnight you are claiming – you are an ACNC-registered charity, registered under the sub-type ‘advancing religion’ (whether you are also registered under other sub-types)
    • on 1 March 2020 you satisfy one of the following    
      • you were a non-profit body that pursued your objectives principally in Australia
      • you were a deductible gift recipient (DGR) endorsed, under the Overseas Aid Gift Deductibility Scheme (DGR item 9.1.1) or for developed country relief (DGR item 9.1.2), either as a public fund or for a public fund you operated.
       
    • you satisfied the decline in turnover test for the relevant period – see JobKeeper decline in turnover tests.

    Enrol for the JobKeeper payment

    When you have worked out that you are an eligible registered religious institution and your individual non-employee is an eligible religious practitioner, you need to enrol and identify your eligible religious practitioners and make monthly business declarations. See our JobKeeper guides for step-by-step instructions.

    Before you enrol

    Check you meet the eligibility requirements, including the turnover test – see Eligible registered religious institution. The turnover calculation is based on GST turnover. This applies even if you are not registered for GST.

    Eligible religious practitioners

    Check your religious practitioners meet the eligibility requirements and for which JobKeeper fortnights – see Eligible religious practitioner.

    You must remunerate your eligible religious practitioners in each JobKeeper fortnight to claim the JobKeeper payment for that fortnight.

    Eligible employees

    If you have employees, check they meet the employee eligibility requirements and continue to pay your eligible employees. See Your eligible employees.

    During the JobKeeper original period – fortnights to 27 September 2020 – you must pay your employees at least $1,500 per fortnight.

    During the JobKeeper extension periods – fortnights from 28 September 2020 – you must pay employees at least the relevant tier of JobKeeper payment based on the hours they worked (including paid leave and paid public holidays) during their reference period.

    Send the:

    Make sure they complete and return them to you as soon as possible.

    Keep them on file and provide a copy to your registered tax or BAS agent if you are using one.

    Seek advice from your registered tax or BAS agent if you need help. Your registered tax or BAS agent can enrol, identify and declare for JobKeeper on your behalf using Online service for agents.

    If you find it difficult to interact with us online and don't use a registered tax or BAS agent, you can call us for help.

    Last modified: 16 Sep 2020QC 62541