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  • We are here to support NFPs

    Winter is coming! Well at least in Melbourne.

    The heater is on permanent 22 degrees, chestnuts have been roasted and I have baked as many muffins, scones and banana breads as I can. I have also binge watched way too many shows and admit to having discovered and enjoyed The Walking Dead.

    Reading my opening, you might think I have way too much free time. Truth is, these are the things that remind me I am normal and allow me to escape (given I can’t travel or shop).

    The last few months have been incredibly busy for us in the ATO and we have taken our responsibility seriously. Most of us have worked extraordinary hours, going above and beyond in supporting our clients because we know how important it is for the economy to rebound. We have listened, advised, guided and supported; empathising with client circumstances and seeking always to deliver on the government’s commitments.

    There have been a range of administrative measures implemented for not-for-profits including additional time to support new or existing DGR endorsement applications and prioritising inbound enquiries to the NFP Premium Phone Service. We have had an increase in calls with the majority of questions about eligibility for the cash flow boost and JobKeeper payments.

    While the cash flow boost was delivered automatically, eligibility for JobKeeper payments is self-assessed, so it's understandable that we've had lots of questions about eligibility. This has led us to create a new COVID-19 Support for NFPs page.

    One of my main tips for NFPs has been to maintain good records to explain how you determined your JobKeeper eligibility. This includes:

    • the methods used to calculate the decline in turnover and the reasonable steps taken to align with ATO advice
    • any election to exclude government payments received
    • evidence that individuals registered for JobKeeper were eligible employees on the relevant dates
    • evidence of the significant impact the external operating environment has had on your NFP as an employer.

    If you make an honest mistake in determining your eligibility for JobKeeper payments, we will take that into account. But we will be looking out for instances where arrangements have been contrived to ensure the turnover test was satisfied, without a genuine fall in turnover. Our JobKeeper Practical Compliance Guidelines has further details of our compliance approach.

    Our general guidance on the basic decline in turnover test is set out in our JobKeeper Law Companion Ruling. This includes alternative practical compliance approaches for calculating turnover.

    There is a lot to digest and I know it has been challenging for NFPs. I thank the entire sector for your patience and understanding as we continue to refine our administration of COVID-19 support measures.

    But mostly I thank you for your commitment and passion in delivering important services. It makes my job a privilege!

    Stay safe as restrictions ease

    Jennifer

    Last modified: 27 May 2020QC 62745