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Clarifying recent media commentary about incorrect JobKeeper payments

Last updated 29 January 2021

JobKeeper is the largest ever administered program in Australia with payments to date exceeding $80 billion.

It has been supported by a comprehensive and effective compliance program.

Not only does this involve checking the ABN of every business and the tax file number of each and every employee claimed, the ATO also has red-flag checks to stop claims for fictitious employees including deceased, jailed and those overseas, and also fictitious employing businesses. This is over and above the use of Single Touch Payroll and other data sources.

Where claims including fictitious employees are identified, no JobKeeper payments are or have been made.

Contrary to the impression given by some media coverage, the 6,000 red-flagged cases under investigation relate to all attempted claims stopped for investigation prior to payment. There have been very few attempted claims for fictitious employees.

The ATO is not aware of any ultimately successful claim for deceased or other fictitious employees.

The effectiveness of the ATO's approach to implementing JobKeeper and managing fraud was recently confirmed by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). These findings reflect the dedication of the thousands of employees across the ATO involved in delivering the Government's stimulus package.

ANAO review findings:

  • The ATO has been effective in managing risks related to the rapid implementation of COVID-19 economic response measures.
  • The ATO undertook appropriate planning to support the rapid implementation of the six economic response measures — predominantly using its existing systems and processes to support governance, resourcing, and consultation.
  • The ATO's risk documentation evidences its priority of implementing the measures in a timely manner, while also managing fraud and other integrity risks on a progressive basis.

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