Weekly Digest – 24 April 2020

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the country and around the globe. But among the tragic stories are also stories of incredible resourcefulness. We want you to know we are here to support you every step of the way in what we know for you is an incredibly challenging time for you, your family  & your business interests.

As the various government stimulus packages are now underway, this weeks’ wrap up focuses on the final stages for JobKeeper and STP,  an update on the PAYG Cashback (Cash boost), some tips on how you can Support Local Businesses, and also Stay Alert for Cyber Scams.


JobKeeper Now Open

Enrolment is now open for the government’s JobKeeper payment scheme. The payment is open to eligible employers, sole traders and other personal business entities – allowing them to keep paying eligible employees’ $1,500 per fortnight (before tax).

Our advisors are here to help you with your JobKeeper application

The Mukiwa team have started to work with our business clients to ascertain their eligibility for a successful and stress free application. While you can complete the JobKeeper application yourself through the myGov portal, we highly recommend you use an experienced advisor who can enrol your business on your behalf. We can step you through the process so you have one less thing to worry about.

When to expect JobKeeper payments

The first payments to eligible employers will commence in the first week of May 2020. However, in order to receive the subsidy, JobKeeper top up payments to eligible employees need to be made on or before 30 April 2020, covering the two fortnightly periods commencing 30 March 2020. Furthermore, any top-up payments to employees need to be clearly indicated as such in your payroll software and STP lodgements MUST be filed on-time.

In short, your business may need to find the short term finance to pay your employees for April 2020. Get in touch with us to discuss your options should you find yourself unable to meet these net salary obligations.

Eligibility criteria update

For those of you that have been reading our weekly blogs, you will be aware that a business can apply for JobKeeper under the Basic or Alternative tests. The Alternative Test is there to assist businesses enrol for JobKeeper, where they do not have comparative numbers or in instances where the business has undergone a substantial re-structure in the past 12 months. Guideance on the detail behind the Alternative Test is still forthcoming but we will be working closely over the coming days to ensure those clients that need to apply using the Alternative Test are aware of the terms and how they might be applied to their business. Again, if you would like to discuss the Alternative Test with us, please get in touch with either Steve or Ben.

A Reminder

The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) together with the ATO announced that they will not look favourably on businesses who seek to become eligible for grants, loans, benefits or other assistance that they would not ordinarily be entitled to. Their statement says “any sudden changes to the characterisation of payments may cause us to investigate.”

It’s therefore best to seek only the benefits you’re entitled to and is why we may need to say ‘no’.


Update on CashFlow Boost (PAYG Cashback)

The government is offering temporary cash flow support for SMBs (as well as not-for-profits) that employ staff and have been impacted by the COVID-19 economic downturn. Eligible businesses will receive between $20,000 to $100,000 in cash flow boost amounts by lodging their activity statements up to the month or quarter of September 2020.

On top of the JobKeeper enrolments for clients, we are also trying our very best to prepare and lodge March BAS returns. For those clients that we have lodged BAS returns for, we are starting to see the CashBoost credit be applied to their ATO Integrated Client Account (ICA). And where this credit has resulted in a refund position, the ATO has started to process payments, providing welcome relief to some clients, particularly those that need it to meet the JobKeeper payments.

Updated ATO guidance on the cash-flow boost measure now states that from 28 April, any excess credit from activity statements that received the cash-flow boost amount will be refunded, rather than offset against any other tax debts. Therefore for business with an existing ATO debt, we are suggesting their March BAS return is only lodged on or after 28 April 2020 – to ensure any CashBoost credit is not applied to the outstanding debt amount.

For businesses with no tax debt, any CashFlow Boost credit will automatically be credited to the business’s bank account. Payments are being made within 14 days of lodgement.

Ways to Help Small Businesses

If you want to help small businesses in your community, here are a few ideas to help out with your time, money and other resources.

  1. Order takeout and delivery from your favourite local establishments and keep them OPEN! You can also buy gift cards as well to support them right now and use them later – also a great gift idea!
  2. Write reviews for your favourite small businesses to help others make a better buying decision, to share an experience, or to reward a company for good product and/or service.
  3. Help businesses support essential workers by donating food, supplies, and services from local shops. The business will appreciate it as will the workers.
  4. If you are looking to exercise at home, see if you can take advantage of virtual sessions offered by local gyms. This will help them get business and keep you in shape.
  5. Look to see if you can help or raise awareness for  different community groups.
  6. Last but not least, continue to show empathy to our fellow neighbours and remember that we are all in this together. Whether we are facing a global pandemic or not, this is good advice to adhere to. The more we all work together, the better off we will be.

Now is the time for us to give our local businesses some love and support, so that when COVID-19 is eventually behind us, they will still be there for us for that next event, or team sponsorship, or community fundraiser.

Stay Cyber Safe – Continued Widespread Reports of Malicious COVID-19 Scams

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of a significant increase in Australians being targeted with COVID-19 themed scams, fraud attempts and deceptive email schemes.

Cybercrime actors are pivoting their online criminal methods to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. On average each month, the ACSC receives about 4,400 cybercrime reports through ReportCyber, and responds to 168 cyber security incidents.

Stay Smart Online Alerts provide easy to understand online safety and security information and solutions to help protect internet users at home, at work and on mobile devices. The resource also informs users about the latest threats and vulnerabilities within an Australian context, and how to address any risks to their devices or computer networks. Read about all the current alerts or how you can get these updates directly here

This Week’s Good News

Every week, we like to bring you a good news story. The response of some people to the pandemic has been amazing and none more so than Army veteran Tom Moore, 99, who has raised £23 million for the healthcare workers by doing laps of his garden. His original target was £1,000! Like Tom, we are all finding our own ways to make the best of the strange new world we are in.

Here to Help

It’s certainly been a tough few weeks but we’re always here to help. Thank you for your continued patience as we wade through government announcement and package requirements. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.