5 minute tax updates 4-8 May

COVID-19 early release from super data revealed
Need to apply to defer lodgment? Don’t delay
Practice statement issued on COVID-19 support eligibility extensions
Heavy vehicle road user charges to freeze at current level
Land tax relief practicalities for Victorians
Laws on bankruptcy changed temporarily to help cope with COVID-19
Webinar: Tax support for COVID-19 affected small business
FBT car parking threshold increase
Victorian JobKeeper payments exempt from payroll tax, WorkCover premiums
Reminder that using client credentials to log in to myGov not OK

COVID-19 early release from super data revealed
APRA has released some early figures regarding the COVID-19 measure of allowing some early release of super savings. The regulator says that fund trustees have received 665,310 applications for early release, with an average payout of $8,002. 162,879 applications have so far been paid, with payments taking an average of 1.6 business days after receiving applications from the ATO.

Need to apply to defer lodgment? Don’t delay
The ATO has advised that given the high workload it is currently coping with, any applications for a deferral of lodgment may see it taking the full 28-day processing time, especially in peak lodgment periods. But remember, with some lodging due dates already moved back, some clients may not need a deferral request made for them.

Practice statement issued on COVID-19 support eligibility extensions
A practice statement law administration (PS LA 2020/1) has been issued by the ATO to deal with discretionary extensions for otherwise ineligible entities for the cash flow boost and/or JobKeeper measures. As originally presented, a business must have had an ABN at 12 March to qualify as well as have certain income conditions. PS LA 2020/1 gives the discretion to grant further time to hold an ABN as the entity might be eligible to hold one but has not applied for it due to no-ABN rules and GST provisions not applying to it. The practice statement also gives the discretion to grant further time to give notice of amounts to be included in assessable income, or that the entity had made a taxable supply.

Heavy vehicle road user charges to freeze at current level
The government announced that it will halt at current levels the heavy vehicle road user charge. The road user charge, which is set to recover the heavy vehicle share of road maintenance and improvements, will stay at the current 25.8 cents per litre for diesel in 2020-21 instead of increasing by the scheduled 2.5%. In the same announcement, the government also said that because of some cross-border law differences, it has arranged that roadhouses, dedicated truck stop facilities and truck driver lounges will remain open so heavy vehicle drivers have access to showers, restrooms and facilities.

Land tax relief practicalities for Victorians
The Victorian SRO has laid out the steps needed to be taken to claim COVID-19 land tax relief. The SRO guidance covers eligibility, the information and evidence that will be required, and the steps needed when applying via the My Land Tax tool. There is also a helpful video you can make use of when explaining to clients.

Laws on bankruptcy changed temporarily to help cope with COVID-19
The government has temporarily changed bankruptcy law to help protect people who are facing unmanageable debt as a result of the economic impacts of COVID-19. If you or your client is in financial difficulty, application can now be made for temporary debt protection; this prevents recovery action by unsecured creditors for six months. For more information see  Coronavirus and changes to the bankruptcy laws on the Australian Financial Security Authority website.

Webinar: Tax support for COVID-19 affected small business
The ATO is holding a one hour webinar over most days this month until 15 May (with four sessions held at different times each day) on tax issues that small business may be experiencing due to the COVID-19 crisis. The free webinar covers topics including cash flow assistance for employers, the JobKeeper payment, increasing the instant asset write-off and making more businesses eligible, accelerating depreciation deductions, early access to super, other government agency support, and ATO relief options.

FBT car parking threshold increase
ATO advice is that the car parking threshold for the FBT year commencing 1 April 2020 is $9.15. This is an increase of 20c (up from $8.95). The cents per kilometre rates have also gone up by 1 cent (to 2500cc 56c, over 2500cc 67c, motorbikes 17c). The record keeping exemption threshold has also increased, from $8,714 to $8,853.

Victorian JobKeeper payments exempt from payroll tax, WorkCover premiums
The Victorian government has announced that businesses using the JobKeeper scheme in Victoria will be exempt from payroll tax and the WorkCover premium on payments to their employees. It will also freeze all fees and fines at present levels that were due to be increased in July, including car registration, traffic infringements, permit fees and court-imposed penalties.

Reminder that using client credentials to log in to myGov not OK
The ATO is reminding practitioners that myGov is not an approved channel for tax agents to use, and that doing so risks referral to the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) if you use myGov on behalf of your clients, with or without your clients’ knowledge.

Website Comments

  1. Peter Davison
    Reply

    Thanks for the pointer to PS LA 2020/1
    But what is the process to seek the Commissioner’s discretion in accordance with that Statement please?

    • Neville Birthisel
      Reply

      Hi Peter,
      One of the requirements to be an “eligible business entity” and receive JobKeeper assistance is that, on or before 12 March 2020 the entity must have lodged either:

      a 2018–19 income tax return showing it had an amount included in its assessable income in relation to it carrying on a business, or
      an activity statement or GST return for any tax period that started after 1 July 2018 and ended before 12 March 2020 showing it made a taxable, GST-free or input-taxed sale.

      The JobKeeper Rules also allow the lodgement to be at “a later time allowed by the Commissioner”.

      The ATO has made the following comments on what “a later time allowed by the Commissioner” means:

      We have the discretion to give further time, but only in limited circumstances, including if you:

      did not have a requirement to lodge your 2018–19 return until after 12 March 2020
      have deferred your lodgment under an extension of lodgment date we initiated.
      Examples include:

      your business is included in a registered agent’s lodgment program where the lodgment due date is after 12 March 2020
      your business has an automatic ATO lodgment deferral in place for example, it was affected by the Australian bushfires in late 2019, and you are not registered or required to be registered for GST, so will not have lodged a BAS before 12 March 2020.
      It is important to note that discretion is not automatically granted and further action is required for an entity to achieve eligibility for JobKeeper assistance in this circumstance. To that end the ATO advise:

      If the business entity and the eligible business participant met all JobKeeper eligibility requirements, other than the requirements to hold an ABN and/or provide notice to the Commissioner of income or taxable sales by 12 March 2020, you should consider applying to the Commissioner to exercise his discretion to grant further time. See JobKeeper application for Commissioner’s discretion in respect of an eligible business participant.

      You cannot enrol to receive a JobKeeper payment until you are notified that the Commissioner has granted the further time requested.

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