Alternative turnover test for JobKeeper released

An alternative decline in turnover test for the JobKeeper payment scheme has now been registered by the ATO. The legislative instrument, Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Alternative Decline in Turnover Test Rules 2020, says the alternative tests will only kick in if an entity cannot satisfy the basic decline in turnover test.

The instrument applies to provide alternative bases for a class of entities (more below) to satisfy the decline in turnover test for the purposes of seeking to be a qualifying employer for JobKeeper payments, when the Commissioner is satisfied that there is not an appropriate relevant comparison.

The explanatory statement says these alternative tests will only apply to certain circumstances, of which there are seven dealt with in the instrument. The legislative instrument applies to classes of entities to which the following circumstances apply:

  1. An entity commenced business after the relevant comparison period in 2019 with the event or circumstance outside the usual business setting being that the business did not exist in the relevant comparison period and as a result there was no relevant comparison period in 2019. This applies to entities that were not operating any business, it does not apply to an entity that was operating one or more businesses and commenced a new additional business.
  2. An entity acquired or disposed of part of their business after the relevant comparison period in 2019 including more than one acquisition or disposal and the acquisition or disposal, or acquisitions or disposals, changed their turnover. The event or circumstance outside the usual business setting being that the business was not the same business and as a result is not comparable after the acquisition(s) or disposal(s) to as it was in relevant comparison period in 2019.
  3. An entity has restructured part or all of their business after the relevant comparison period in 2019, including more than one restructure, and that restructure, or restructures, has changed the entity’s turnover. The event or circumstance outside the usual business setting being that the business was not the same business and as a result is not comparable after the restructure(s) to as it was in relevant comparison period in 2019.
  4. An entity has had an increase in turnover by 50% or more in the 12 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period, or 25% or more in the 6 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period, or 12.5% or more in the 3 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period. The event or circumstance outside the usual business setting being that as a result of undergoing such rapid growth the business of the entity is not comparable after the growth to the business as it was in the relevant comparison period in 2019.
  5. An entity has been affected by a drought or other natural disaster in the relevant comparison period in 2019. The event or circumstance outside the usual business setting being the drought or other natural disaster which adversely affected the business and as a result the relevant comparison period in 2019 is not appropriate.
  6. An entity has an irregular turnover that is not cyclical, such as can occur in the building and construction sector. The event or circumstance outside the usual business setting is the non-cyclical irregular turnover and as a result the relevant comparison period in 2019 is not appropriate. An entity with a cyclical turnover such as an entity that operates a seasonal business which generates most of its turnover at a particular time of year has an appropriate relevant comparison period – a cyclical turnover is within the usual business setting.
  7. An entity is a sole trader or a small partnership and the sole trader or one of the partners did not work for all or part of the relevant comparison period because they were sick, injured or on leave during the relevant comparison period and those circumstances affects the turnover of the sole trader or partnership. The usual business setting is the sole trader or partner working in the business generating turnover and so their absence from work is an event or circumstance outside the usual business setting resulting in the relevant comparison period in 2019 not being appropriate.

Outside of these, the instrument states that the Commissioner cannot determine an alternative decline in turnover test in all circumstances. “It is only in those circumstances where there is an event or circumstance, be it internal or external to an entity, that is outside the usual business setting for entities of that class which results in the relevant comparison period in 2019 not being appropriate for the purpose of an entity in the class of entities satisfying the decline in turnover test. For example, an entity being subject to a severe drought from 2018 until September 2019 that reduced the amount of its’ crop that it could grow.”

Comments may be made below, however Tax & Super Australia is not in a position to answer specific enquiries. Replies may be made by Tax & Super Australia, making general observations about the issue raised. People should ensure that their comments are respectful and professional and should not make adverse comments on specific individuals. Members can of course make use of our Helpline service and receive detailed and technically accurate responses in the timeframe mentioned under terms and conditions.

Website Comments

  1. Greg Hilson
    Reply

    More explanatory detail would be useful as all the above is the same as the ATO site

    Are there any practical examples of item 4 (above) as I cannot find any issued by the ATO

  2. Doris
    Reply

    Does an Eligible Business Partner (with 0 employee) needs to pay himself by 30 April 2020 the TWO fortnightly payments in April totalling $3000 before he is considered eligible for receiving the JobKeeper reimbursement of also $3,000 in the 1st week of May?

    • Adrian
      Reply

      Did we get an answer as to how to actually apply the legislative instrument for the alternative turnover test? How is this done?

  3. Philip Rix
    Reply

    More practical examples for each of these ‘special’ circumstances would help in the the proper application (and interpretation) of these alternative rules

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