Daily updates: 2-6 November

6 November

Jobs initiative launched by NSW
The NSW Government will encourage domestic and international business into NSW through payroll tax relief as part of a new $250 million Jobs Plus program, which aims to support companies who want to relocate their head offices to NSW, or expand their jobs footprint in NSW. Support will include payroll tax relief, up to a four-year period, for every new job created where a business has created at least 30 new net jobs.

BAS agents authorised to offer expanded super guarantee charge services
Following extensive consultation with key stakeholders, the Tax Practitioners Board has registered a new BAS services legislative instrument, Tax Agent Services (Specified BAS Services No. 2) Instrument 2020. The new legislative instrument allows BAS agents to provide an expanded range of services in relation to the superannuation guarantee charge, including supporting clients in their interactions with the Commissioner of Taxation.  

COVID-19 and economic recovery: Webcast
Tune on for the ATO’s next tax professionals webcast next week on 12 November at 2pm AEDT. The ATO panel will discuss the necessary moves that will need to be made as the nation edges towards economic recovery, but as many Australians are still feeling the impact of the pandemic. 

Your client STP uptake report to come soon
The ATO says it will soon be providing tax agents with a list indicating which of your clients are reporting through single touch payroll (STO) and which have yet to make the transition. It says among other positives, reporting through STP may help some clients streamline receiving COVID-19 stimulus package support, and that practitioners should consider helping non-STP reporting clients get on board.


  • Can a part-time or long-term casual “1 March 2020” or “1 July 2020” employee, working for two employers and an eligible employee of one of the employers (the “first employer”) become an eligible employee of the other employer (the “second employer”) where the first employer does not qualify for JobKeeper in the extension period? Read more
  • Can an individual who was previously an eligible business participant of one entity (the old entity) become an eligible employee of another entity (the new entity)? Read more

5 November

Problems experienced with JobKeeper declarations
Members are reporting an urgent problem when lodging JobKeeper declarations this month, with an apparent system-wide inability to select the “tier” for an employee, and communication errors between STP and the portal. Reports include that the STP is being lodged by the employer or STP provider but this information is not translating correctly, if at all, to the ATO. Not being able to select a tier means declarations cannot be prepared at all. The problems have the very real potential to delay JobKeeper reimbursements to clients. The ATO’s instructions when questioned by members about this issue has been to wait 72 hours as they may still be processing the STP file. However with the 14 November deadline fast approaching, this is of little comfort to members. If you are experiencing this or similar problems, please enter a comment in the fields provided at the bottom of this page.

Significant SMSF reporting change buried in Treasury’s “portfolio” amendments
Treasury released Miscellaneous amendments to Treasury portfolio laws 2020 late in October, however a change to SMSF reporting has been discovered that may have implications for trustees. The explanatory statement (see page 8) states that the change to the rules will require that accounts and statements of an SMSF must be prepared at least 45 days before the day by which section 35D of that act requires a return to be lodged for the entity. This is the same day by which an approved SMSF auditor must be appointed.

First Home Super Saver deadline looms for pre-Christmas payment
The ATO is warning prospective First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme applicants that they may be able to receive their FHSS release amount before Christmas if they apply online by 18 November 2020. It says FHSS requests submitted after 18 November 2020 may not be finalised before Christmas. Any requests received between mid-December 2020 and 4 January 2021 will be delayed due to the Christmas/New Year holiday period.


  • For the purposes of meeting the 80 hours test as an eligible business participant, what does the term “actively engaged in the business carried on by the entity” mean? Read more
  • What are the pertinent deadlines as we move into the JobKeeper extension period? Read more

4 November

Changed conditions and status of businesses may need update with ATO
Change is inevitable in the current COVID-19 environment, and the ATO says it is aware that many organisations will have needed to adapt to the circumstances to maintain their viability. If your client’s organisation has changed recently, their tax situation may also have to be adjusted, and you may need to notify the ATO about the change.

The ATO to keep collecting visa data
The ATO collects information from the Department of Home Affairs on active and newly granted visas. Visa data for 1 March 2020 to 28 March 2021 will be used to assist in confirming eligibility for the government’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) economic response, JobKeeper measure. The data is also matched against other records to ensure visa holders, visa sponsors and migration agents are meeting their tax and superannuation obligations. The ATO has released its protocol which outlines its intention to continue collecting data on visas granted in the period 2020-21 to 2022-23 financial years.

Foreign resident reportable accounts reporting
Australian financial accounts held by foreign tax residents as at 31 December 2018 collected under the common reporting standard (CRS). CRS obligations are imposed on Australian financial institutions through the operation of Subdivision 396-C of Schedule 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (TAA 1953).


  • Once the 80 hours calculation has been completed for all employees and therefore the payment rate for each employee has been determined, what are the next steps? Read more
  • Are entities required to advise their eligible business participants or religious practitioners of their payment rate? Read more

3 November

Survey finds SA businesses back GST increase if state-based costs wound back
The seventh annual BDO State Business Survey closes tomorrow (so get in quick if you want to have a say), but early results from the first such survey since the COVID-19 era reveal a surprising change of mind from South Australian business participants. Adelaide Independent Newsreports that almost two-thirds of businesses who have responded have backed a GST hike as a way of boosting job creation without causing additional pain on the state’s already stretched bottom line. The 64% result is significantly up on the past three years when only about half supported a GST increase if it meant relief from state taxes.

PAYG instalments calculated in error
The ATO has recently become aware that the reduction in the company tax rate was not applied correctly from 1 July 2020 for businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million. This resulted in pay as you go instalments (PAYG) being calculated at a higher rate. This is being corrected, and the ATO will notify you or your clients if this applies to them.

Taxation outlook in a post-COVID world
Second Commissioner, Client Engagement, at the ATO, Jeremy Hirschhorn, last week gave a speech in which he cast an eye on the evolving post-COVID world and how taxation will fit with the new COVID normal.


  • What periods (reference periods) are used in determining whether the 80 hours has been satisfied? Read more
  • What “hours” go to make up the 80 hours for an employee? Read more

2 November

Record dispute resolution actions between Victorian businesses and landlords
The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) says it has responded to a staggering 13,206 inquiries in 2019-20, many of which were from small business owners and landlords needing advice about rent relief as a result of COVID-19. After rent relief and retail leases, the big issues causing disputes were small businesses not being paid, disagreements over rights and obligations in a signed contract, and goods or services that weren’t delivered or were thought to be of poor quality.

PI insurance a priority push from TPB
The Tax Practitioners Board will be contacting tax practitioners from now onwards to check if professional indemnity (PI) insurance details are up to date with TPB records. It reminds practitioners that while annual declarations were suspended due to COVID-19, PI insurance is still a must-have for continued registration. The TPB says failure to update PI insurance details within 14 days of being notified of this requirement by the TPB will result in tax practitioners not meeting their ongoing registration requirements.

An Australian guide to the next US administration (either red or blue)
The United States Study Centre at Sydney University has produced a report for all Australians who are keenly following the US election. This publication is designed in two sections: Blue Book: What to expect in a Biden administration — and Red Book: What to expect in a second term of the Trump administration. Each section is designed to give a robust guide to the major policies of each candidate. There are some things that will stay the same under either administration.


  • If an entity did not qualify for any of JobKeeper fortnights 1 to 13 (March – September) or JobKeeper fortnights 14 to 20 (October – December), can the entity still qualify for JobKeeper fortnights 21 to 26 (January – March)? Read more
  • If an entity fails to qualify for the JobKeeper extension period is the entity required to advise the Commissioner that the entity no longer wishes to participate in the JobKeeper scheme? Read more

Website Comments

  1. Raechel

    We are experiencing the issue with QuickBooks STP lodgements not advising the tier to the ATO. As a result we are unable to apply for the jobkeeper rebate for many clients. We have found that Xero is working fine.

  2. Colin Beschorner

    Yes, having this issue with the tiers. I have tried after 72hrs, and the error persists, I.e no data coming across into the monthly declaration.

    • Colin Beschorner

      I understand that the ATO will be doing an update this weekend to accept long form notifications for STPs submitted in this form. I understand that there will not be a need to re-submit and information should appear next Monday. Would be great to have confirmation on this.

  3. Kim

    Yes, Tiers advised via Quickbooks/KeyPay STP not registering at ATO and thus JobKeeper claims and reimbursements delayed.

  4. Andrew Schoenmaekers

    Yes, experiencing problems where client is processing own STP – not translating to Jobkeeper as nominated employee .

  5. Alison

    Yes, experiencing this issue with Quickbooks Online. Client reported Tier information via STP on 28th October and still not showing on ATO portal

  6. David

    I have been using Quickbooks online, I’ve not been able to see any Tier information for any of them yet

  7. nicole

    We are experiencing issues with a number of our clients on various software platforms with exception of Xero. Calls to the ATO result in long wait, an escalation and then promise of a call back within 48 hours to 5 business days – i have yet to receive a call back

  8. Richard Field

    Having the same problem (MYOB) .
    MYOB STP shows reports as being accepted by ATO but they are not being shown on the client JobKeeper section on the Portal, hence no October reports can be lodged.
    Can T&SA please make urgent representations to the ATO to fix this problem now. If ATO cannot process STP reports to JobKeeper in their systems or allow us to edit on the JobKeeper report then give all employers an extension well beyond 14 October.


    Hi All

    I have had the same problems as everyone. The best way to work around this is to report the information via the client’s STP software, select which tier payment for the nominated employee(s) and submit this to the ATO. It takes approx 24 hours to update. I did this with a client of mine yesterday and was able to lodge their Jobkeeper Bus Dec for October.

  10. Ingrid Mogensen

    Same problem with QBO and KeyPay. STP lodged with appropriate Tier selected. Not able to select employees on the ATO JK portal.

  11. Robyn Earley

    We are having the same issue with some MYOB Accountright files, however some are working fine. When I went into the portal, the files that have an issue are ones with terminated employees (not in this current FY). Not sure if this is the cause of the error.

  12. Adele Dames

    We are having the same issue with Reckon and some MYOB files and Tiers . Waiting the 72 hours for a fix ??

  13. Penelope White

    Thanks for posting this issue. I thought I was going bonkers as I also experienced problems. I did however manage to lodge one client successfully but have no idea how I did it. I lodged the rest “Manually” via ATO messages. Thishas worked for me in the past.


    Using MYOB – no issues there, but ATO only showing six employees instead of seven, even though the “lost” employee has been OK previously. Rang ATO yesterday and told problem would be fixed yesterday by 5.00pm – not so – today still missing one employee. Rang ATO second time and now escalated, but will take 5 business days, which is 13th November. Cut off for processing is 14th November – a Saturday !! I was told they could “manually” process the form – whatever that means.

  15. Anne Partridge

    Yes, had this problem with Reckon, the client has typed the “JK-TIER1” incorrectly (Reckon is not very user friendly with their jobkeeper processes) and still waiting for a call back from ATO. I have had no problems with Xero or MYOB

  16. Wayne Clark

    Having exactly the same problem. I haven’t been able to process any JK payments for my clients


    Issues still not fixed – supposed to be fixed over the week-end. How do we lodge a Business declaration ?

  18. Dexter

    I’m still having issues with Oct month declaration (STP filed info not received by ATO, e.g. Claim fortnight or tiers) as at today 11 Nov 2020. Does anybody having the same issue?

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