Daily updates: 26-30 October

30 October

NEWS
Victorian licensed hospitality venue fund
Liquor licensees who serve food and alcohol may be eligible for grants of up to $30,000 under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund. If you believe your client is eligible and has not received an invitation to apply for a grant from Business Victoria, you may need to create a liquor portal e-Licence account. For more information on creating an account, click the link here and follow the directions under “how to apply”.  

Tasmanian land tax guidelines released
Tasmania’s State Revenue Office (SRO) has released several guidelines related to land tax, including the definition of a registered trustee company for the purpose of the principal residence land classification in Tasmania, also the grouping of related companies to determine the amount of land tax payable, land tax and apportionment of principal residence land in Tasmania as from 1 July 2017, the land tax exemption for a new dwelling available for long-term rental and related frequently asked questions (FAQs), and the land tax exemption for short-term visitor accommodation converted to long-term rental and related FAQs.

JobKeeper extension areas of compliance focus
The ATO states that the JobKeeper extension has brought different compliance concerns to the forefront. As well as the existing focus areas, it now has two new areas of focus for compliance with the JobKeeper extension — the actual decline in turnover test and claiming the incorrect higher tier rate of JobKeeper payment. It has also provided guidance about its compliance approach for eligible business participants and businesses that can’t operate.

JOBKEEPER EXTENSION Q&As

  • Are the values of supplies for the purposes of calculating the decline in turnover inclusive or exclusive of GST? Read more
  • How are grants treated? Read more

29 October

NEWS
Key JobKeeper date looming large
Your employer clients should be made aware that 31 October is the due date to meet the wage condition for fortnights starting 28 September 2020 and 12 October 2020. It is also the due date for new entities enrolling for JobKeeper, and these will need to enrol and submit their “Check decline in turnover” form to the ATO online. See actual decline in turnover test.

CPI rises for September quarter
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.6% in the September 2020 quarter. The September quarter rise followed a record fall of 1.9% in the June 2020 quarter, when child care was free and petrol prices fell 20% — which the ABS says were the most significant contributing factors to the rise in CPI. Significant rises were also recorded for automotive fuel (9.4%) following a rebound in world oil prices, and pre-school and primary education (11.1%). Other notable increases included furniture (6.4%), major appliances (5.3%) and small appliances (5.8%).

Business Victoria provides industry re-start guidelines
Victoria’s roadmap for re-opening outlines considered and gradual steps to ensure that businesses can re-open safely and efficiently. As Victorian businesses begin to open their doors, the priority will be the health and safety of workers and customers. Industry restart guidelines are available to help businesses in different industry sectors prepare to safely operate in accordance with the easing of restrictions.

Who wants virtual AGMs and online document execution to be permanent?
Treasury is seeking stakeholder views on exposure draft legislation that makes permanent changes to the Corporations Act 2001 in relation to virtual meetings and electronic document execution. The reforms make permanent the temporary relief, which allows companies to hold meetings virtually, send meeting-related materials electronically and validly execute documents electronically. Stakeholders are invited to have a say, but the deadline for doing so is tomorrow.

JOBKEEPER EXTENSION Q&As

  • Does the decline in turnover need to have occurred as a result of COVID-19? Read morre
  • Does a group of entities need to consolidate its turnover to determine if it meets the decline in turnover test? Read more

28 October

NEWS
JobKeeper eligible business participant still recognised if business can’t operate due to COVID
While the JobKeeper rules require an eligible business participant to be “actively engaged” in the fortnight to which a payment relates, the ATO is aware of the fact that many businesses have not been in a position to operate in an active manner due to COVID-19 restrictions. In these circumstances, the ATO says it recognises (scroll down to “Example – Business shuttered…”) that an eligible business participant may still have been actively engaged even if the business is temporarily not able to sell goods or provide its services. It says that providing the business has not ceased entirely, the eligible business participant may still be eligible.  

Report on the impact of COVID-19 on parents and their children
The Australian Childhood Foundation undertook an online survey of a nationally representative sample of parents just as the first version of lockdown was being eased and prior to the second round of restrictions being put in place in Victoria. The resulting report seeks to understand more about the needs of parents and children during periods of such large scale disruption and transition related to the pandemic.

Victoria launches the state’s third “social impact bond”
The Living Learning initiative was launched this week by the Victorian Minister for Youth Ros Spence as part of the government’s Partnerships Addressing Disadvantage social impact investment program. Young people who have become disengaged from school and are living with mental health conditions will receive additional care and support to complete their schooling, under the flagship new program.

JobKeeper misdemeanours found by ATO
The ATO says it has detected some businesses that have sought to inappropriately take advantage of the benefits of JobKeeper, and that it has been firm in requiring them to repay JobKeeper overpayments. In some instances it has also applied administrative penalties and pursued offences for false and misleading statements. Examples include stating a 30% decline in turnover when the business should be in the 50% decline category, manipulating sales data to suit turnover needs, backdating employment records and more. See more details here.

JOBKEEPER EXTENSION Q&As

  • What should an entity do if it discovers an error in a prior period BAS? Read more
  • Is there any leeway for errors when calculating the entity’s decline in turnover? Read more

27 October

NEWS
Melbourne COVID-19 restrictions eased: Here are the details
See this PDF (8 pages) for a summary of all restriction easing announcements made yesterday for Victoria, with effect from 11:59pm tonight and 11:59pm 8 November.

COVID-19’s wave of disadvantage across NSW
The New South Wales Council of Social Service has produced a report looking at how COVID-19 has started what it calls an “economic tsunami” that threatens to overwhelm progress towards reducing disadvantage across NSW. This report provides estimates based on international, Australian and original research on the impact of rising unemployment on disadvantage across NSW’s regions.

SMSF annual returns due within days: Apply for deferral now
Some SMSFs have a lodgment due date for the annual return of 31 October (or 2 November this year as that date is a Saturday). Should any SMSF trustee foresee difficulty completing their fund’s annual return (SAR), advice from the ATO is to apply for deferral well ahead of time. It says that any SMSF that is more than two weeks overdue on any annual return lodgment, and the trustees have not requested a deferral, will have their status changed on Super Fund Lookup to “Regulation details removed”. This status will remain until any overdue lodgments have been brought up to date.

IGTO’s annual report highlights the trends in taxation complaints
The office of the Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman (IGTO) has tabled its annual report for 2019-20. A highlight is the processing of 2,775 complaints, of which 93.7% have been finalised. The majority of complaints received (68%) were from self-represented individuals. The remaining complaints came from self-represented businesses (20%), individuals represented by another party, for example a tax practitioner, lawyer, family member or friend (9%) and represented businesses (3%). It says taxation complaints have increased 29% in five years.

JOBKEEPER EXTENSION Q&As

  • If an entity chooses one method (e.g. cash) for the September 2020 quarter test, can that entity swap to the accruals method when calculating the decline for the December 2020 quarter (or visa-versa)? Read more
  • When making a calculation under an alternative decline in turnover test, is an entity required to use the same accounting method (cash or accruals) that it uses in its BAS (or as chosen, for entities that are not registered for GST)? Read more

26 October

NEWS
Legislation introduced to support those feeling brunt of COVID economic impact
A bill has been introduced to Federal Parliament, the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Coronavirus and Other Measures) Bill 2020, which contains several measures to support Australians who are experiencing negative economic consequences of COVID-19. Among these are two additional payments of $250 for pensioners and other support cardholders (about 5 million recipients) to be paid from the end of November and February. The bill also amends the independence criteria for the youth allowance, incentives to encourage agricultural employment, temporary easing of the paid parental leave work tests, and changes to infant death payments and child support.

Inaugural foreign ownership of residential land register published
The first two Insights into foreign purchases and sales of residential real estate reports publishing data from the Register of Foreign Ownership of Residential Land are now available on the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) website. Information has been extracted from the register to provide insights into the flow of purchases and sales of residential real estate by foreign persons for 2017-18 and 2018-19.

More ATO Open Forums available
With the ATO’s round of Open Forums now exclusively online, with no need to move the physical forum from location to location around the country, greater coverage of topics for tax practitioners can now be organised. The ATO has now opened up for bookings for its Open Forum schedule for November and December.  As mentioned in a recent 5 minute update, the topic du jour up to the end of October has been COVID-19 and support on offer to practitioners. The new round of “conversations” includes e-invoicing, what has been delivered for myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) and the features to come in future releases, and the ATO’s key focus areas for quarter 4 updates and the development plan for 2021. There are also special sessions specifically for BAS agents. See the upcoming schedule and book here (CPD value).

JOBKEEPER EXTENSION Q&As

  • Aren’t “projected GST turnover” and “current GST turnover” basically the same thing? Read more
  • What accounting method does an entity use when say comparing September 2020 to September 2019, but its accounting method has changed during that time? Read more

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