Daily updates: 9-13 November

13 November

NEWS
ASIC to extend “no action” position in face of continued COVID conditions
ASIC has announced that it will extend the deadline for both listed and unlisted entities to lodge financial reports under Chapters 2M and 7 of the Corporations Act (the Act) by one month for certain balance dates up to and including 7 January 2021 balance dates. The extended deadlines for lodgement of financial reports will assist those entities whose reporting processes take additional time due to current remote work arrangements, travel restrictions and other impacts of COVID-19.

Penalties to be introduced for unfair contract terms
Following discussions at the Consumer Affairs Forum last week, the Commonwealth and state and territory governments have agreed to strengthen existing unfair contract term protections in the Australian Consumer Law, by making unfair terms unlawful and giving courts the power to impose a civil penalty; expanding the definition of small business and removing the requirement for a contract to be below a certain threshold; and improving clarity on when the protections apply, including on what is a ‘standard form contract’. Further detail on the reforms is available on the Treasury website.

TPRS client contacting push from ATO
The ATO says it will soon start contacting some businesses and contractors (excluding Victorian businesses) to help them understand the Taxable payments reporting system (TPRS). Clients contacted will be those who provide cleaning, courier or road freight, IT, surveillance, investigation or security services. Some of these businesses and contractors may be your clients, and the ATO will contact you if they prefer.

JobKeeper enrolment deadline for November fortnights
Your JobKeeper recipient clients should be aware that to claim payments for the November JobKeeper fortnights, they must enrol by 30 November.

New resource webpage for SuperStream Rollovers
The ATO has launched a new SuperStream Rollovers v3 web page as a central repository for all onboarding and implementation documents. CRT alert 047/2020 will assist APRA-regulated funds and digital service providers (DSPs) in the transition to SuperStream Rollover v3 and SMSF DSPs in implementing SuperStream Rollover v3 (which will include SMSFs from 31 March 2021).

FULL EXPENSING ASSET WRITE-OFF Q&As

The following builds on questions stemming from our recent Full Expensing of Assets webinar (access the recording here). Further Q&As will follow in coming Daily Updates.

  • Is full expensing mandatory, or can a business still use Division 40 depreciation if it wants to? Read more
  • Can a taxpayer use a combination of full expensing and other depreciation methods?  Read more

12 November

NEWS
Tasmania to extend payroll tax rebates
The Tasmanian Premier has announced that the upcoming state budget will include an extension of payroll tax relief in the form of rebates. This includes extending the current payroll tax rebate for all youth employees for a further 18 months, extending the rebate for apprentices and trainees for a further 12 months, and extending both rebates to all industry sectors. It will also be extending the Targeted Apprentice and Trainee Grant for Small Business to any small business that employs an apprentice or trainee until 30 June 2022.

WA de facto couples and splitting superannuation
The Family Law Amendment (Western Australia De Facto Superannuation Splitting and Bankruptcy) Bill 2019 has been passed by the lower house. The bill gives effect to a referral of power from WA to the Commonwealth in respect of superannuation matters in family law proceedings for separating de facto couples in WA, extends federal bankruptcy jurisdiction to the Family Court of Western Australia to hear bankruptcy proceedings concurrently with family law proceedings, and provides for transitional arrangements.

Payment due date for company and super clients
Companies and superannuation funds have a variety of lodgment due dates determined by registration type or income reported in their last return. If you have company or super fund clients who have a lodgment due date of 15 January 2021, their payment is due by 1 December 2020. To check if your clients have a 1 December payment due date use Online services for agents or the practitioner lodgment service.

NT 2020-21 budget includes its own boost to the Federal JobMaker hiring credit scheme
The Northern Territory budget, handed down this week, has the NT’s own incentive to hire younger unemployed locals. Small businesses that hire a Territorian in receipt of JobSeeker payments will receive the new JobMaker Booster wage subsidy at the weekly rate of $100 for new employees aged 30 to 35 years, and $200 for new employees aged over 35 years. The budget also extends the stamp duty homeowner assistance scheme from the original end date of 30 November 2020 to 30 June 2021.

11 November

NEWS
Don’t leave tasks to weekend, because ATO systems will be down
Practitioners should note that the ATO’s systems are having some much needed maintenance this coming weekend (14-15 November). Online services will be unavailable for both taxpayers and tax practitioners from 6am AEDT Saturday and are expected to be back by 11pm Sunday. Note that the deadline for the next monthly JobKeeper declarations is also 14 November, but the ATO says it will continue to process reimbursements past that due date. You can visit the ATO website for a full list of systems and planned systems maintenance.

JobSeeker COVID-19 supplement extended, but at reduced rate
The coronavirus supplement for JobSeeker recipients is to be extended until the end of March 2021. That fortnightly supplement, initially $550 and currently $250, was due to expire at Christmas. The extended supplement however is to be reduced by $100. The change will require legislation as amendments to the original bill in the Senate provided broad powers to the Minister for Families and Social Services to change any payment rate via a legislative instrument, however these powers will expire on 31 December 2020.

NSW endorsement of instruments to no longer trigger duty
NSW State Revenue has approved procedures for endorsement of duty on an instrument processed through Electronic Duties Returns (EDRs) and eDuties. The office says in transitioning to fully digital conveyancing, there is no longer a requirement to endorse instruments using a duty stamp.

SA state budget includes boost to COVID-19 personal financial support
The state budget of the South Australian Government, released yesterday, included a $330 million package over three years in response to the pandemic. This includes a Cost of Living Concession, so that households that receive the JobSeeker payment also receive a once-off boost of $500. For eligible homeowners, the 2020-21 payment of $215.10 becomes $715.10, and eligible tenants receive $607.60. Also a $300 payment will be provided to those who need to self-isolate. Hospital staff will be provided with free parking and free public transport for the duration of the pandemic.

Free kinder and child care for Victorians in 2021
The Victorian Government is to provide free kindergarten for 2021 and support for more outside school hours care. Subsidies will be offered to early childhood services providing funded kindergarten programs – meaning free kinder for four-year-olds and eligible three-year-olds attending a participating sessional kinder.

JOBKEEPER EXTENSION Q&As

The following builds on questions stemming from our recent JobKeeper extension webinar (members can access the recording here). The Q&As below are the last in this series.

  • Does the wage condition apply to eligible business participants? Read more
  • In relation to the JobKeeper scheme, what is the situation where a business has closed? Read more

10 November

NEWS
SA launches second round of cash grants
Thousands of South Australian small businesses that continue to be impacted by COVID-19 will be eligible for a second $10,000 cash grant, the SA Government has announced. And for the first time the SA Government will introduce a $3,000 cash grant for eligible businesses that do not employ staff, including sole traders and partnerships, operating from a commercial premise and suffering financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

JobKeeper disputes entailing Fair Work elements
The Fair Work Commission is involved with the JobKeeper scheme in that some elements of the program cross over into Fair Work territory. Temporary JobKeeper provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 give the Fair Work Commission power to deal with some disputes, however it has limited power dealing with payments being passed on to an employee. The Commission has given examples of the disputes it can help with and those it cannot.

ATO posts activity statement forms
Available on the ATO website, download BAS P (NAT 4646), which is for taxpayers who report and pay GST (or claim a refund) annually or pay GST by instalments and report annually, BAS R (NAT 4753), which is for taxpayers who report and PAYG quarterly, and IAS N (NAT 4648), which is for taxpayers with annual PAYG instalment obligations.

JOBKEEPER EXTENSION Q&As

  • The JobKeeper reimbursement for August 2020 included three JobKeeper fortnights due to the way the calendar fell. Will this occur again during the extension period? Read more
  • Where a pay cycle straddles JobKeeper fortnights with different payment rates, how much should the employee be paid? Read more

9 November

NEWS
JobKeeper declaration problem being resolved by ATO
As reported in the Daily Update last week, there was a problem 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. Many members commented they had experienced problems. The ATO indicated in an email to Tax & Super Australia (TSA) over the weekend that the software issues affecting “tiering” were being resolved with the provider. Nevertheless we are still getting reports that the issue may not be fully fixed.  We will keep you informed of further developments. Practitioners should note that October JobKeeper reporting and turnover eligibility data is so far still expected to be filed 14 November.

COVID-19 early release of super over coming holiday period
The ATO has issued CRT 043/2020, which serves as notification to funds about the end of year shut down arrangements for COVID-19 early release of super applications, should applicants find their circumstances mean they need to access their super money when the ATO is usually closed for Christmas. All applications close at 11:59pm 31 December anyway, however the ATO says there may still be a small number of fund approval files into January 2021 relating to applications that require remediation. A new CRT will be issued dealing with this situation as the need arises.

NSW discretionary trust opportunity to save on duties closing soon
As reported by TSA some months ago, an opportunity for land holding discretionary trusts in NSW to save certain surcharge costs, which could add up to quite a tidy sum, is soon to be closed off for trustees. NSW land tax and duty provisions impose surcharges in relation to the acquisition and ownership of residential land by “foreign persons”, with both surcharge purchaser duty (8%) and surcharge land tax (2%) payable in addition to any other transfer duty or land tax. Legislation passed in February 2020, the State Revenue Legislation Further Amendment Bill 2019 (NSW), basically deems any trustee a foreign trustee (see schedule 2 on page 3 of this explanatory note) unless the trust deed specifically prevents a foreign person from even being a potential beneficiary. There is a time-limited window to amend discretionary trust deeds to prevent this, but that window closes at midnight on 31 December 2020.

JOBKEEPER EXTENSION Q&As

  • Can an individual who was previously an eligible employee become an eligible business participant? Read more
  • Can an entity change eligible business participants? Read more
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