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[av_heading heading=’The News Brief_20200902′ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ subheading_active=’subheading_below’ show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=’6vw’ av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’20’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#000000′ icon_color=” margin=’0′ margin_sync=’true’ padding=’0′ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kejlym17′ admin_preview_bg=’rgb(34, 34, 34)’][/av_heading]

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[av_heading heading=’Extension of JobKeeper scheme’ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’15’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kejm345o’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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JobKeeper payments are available to entities that have ‘eligible employees’ or ‘eligible business participants’ (eg sole traders, partners in partnerships, adult beneficiaries of a trust and shareholders in or directors of a company), if the entity suffers a decline in turnover of at least 30% where the annual turnover is no more than $1b or 50% otherwise.

The decline in turnover is measured by comparing projected GST turnover for a month or quarter in 2020 (the test period) with actual GST turnover for the comparable period in 2019, eg the September 2020 quarter with the same quarter in 2019.

Alternative decline in turnover tests are available where it is not appropriate to compare the test period with the comparison period. This includes where:

If you are enrolling for JobKeeper payments for the first time, you must enrol your business and notify the employee or business participant (if appropriate) by the end of the month you wish to claim for.

You must also make a monthly business declaration (no later than the 14th day) to claim JobKeeper payments for the previous month.

Sole traders and other eligible business participants

If you are a sole trader or other business participant (eg a company director or a partner), you cannot claim JobKeeper payments unless you are actively engaged in the business carried on by the entity (this includes a sole trader). You cannot be an employee of the particular business entity or a permanent employee of any other entity. There are also age and residency requirements that must be satisfied.

Only one payment per entity can be claimed. For example, in the case of a partnership, only one partner can claim JobKeeper.

Extension of JobKeeper scheme – and other changes

The JobKeeper scheme was due to end on 27 September 2020. However, the Government has announced that the scheme will continue for an additional 6 months until 28 March 2021.

The Government is in the process of making the necessary legislative amendments.

Other changes have also been announced:

Additional turnover test – from 28 September 2020

From 28 September 2020, your business (including if you are a sole trader) will be required to re-assess its eligibility with reference to actual GST turnover in the September 2020 quarter. The business will need to demonstrate that it has met the relevant decline in turnover test in this quarter to be eligible for JobKeeper payments from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021.

Your business will need to further reassess its eligibility in January 2021. The business will need to demonstrate that it has met the relevant decline in turnover test in the December 2020 quarter to remain eligible for JobKeeper payments from 4 January to 28 March 2021.

Revised payment rates – from 28 September 2020

The amount of the JobKeeper payment is presently $1,500 a fortnight for each eligible business participant (or employee). If you are an employer, you must pay each eligible employee at least $1,500 per fortnight before tax.

The JobKeeper payment rates will reduce from 28 September 2020 as shown in the table below.

Period Full rate per fortnight Lower rate per fortnight
28 Sep 2020 to 3 Jan 2021 $1,200 $750
4 Jan 2021 to 28 Mar 2021 $1,000 $650

The full rate applies to:

The lower rate will apply to all other eligible business participants/employees.

Eligible employees – from 3 August 2020

The eligible employee test has been revised, so that a person employed on 1 July 2020 may also qualify as an eligible employee (from 3 August 2020). This includes long term casual employees (those employed on a regular and systematic basis during the 12-month period that ended on 1 July 2020). There are also age and residency requirements that must be satisfied.

If a person started work with their current employer after 1 July 2020, the employer will not be eligible to claim JobKeeper payments for that employee.

Tax consequences

JobKeeper payments are assessable and should be included in your tax return (or business’ tax return) as assessable income. If you pay salary or wages to employees, the wages that are effectively subsidised by JobKeeper payments are still deductible.

Tip!  The JobKeeper scheme is complicated. Talk to your tax adviser to see if you or your business is eligible.
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[av_heading heading=’It’s Tax Time again!’ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’15’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kejmb9l4′ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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You have to lodge your income tax return for the 2019-20 tax year by 31 October 2020 – unless you use a registered tax agent (your tax agent will be allowed to lodge your return at a later date, even as late as May next year in some cases).

This edition of The News Brief outlines some tax changes for 2019-20 and provides a few tax tips.

Lodging a tax return

Are you a sole trader?

Are you a partnership?

If you operate your business in a partnership:

As an individual partner, you report on your individual tax return:

The partnership doesn’t pay income tax on the income it earns. Instead, you and each of the partners pay tax on the share of net partnership income you receive.

Are you a trust?

Tip!  Registered tax and BAS agents can help you with your tax obligations.
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[av_heading heading=’Property prices remain steady’ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’15’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kejmiqfb’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Property prices across the country continue to remain steady despite Victoria going back into stage four restrictions.

As a result, Melbourne has been the weakest market over the past month, with values falling -1.2%. However, prices are still 6.6% higher than they were this time last year.

Across all the capital cities, prices have weakened by -0.6% over the month. However, over the course of the year, values are still slightly higher – up 0.4%.

So far, the large price falls that we’ve been hearing about just aren’t happening, with most homeowners simply riding out the storm.

Capital city Weekly change Monthly change Yr to date change 12 mth change
Sydney 0.0% -0.5% 1.8% 10.6%
Melbourne -0.3% -1.2% -1.6% 6.6%
Brisbane 0.1% -0.2% 1.0% 3.8%
Adelaide -0.1% 0.0% 1.3% 2.6%
Perth -0.2% -0.4% -1.4% -2.5%
Combined 5 capitals -0.1% -0.6% 0.4% 6.9%

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[av_heading heading=’Broker petitions banks to digitise mortgage process’ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’15’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kejn0jpr’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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A Victoria-based broker has launched a petition for banks to digitise home loan contracts and standardise the ID verification process.

Blank Financial broker Bernard Desmond has launched a Change.Org petition that calls on banks to digitise their home loan contract signing processes and standardise Verification of Identity (VOI) processes across the board. 

After having recently raised concerns to his broker association, the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA), there have been growing calls for lenders to embrace e-signatures and remote VOI to reduce delays amid COVID-19 restrictions.

Mr Desmond has now launched a petition on Change.Org to raise further awareness of the matter.

The petition, ‘Banks – Please Digitise Home loan contracts & standardise ID verification process’  calls on “the big banks and tier 2 banks and lender[s] who make billions of dollars in profit to prioritise to invest in digitising their loan contract signing, and standardising verification of identity processes across the board”.

Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic placing strain on the Australian postal service, brokers have been experiencing delays in even express forms being lost or delayed, leading some borrowers to miss settlement dates or breach their finance clause due dates.

Mr Desmond told The Adviser that the fact that borrowers can avoid such a cumbersome process by going to the branch network or lodging applications online directly with the lender creates additional channel conflict between the broker and proprietary channels.

He emphasised that the issue was compounded in Victoria, which is still under its second round of lockdown and social movement restrictions, as brokers are unable to walk contracts through the loan contract signing process in person and borrowers are hesitant to visit branches “in the middle of a pandemic”.
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[av_heading heading=’COVID-19 early release of super’ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’15’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kejn0jpr’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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You can access up to $10,000 of your super in the 2020-21 financial year if adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes if you are a member of an SMSF. The amount you receive is tax-free (it is non-assessable non-exempt income).

The deadline for making an application is now 31 December 2020 (it was originally 24 September 2020). Applications received before 31 December 2020 may be processed after that date.

Applications for COVID-19 early release of super in the 2019-20 financial year closed on 30 June 2020.

To apply for early release, you must:

You can make an application using ATO online services (through myGov). If you have more than one super fund, there are no restrictions on the amount you can request for release from any account, except the $10,000 overall yearly limit.

You can only apply for one determination for 2020-21. You can request (say) $1,000 from one fund and (say) another $9,000 from another fund as long as it is in the same application.

You cannot make a subsequent application if you do not request or receive the full amount that has been approved in your first application for 2020-21.

You self-assess your eligibility for COVID-19 early release of super. You must be certain you are eligible. If the ATO subsequently determines you were not eligible, the amount of super released to you will be included in your assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate.

Tip!   Use this measure as a last resort. Money taken from your super fund now will reduce the amount available once you retire.

Don’t forget SMSF trustees are responsible for the members’ retirement savings. If you are an SMSF trustee, please make sure the member is eligible for early release of super before you release any funds.

Pensions and annuities – minimum drawdown amounts

To assist retirees, the government has reduced the minimum annual payment required for account-based pensions and annuities, allocated pensions and annuities and market-linked pensions and annuities. The minimum amounts have been reduced by 50% for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years.

If the minimum drawdown amount has already been paid, payments can be stopped for the remainder of the year. If you have received more than the minimum drawdown amount, you can recontribute these amounts if you are eligible to make superannuation contributions (subject to other rules or limits such as contributions caps).

Tip!  Speak to your financial adviser before making any decisions affecting your super.
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Sources: The Adviser and CFH Partners
Disclaimer: This is general information only and is subject to change at any time. Your complete financial situation will need to be assessed before acceptance of any proposal or product. The Content provided herein has been prepared for informational purposes only. The Content does not constitute tax, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek tax, legal or accounting advice before acting or relying on any Content.

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