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JobKeeper 2.0 is set to launch in Australia. Xero Payroll will be ready.

September 21, 2020

Thanks to just released guidance from the Australian Taxation Office, we now have a clearer picture of the JobKeeper 2.0 extension that begins at the end of September. We’re happy to say that Xero Payroll will be updated in time to accommodate these changes. Below we offer a look at how Xero Payroll will handle the changes, as well as a brief overview of the new guidelines.
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The key changes for employers are:

  • You must demonstrate a decline in actual GST turnover relative to a comparable period, as opposed to a projected decline under the first phase of JobKeeper
  • JobKeeper payments for employees will depend on the total hours worked during a specific period, with employers assigning each nominated worker to one of two tiers.

You can see the new payments and tiers on this ATO page.

In Xero Payroll, we’ve made it easy for employers to assign a tier to a JobKeeper recipient.

Simply choose an employee and click Set Tier. If you make a mistake, you can click on the overflow menu (the three dots on the right) and change the tier. Next, choose the correct tier from the dropdown list.

When you file your next pay run, Payroll will assign the correct codes to the eligible employee.

The same process applies for an employee that you’re newly nominating for JobKeeper. You can start them on JobKeeper and set the tier at the same time.

On the Single Touch Payroll page, you’ll be able to see your submission with the full CSV if you’d like to check what was sent to the ATO.

Webinars for employer eligibility

Determining which employers are eligible for JobKeeper based on actual GST turnover is straightforward in many cases. But some employers will need to use alternative tests. These can be quite complex, and will likely require the help of a bookkeeper, BAS agent or accountant. You can learn more about alternative tests on this ATO page.

To help you out here, we’ll be holding Xero webinars later in September showing you the steps from end to end in Payroll. And be sure to check out our September 21 webinar with Matthew Addison, executive director of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, as he walks us through the rules and eligibility tests for employers. We’ll also be updating Xero Central with information about JobKeeper 2.0.

What doesn’t change for employers, according to the ATO:

  • Employers don’t need to re-enroll for the JobKeeper extension if they are already enrolled for JobKeeper for fortnights before 28 September.
  • Employers don’t need to reassess employee eligibility or ask employees to agree to be nominated by them as their eligible employer if they’re already claiming for the employees before 28 September.
  • Employers don’t need to meet any further requirements if they’re claiming for an eligible business participant, other than those that applied from the start of JobKeeper relating to holding an ABN, and declaring assessable income and supplies.

We’ll be sure to update you if we make any significant further changes to Xero Payroll. In the meantime, we recommend consulting an advisor and attending our JobKeeper 2.0 webinars!

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