An email from Services NSW sent last Friday containing unexpected changes to JobSaver drove the small business sector into panic and chaos over the weekend. But struggling businesses receiving the payment can now let out a sigh of relief.
By ATB Partners
After consultation with the professional accounting bodies as well as the tax and bookkeeping associations, the NSW Government has provided a grace reporting period.
This means there is no need to report for the fortnight ending September 10 as originally announced.
The new reporting deadline is the fortnight ending September 26.
“After several discussions, the NSW Government now understands the significant burden that fortnightly reporting of turnover decline puts on small businesses (and their financial staff, accountants, and bookkeepers) and it is now reviewing the rules,” says Michael Mekhitarian of ATB Partners.
“While it’s important that businesses confirm their financial declines to remain eligible for the payment, it’s unrealistic to expect them to do so every two weeks.
“We’re hopeful the Government will make reporting monthly, which is typically more in line with general financial reporting undertaken within businesses. But for now, the NSW Government is still considering options and has yet to make a decision,” he says.
“We’re expecting an announcement in the coming days, and we’ll keep clients informed. But for now, at least there’s some breathing space.”
To remain eligible for JobSaver payments, NSW businesses must confirm via the Service NSW website, a 30% decline in turnover for the reporting period, compared to the same period last year (2020) or in 2019. Or compared to the two weeks prior to restrictions being announced this year (12-25 June inclusive).
The website states that the period you choose for comparison must be the same as on the original application form. This is where real care needs to be taken, depending on how you reported and what period you used.
Businesses are also expected to maintain headcount unless someone voluntarily resigns.
“We’re urging all our clients to maintain good record-keeping with regard to expenditure and staff numbers as we do expect that post-pandemic these will be scrutinised and possibly audited,” says Michael.
“In particular, take copies of how you calculated the 30% or more decline, in case you are audited.”
“ATB is helping a number of clients access payments and understand their reporting obligations. Our entire team is working remotely and we’re here to help businesses survive this difficult time,” he says.