Xero Payroll

Deadline for JobKeeper is extended

Xero users are covered

If you’re one of the 800,000 Australian businesses interested in JobKeeper, be aware that the window to enrol for the subsidy payments from end-March has been extended.

You now have an extra month, as the ATO has set a deadline of 31 May.

Xero has built new tools that make it simple for you to check your eligibility for relief, pay employees a wage subsidy and file required reports to the tax office.

Xero’s developers have build these tools in close consultation with the ATO. The features are designed to streamline the process of applying for and processing government relief. It’s just the start of efforts at Xero to make accessing government help easier, so stay tuned for further updates.

Here’s a brief overview of the steps to take, from getting started to processing JobKeeper payments to your employees.

1. Check whether your business is eligible with our turnover calculator

A key criterion for eligibility is showing that your business’ turnover has dropped by 30%, though there are exceptions. The calculator in Xero can determine how much your revenue has changed over a set period of time.

2. Ensure you’ve set up STP and enrol your business with the ATO 

Single Touch Payroll is the simplest route to receiving a JobKeeper subsidy as you’ll be able to easily report each pay run to the ATO. If you’re not on STP, getting started is simple. Once you’re set up, head over to the ATO website to register your business for JobKeeper. 

3. Enroll employees who may be eligible for JobKeeper payments

Xero Payroll will compare the government’s eligibility criteria and data in Xero to suggest a list of employees who are likely to be eligible. To enrol them, head here and simply click “Start JobKeeper.” Select the fortnight in which you want each employee’s JobKeeper payment to start. While you have until 31 May to enrol, the ATO encourages you to do so by the end of April to ensure you receive your JobKeeper payments as soon as possible. Note the Tax Office plans to pay employers one month in arrears.

4. Report JobKeeper payments you’ve made to employees

Xero added a new pay item, “JobKeeper Payment top up,” so that you can accurately report these payments to the ATO. You just need to add the item to your employee’s payslip. Note that businesses can now process payroll after 30 April and still receive a subsidy. Per the ATO: “For the first two fortnights (30 March – 12 April, 13 April – 26 April), we will accept the minimum $1,500 payment for each fortnight has been paid by you even if it has been paid late, provided it is paid by 8 May 2020.”

The ATO also requires that you report details on your revenue and staff numbers each month, which Xero will help you do. Ask the team at Notch about processing payments.

This is a brief overview and we recommend getting in touch with our team at Notch Above Bookkeeping for detailed advice on the JobKeeper program. If you don’t have a business bookkeeper who is across the JobKeeper payment subsidy scheme, contact us today on 07 3355 6427.

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Source: Deadline for JobKeeper is extended. Xero has you covered – Xero Blog (2020). Available at: https://www.xero.com/blog/2020/04/deadline-for-australias-jobkeeper-is-approaching-xero-has-you-covered/?fbclid=IwAR1-gXvIdledLRC1-Orsv1ZHMoEtziMDT6Qiblb5CCU8mOu3B4t-pU3z3Ag (Accessed: 28 April 2020).

Superannuation guarantee amnesty

Superannuation guarantee amnesty bill passed by Parliament

The superannuation guarantee amnesty bill passed Parliament on 24 February and has now received Royal Assent and is law.

This law change provides a number of incentives for employers to pay any unpaid historical superannuation guarantee (SG) amounts relating to the period 1 July 1992 to 31 March 2018.

Superannuation guarantee amnesty benefits

Provided superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) relating to the period above is paid during the amnesty period of 24 May 2018 until 6 months after the date of Royal Assent (6 September 2020), eligible employers will receive the following benefits:

1. The SGC will be deductible

The SGC, which is usually non-deductible, is comprised of the following amounts:

  • the total SG shortfall – that is, the total of the SG shortfalls for each affected employee;
  • interest on SG shortfalls – currently 10% per annum on each individual SG shortfall; and
  • an administration fee – usually $20 per employee, per quarter (but note point 2 below).

2. The administration fee component of the SGC will be waived.
3. No penalties will be applied for failing to lodge an SGC statement.

In usual circumstances, this penalty can be up to 200% of the SGC amount. A further incentive is that if any SG shortfall relating to the period between 1 July 1992 and 31 March 2018 is not disclosed during the amnesty period (24 May 2018 until 6 months after the date of Royal Assent) and this is subsequently uncovered by the Australian Taxation Office, a minimum penalty of 100% of the SGC will apply.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, including the eligibility criteria and how to make a disclosure in the correct form, please contact Notch Above Bookkeeping on 07 3355 6427.

JobKeeper Enrolments Start Monday 20 April

There has been a lot of talk around the JobKeeper payment and at last we have a few more specific details. 

Enrolments will start on Monday and be open for two weeks for the first payment period.

There is a step-by-step process to follow for this scheme which we can do for you to allow you to continue focusing on your business.

The subsidy will be paid for a maximum period of six months, from 30 March 2020 up until 27 September 2020 and may be worth up to $19,500 per eligible employee. It will be paid to eligible businesses monthly in arrears, with the first payment commencing to employers from the first week of May 2020.

Under the scheme, eligible businesses will receive a payment of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee and/or for one eligible business participant.

The questions that need to be answered for your business include:

  • Is my business eligible?
  • Has my business met the reduction in turnover test?
  • Which of my employees are eligible?
  • Do I need to provide top-up payments to employees?

There are changes to the Fair Work Act so that Employers can manage their workforce more flexibly over the next six months.  Please see the detailed information sheet from Fair Work here.  We can’t provide HR advice but this document does summarise the changes.

We could have not foreseen the COVID-19 pandemic and the extent of work required in the Jobkeeper enrolment, applications and ongoing administration that is required to be completed on your behalf to ensure you receive your entitlements. Unfortunately, this is additional work that is outside your current Notch Above Bookkeeping Package.

Please see the details of our offer here.

We are looking forward to managing this process for you.  To ensure we schedule time to register your business during the application open period, please accept so we can schedule in your business application for JobKeeper in our next week’s workload.

Got any questions? Just contact Notch Above Bookkeeping for further clarification on the new subsidy on 07 3355 6427.

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JobKeeper – Waiting on Release of Further Details

No doubt you have questions around the JobKeeper payment and how this works

As you probably are aware the Bill has been passed but as yet we do not have any further details. 

We believe this information will be released shortly and as soon as we know more can let you know.

In the meantime, we encourage you to register your intention to apply for JobKeeper at https://www.ato.gov.au/Job-keeper-payment/ if your business has, or expect it will, experience a drop in turnover.

We can assist with the practicalities of claiming and submitting payment to your employees once the details are released.

There appears to be three areas of work being:

  1. Are my employees eligible?
  2. Has my business experienced a 30% decline in turnover?
  3. What reporting is needed ongoing to receive this payment?

Again, we will let you know what is required when we know more.

Have an enjoyable week ahead and one of our team will be in touch with further details as they come to hand.

Got any questions? Just contact Notch Above Bookkeeping for further clarification on the new subsidy on 07 3355 6427.

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Coronavirus Jobkeeper Payment

Federal Government offers $130b in coronavirus wage subsidies for businesses to pay workers

The Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus.

Around 6 million workers will receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 (before tax) through their employer. The payment ensures eligible employers remain connected to their workforce and will help businesses restart quickly when the crisis is over.

Information for employers

If your business has been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus you will be able to access a wages subsidy to continue paying your employees. Under the JobKeeper program, you will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of six months. This assistance will help you keep staff and will help you restart when the crisis is over.

To register your interest, please visit the Australian Taxation Office: https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/?=redirected_JobKeeper

What employers will need to do is reach out to their banks knowing that they will have this confirmed money flow coming from tax office, namely from the Government, and then that will give them the ability to pay their employees. 

Information for employees

The JobKeeper payment helps businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus cover the costs of their employees’ wages, so more Australians can retain their jobs and continue to earn an income. Your employer will notify you if they intend to claim the fortnightly payment of $1,500 on your behalf.

Got any questions? Just contact us for further clarification on the new subsidy on 07 3355 6427.

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Source: JobKeeper payment | Treasury.gov.au (2020). Available at: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/jobkeeper (Accessed: 30 March 2020).
Notch Above Brisbane Bookkeeping

Australian modern awards changes

Get ready: Changes to Australian modern awards coming in March

If you’re an Australian employer, you may be aware that changes are coming to modern awards that will require added compliance.

The Fair Work Commission announced its final decision last year amid media stories of employers underpaying workers. The new award requirements took effect 1 March 2020.

Many businesses will need to review employment contracts and update their HR and payroll practices in the coming weeks. If you’re an employer who uses Xero Payroll, you’ll want to ensure you’re compliant. These are just a few of the tasks that will apply to an enlarged group of 22 modern awards:

  • Annual calculations of what the employee would have been paid under the award compared with the annualised wage actually paid (with reconciliations and back pay of any shortfalls)
  • Recording start and finish times, as well as any unpaid breaks taken by each employee subject to an annualised wage arrangement (in order to perform the calculations and reconciliations as listed above)
  • Records must be signed by employees or acknowledged as correct in writing (including electronic methods) with each pay period/roster cycle. 

Some employers will also need to advise employees of the formula that was used to determine their annual salary and any excess hours of work not covered by their annual salary.

Tools to help

Third-party apps

Many Xero subscribers already use third-party apps that integrate with Xero Payroll. These apps can handle rostering and timesheets. You’ll want to investigate which ones might be a good fit for your situation come 1 March.

Fair Work resources

There’s an app and timesheet template available from Fair Work. While the Fair Work app is a standalone resource, you can export information and enter it manually into Xero. And the timesheet template may be useful for those disinclined to record details via electronic methods.

Expert advice

If you have questions about how to interpret the awards and stay compliant, consult an expert who can steer you through the rules as they apply to you. 

Specialising in Xero bookkeeping, Notch Above are Brisbane bookkeepers offering Xero setup, as well as training and ongoing support. Call us on 07 3355 6427.
Source Xero

Super Guarantee amnesty

SG amnesty idea re-surfaces, but with an extended period of application

Last year’s announcement of an amnesty for employers who come forward to correct underpayments of their super guarantee obligations has been resurrected in a new bill.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Recovering Unpaid Superannuation) Bill 2019, however, extends the period of grace that will allow employers who come clean to not have the usual additional penalties applied (the unpaid super will still need to be provided to affected employees).

While the originally proposed legislation had the amnesty running from 24 May 2018 to 23 May 2019, the new bill maintains the start date but extends the period it applies to six months after the bill becomes law (if it passes).

To get the benefits of the amnesty, employers must during the period it applies have voluntarily disclosed any superannuation guarantee (SG) underpayments that exist in the past (going as far back to when SG commenced in 1992). For an employer, the tax benefits of the amnesty are to be:

  • the administration component of the superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) is not payable (this is a $20 per employee, per quarter, for whom there is an SG shortfall)
  • remission of any Part 7 penalty, which can be up to 200% of the SGC
  • all catch-up payments made during the 12-month amnesty period are tax deductible.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said when introducing the bill: “This is a one-off opportunity to set things right, and going forward the ATO has the tools to spot unpaid super.”

Jane Hume, Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, says that employers who don’t take advantage of the amnesty “will face significantly higher penalties when they are subsequently caught”.

Once the amnesty ends, the ATO will have a reduced ability to remit Part 7 penalties. If legislated, the ATO would generally not be able to remit such penalties to less than 100% of the SG charge, except where there are “exceptional circumstances”.

If you have any payroll concerns in the meantime, please call the team at Notch Above Bookkeeping in Brisbane on 07 3355 6427.

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Single Touch Payroll deadline passed

The Single Touch Payroll (STP) deadline passed with only a small percentage of businesses compliant

The ATO has issued a reminder that the STP mandatory adoption deadline has passed.

While the initial deadline was 1 July 2019, the ATO provided a three month transition period for employers that needed more time.

The 30 September deadline has passed.

While the number of employers reporting through STP tripled during the transition period, from 100,000 to 350,000 at 16 September according to the ATO, this is still drastically short of the overall employer business population number.

According to an Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) report to July 2019, there are 823,551 small employing businesses in Australia. That would put the STP reporting figure quoted by the ATO at a mere 42.5% of its aspired compliance goal.

That word “employing” is important.

Using the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) definition of a small business (less than 20 employees), ASBFEO data records that there are 2,259,098 small businesses operating that have between zero and 19 employees. However the majority of these (62%) are sole traders with no employees, with another 27% being micro-businesses with 1 to 4 employees.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Jason Lucchese has assured smaller employers that the ATO’s approach will be “flexible, reasonable and pragmatic with no penalties for mistakes, missed or late reports for the first year”.

He also reminds business owners that there are concessions available for employers who don’t have access to a reliable internet connection, as well as those that employ family members or other “closely held” payees, one to four employees, and intermittent or seasonal workers.

To help small employers better understand their options, the ATO has developed a range of handy factsheets and other resources, which are available on ato.gov.au/stp. Tax or BAS agents can apply for a deferral on behalf of our clients. For more information about deferrals, visit ato.gov.au/STPdeferrals.

Notch Above can take care of all the bookkeeping tasks you would rather not do, like bank reconciliations, supplier payments, payroll processing, invoicing and debtor management and BAS returns. We set up systems and checklists to ensure nothing is missed and things are processed when it suits you. We can be involved as little or as much as you like, we give you the flexibility to decide what’s best for your business. Call us today on 07 3355 6427.

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Notch Above Brisbane Bookkeeping

STP transition year for large employers has ended

Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting started for large employers (20 or more employees) from 1 July 2018.

The 12 month transition period for large employers to start STP reporting ended on 30 June 2019.

The ATO will soon contact large employers who have yet to start reporting through STP and who are not covered by a deferral.

If your business has a lodgment deferral, you need to start STP reporting before the deferral end date. Failure to lodge on time penalties may apply if you fail to start reporting within a reasonable period.

Notch Above can take care of all the bookkeeping tasks you would rather not do, like bank reconciliations, supplier payments, payroll processing, invoicing and debtor management and BAS returns. We set up systems and checklists to ensure nothing is missed and things are processed when it suits you. We can be involved as little or as much as you like, we give you the flexibility to decide what’s best for your business. Call us today on 07 3355 6427.

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