JobKeeper’s Final Days

As Australia prepares for the end of JobKeeper, accounting and legal professionals press the Government to hold off on drastic changes to the scheme. 

Experiencing the Covid-19 crisis mostly through the eyes of clients, Accounting Firms like Walker Hill, who specialise in small to medium business, offered clients assistance to apply for, and correctly declare, the so-called “pandemic payment.”

The Australian Government’s JobKeeper scheme, valued at $130 billion, has helped to keep more than 835,000 businesses continue to operate and around 5.5 million workers in a job.

JobKeeper is set to finish in September, however Treasurer Josh Frydenberg indicated last month that the Federal Government will be making changes to the wage subsidy scheme as early as next month.

On the 23rd July, Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will present the results of the JobKeeper review as well as an updated budget.

“Australians know there is no money tree… what we borrow today, we must repay in the future,” Frydenberg emphasised in May’s budget update speech.

Accounting Professionals Urge Government to “Taper Off” JobKeeper Scheme

Accounting groups, including CPA Australia, have called on the Government to taper off the program across the economy. Whilst approximately 120,000 childcare workers will stop receiving JobKeeper in July, the accounting groups predict further sudden and drastic changes to JobKeeper will “erode confidence” for Australians in the scheme.

A joint submission recently made by groups such as The Law Council of Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand pleaded with the Government to consult with tax professionals ahead of any changes. They have also called for the Governement to limit such changes before September. The Federal Government has so far not budged.

Tax Professional Input Encouraged

The joint submission also highlighted the critical role that the tax profession has played in assisting Australians to access the payment.

Accountants and Bookkeepers are working hard this tax season, first getting businesses into JobKeeper, and now making sure assessable income is in tip-top shape.

“In a relatively short period of time, the tax profession has had the responsibility of firstly establishing a clear understanding of the program and then disseminating this information to their clients in order to navigate access to the program,” the joint bodies said in the submission.

“Most of the heavy lifting regarding implementation was undertaken by tax professionals through the investment of a significant amount of time and effort…. It would be greatly appreciated that this group has some involvement and input in any proposed changes to the program.”

As always, we are happy to do the heavy lifting for our clients here at Walker Hill . As we welcome in a new financial year, please don’t hesitate to let us know if there is anything we can do to make the transition into July, and September, of 2020 any easier.