The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has issued a stern warning to not-for-profit (NFP) businesses misusing JobKeeper.
While the ATO acknowledged the vast majority of NFPs were doing the right thing, it said it would keep a close eye on those deliberately engaging in fraudulent or illegal behaviour.
“We are checking JobKeeper applications, and if we identify fraudulent behaviour, we are undertaking a range of compliance activities to ensure fairness for all people and organisations who are doing the right thing,” the ATO said.
And three behaviours in particular will attract the tax man’s attention:
Payments to employers who do not meet the eligibility requirements for JobKeeper, or do not have eligible employees;
Falsifying records or revising activity statements to meet the fall in turnover test;
Applying for JobKeeper where there is no evidence of being an eligible not-for-profit organisation, or an ACNC registered charity.
“We continue to work closely with the sector, monitoring behaviours and trends that may attract our attention,” the ATO said.
ATO conducting checks on dodgy JobKeeper claims
It’s the second warning the ATO has issued to businesses falsely claiming JobKeeper.
“Our tax system works on a self-assessment model. We will generally operate on the basis Australians are honest, meaning we will accept the information we are provided with as true and correct and make payments,” ATO deputy commissioner Will Day said earlier this month.
“However, we will be conducting checks later, so if you've received a benefit as part of the Covid-19 stimulus measures and we discover you are ineligible, you can expect to hear from us. If you think this may apply to you, you should contact us or speak to your tax professional.”
The ATO said it had already received examples of fraudulent attempts to access the scheme and “steal money from the community”.
I receive JobKeeper. Do I claim this at tax time?
If you are receiving the JobKeeper subsidy, it’s important to note that this is taxable income, and it must be declared in your tax return.
The payment will automatically be added to your income statement (formerly known as your group certificate) by your employer , but it’s best to check before you submit your tax return that the amount is there.
If you’re a sole trade however, you probably wouldn’t have paid any tax on these amounts yet, so you’ll need to ensure you declare this as business income on your tax return.
“Make sure you’ve included the correct amounts in your tax return to stay out of trouble,” H&R Block’s director of tax communications, Mark Chapman said.
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