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I’m a sole trader. How do I access JobKeeper?

How do sole traders access JobKeeper? Source: Getty
How do sole traders access JobKeeper? Source: Getty

Staff whose employers are eligible for the $1,500 per fortnight JobKeeper Payment will simply start receiving their wage subsidies in their bank accounts - but for sole traders, it’s a little less straightforward.

Usually the business entity receives the wage subsidy, and must pass it on to their employees.

However, because sole traders operate as both the business entity and an eligible business participant, they are entitled to hold on to the JobKeeper Payment themselves.

Here’s how it works.

Is my business eligible for JobKeeper?

Your business entity will be eligible for the payment if:

  • On March 1 2020, it was a business in Australia;

  • Your business experienced a fall in turnover of at least 30 per cent;

  • It satisfies the follow conditions as at 12 March:

    • Had an ABN, and;

    • Had lodged at least one 2018-19 income tax return showing it had an amount included in its assessable income, or an activity statement or GST return for any tax period that started after 1 July 2018 and ended before 12 March 2020 showing that it made a taxable, GST-free or input-taxed sale.

Am I an eligible business participant?

If you are a sole trader, you qualify as an eligible business participant if, as at 1 March 2020:

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  • You are at least 16 years old; and

  • You are an Australian resident, or a resident for income tax purposes and the holder of a special category (Subclass 444 visa),

You must also satisfy the below requirements:

  • Not currently receiving government parental leave pay, dad and partner pay;

  • Not currently totally incapacitated for work and receiving payments under an Australian workers’ compensation law in respect of your total incapacity to work;

  • Not be an employee (other than a casual employee) of another entity;

  • Not have given another entity a JobKeeper nomination notice.

How do I apply for JobKeeper?

If you satisfy the above criteria, you can enrol for JobKeeper online through the Australian Taxation Office portal on the MyGov site, or the Business Portal using myGovID.

You’ll then be able to enrol and nominate by confirming:

  • Your business has experienced a fall in turnover of at least 30%;

  • Expected number of eligible employees (if you have them);

  • Your bank and contact details for payment; and

  • You are a sole trader nominating as an eligible business participant.

Each month, you’ll need to reconfirm yourself as a sole trader through the ATO portal on myGov, in the Business Portal, or by your registered tax or BAS agent.

You’ll also need to provide information as to your current and projected GST turnover.

According to the ATO, this isn’t a retest of your eligibility, but rather an indication of how your business is progressing under the JobKeeper Payment scheme.

When can I enrol?

Payments will start flowing from 1 May, and will be backdated to 30 March.

To ensure you receive your JobKeeper payments as early possible, you should enrol by the end of April.

However, enrolments are open till the end of May if you need more time.

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