Resources | In the Loop: March 2021

In the Loop: March 2021

March 9, 2021

Why are some businesses returning JobKeeper to the ATO?

Several businesses that received the JobKeeper payment have, in fact, returned it with thanks to the Australian taxpayer, stating that the claims were initially made during a time of uncertainty. By using the payment, businesses such as Toyota, Dominos and Super Retail Group could ensure that their staff were kept in jobs. After weathering the storm better than most, some even turning record quarters, these businesses, although not legally required to return the payments, believed it to be in good faith to do so, recognising the purpose of the assistance package and no longer needing it.

The ATO is now working on determining overpayments and contacting companies that they believe need to return some or all of the JobKeeper assistance payments. The ATO will contact you with information on how much and how repayments should be paid if your business is one of these. 

Taxpayers can object to an overpayment assessment, so contact Dillon Partners immediately on (03) 9696 1788 if you receive word that you are under scrutiny. We can work with the ATO on your behalf.

COVID-19 Vaccinations and the Workplace

Since the 21st of February 2021, our country has begun the vaccination program against COVID-19. This was followed by many questions regarding employer and employee rights and vaccination enforcement. 

Essentially, there are no current public health orders in Australia, specifically enabling employers to require a COVID-19 vaccination in their business. However, the Fair Work Ombudsman has stated that there will be “limited circumstances where an employer may require their employees to be vaccinated”. Should employees working in these positions not wish to have a vaccination, then employers must follow standard disciplinary action as this will have a negative impact on the employee’s ability to perform their role appropriately.

An employer can only request to view an employee’s vaccination records if their reasons are lawful and reasonable. Thankfully, individuals can easily access their records through their myGov account.

FBT 2021: Tax & Employee Benefits

Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) is fraught with paperwork, made further complex with the COVID-19 lockdowns as working behaviour and patterns are more erratic. It is a payment to an employee or associate that is different from standard wages or a salary. 

If you are not FBT registered, then it is critical to understand whether fringe benefits have been provided. The ATO is looking closely at any unregistered businesses to determine any mismatches in data. 

Such ‘hotspots’ include entertainment deductions with no corresponding fringe benefits data and employee contributions that reduce FBT but are not found in Income Tax returns. The ATO, as a result of COVID-19, are changing the way they are approaching FBT compliance with several factors such as emergency assistance for flights and accommodation, health care and company car use being overlooked. Do contact us for more information and support with these details.

The Pandemic Productivity Gap

We see a widening productivity gap between top-performing companies and the rest, with only a few able to efficiently and effectively capitalise on the latest technology and make it work to their benefit. 

Besides, workdays for employees are longer as individuals have been unable to properly separate work and home life. Although days are longer, they are not as productive, with a study from Atlassian’s data scientists showing that the intensity during ‘normal’ hours is generally decreasing. 

Better companies have been able to engage with their employees more effectively, resulting in higher productivity, minimise wasted time, keeping employees focused and capitalised on changing work patterns to their benefit. 

The productivity gap, which has always been there, has now been amplified tenfold by the effects of the pandemic.

Dillon Partners are here to help you and your business, call us on (03) 9696 1788 or fill out our contact form.