Covid-19 Tax Updates – Extension of Home Office Expenses

The temporary shortcut method for calculating home office expenses has now been extended to 31 December 2020, after it was due to expire at the end of September.
Taxpayers have been able to apply the 80 cents per hour method since March, after the ATO introduced the temporary method in light of COVID-19 restrictions forcing many workers to adopt remote working practices.
The extension comes as most workers in metropolitan Melbourne continue to be barred from returning to their workplace as the Victorian government works through its reopening roadmap.

JobKeeper Extension Instructions

Each month, eligible businesses participating in the JobKeeper Scheme must make a declaration to the ATO to claim JobKeeper payments. The ‘monthly business declaration’ must be made by the 14th day after the end of the month for which JobKeeper payments are being claimed and can be lodged through the ATO’s business portal. Alternatively, we can lodge the declarations on behalf of our clients through our portal.

How to make a JobKeeper monthly business declaration

Before making a declaration, businesses with employees  should ensure they have paid each eligible employee the relevant amount (before tax) for each JobKeeper fortnight being claimed.
For JobKeeper 2.0 Extension Period 1 (which runs from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021), this is $1,200 for Tier 1 employees (broadly, eligible employees who worked 80 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March or 1 July 2020) and $750 for Tier 2 employees (i.e., for all other eligible non-Tier 1 employees) and includes sole traders and other Eligible business participants.

As part of the monthly business declaration, businesses will need to:
  • re-confirm their reported eligible employees and eligible business participant (if there is one);
  • re-confirm the financial institution details for receiving JobKeeper payments; and
  • provide the current GST turnover of the business for the month being declared and the following month’s projected GST turnover.

For example, to claim JobKeeper payments for the October 2020 JobKeeper fortnights, a business must make a declaration to report its current GST turnover for the month of October 2020, as well as its projected GST turnover for the month of November 2020 to the ATO by 14 November 2020.