JobKeeper 2.0 is about to begin: here’s what you need to know

Like most sequels, JobKeeper 2.0 won’t be as big a blockbuster as the original. But that’s not to say it won’t help many SMEs navigate the difficult times ahead. Today we’ll cover what you need to know about making the transition for your business.

It’s hard to believe that JobKeeper 2.0 is due to begin next week.

But it’s actually been half a year (or 13 fortnightly payments) since the scheme was first launched, over which time around 42% of small businesses have accessed it, according to a MYOB survey.

Today we’ll look at whether your business might be eligible for JobKeeper 2.0, and if not, some other potential options that might be worth considering instead.

28 September 2020, JobKeeper extension 1 starts

The first extension will cover seven JobKeeper fortnights between 28 September 2020 and 3 January 2021.

The rates of the JobKeeper payment in this extension period are:

Tier 1: $1,200 per fortnight (for eligible employees or business partners who worked 80+ hours within a four week designated period)

Tier 2: $750 per fortnight (all other eligible employees and eligible business participants).

To claim JobKeeper payments for this period, you will need to show that your GST turnover has declined in the September 2020 quarter relative to a comparable period (generally the corresponding quarter in 2019).

But here’s the good news just in: if the quarter ending 30 September 2019 is not an appropriate comparison period, you may be able to use the alternative tests, the ATO has just confirmed.

These alternative tests are broadly in line with the original seven alternative test circumstances, and cover businesses that started after the comparison period, had a substantial increase in turnover, had an irregular turnover, or were affected by drought or a natural disaster.

The key difference this time around, however, is that the tests must be applied on the basis that the turnover test period is a quarter (rather than the choice between a month or quarter, which you had for the first version of JobKeeper).

What if my business is no longer eligible for JobKeeper?

If your business is no longer eligible for JobKeeper, please know there may be other financing options available to assist you through the coming period.

One option to explore is the federal government’s Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, which allows lenders to provide eligible SMEs unsecured loans more cheaply and more freely than regular business loans.

Another potential option is something like invoice financing, which brings forward payment of your invoices so you have cash in hand sooner, rather than having to wait for your client/s to cough up the cash.

But to be honest, there’s a whole range of possible routes available, some of which might suit your business, others that won’t.

To discuss your options, your best bet is to get in touch with a finance professional so they can sit down with you and see how they help you work out a path moving forward.

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