According to the Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office, an error has been made regarding the estimated number of employees who can access the JobKeeper program. It was initially planned to cover around 6 million workers, but they had revised the estimate to only around 3.5 million. They stated that the estimate reflects the not-so-severe impact of health restrictions being imposed as expected.
Meanwhile, the ATO has extended the deadline to lodge the monthly declaration to every 14th day after the end of the month instead of the initial 7th day after the end of the month.
However, they stated that JobKeeper payments will be released based on when the declaration has been lodged. This means that the sooner businesses comply, the sooner they will be able to receive their JobKeeper payments.
On another news, the ATO has released guidance aim to soften the rules regarding the claiming of deductions for home office expenses. This is in line with the increasing number of taxpayers who were forced to work from home due to the pandemic.
First, they have decreased the requirements individuals need to be able to claim expenses. In most cases, this can be applicable to individuals who need a specific area at home for work-related purposes. Specifically, the ATO allows individuals to claim home office expenses if they are working from home to fulfill their office duties or are running their own business which, as a result, caused them to incur additional running expenses.
There are three main mechanisms that will allow taxpayers to calculate the allowed deduction:
- First is the actual expenses which can be computed by taking the actual expenses incurred alongside the percentage of business or work for calculating the deduction.
- Second is the “normal” set rate method using the set rate of 52 cents per hour then claiming separate deductions for other expenses like phones, computers, and the internet.
- The last one is the “shortcut” set rate method which allows individuals to claim 80 cents per hour, though this one will cover all expenses mentioned in the “normal” set rate method.
Taxpayers will have the freedom to choose which method works for them, specifically the one that can provide them with the biggest deductions.