The ATO has been swarmed with tip-offs about businesses allegedly doing the wrong thing and rorting the JobKeeper stimulus payment.
According to information supplied to MyBusiness, as at 26 August, the Tax Office has received roughly 8,000 JobKeeper tip-offs in relation to over 6,250 entities, noting multiple tip-offs received for some entities.
“When we receive information through a tip-off, we will cross-check the information and assess whether further action is required,” an ATO spokesperson said.
“This further action may include helping and educating the employer to understand employee eligibility requirements, with the intent that the eligibility status is clarified and eligible employees are then included by their employer in their JobKeeper claims.”
Employers found guilty of deliberately rorting the system face penalties of up to $126,000 or up to 10 years in prison.
But despite the high number of tip-offs and an identified 15,000 businesses that have been deemed ineligible since enrolling for the payment, the ATO has yet to hand out a single financial penalty.
“These entities have been formally advised of the reasons for their ineligibility, together with their review rights,” the ATO confirmed.
Commenting on the high number of tip-offs, the Tax Office said it will work with people to help rectify and overcome genuine mistakes.
“We know that the overwhelming majority of Australians are honest and we want to see this assistance reach those who need it most,” it said.
“Like Australia’s income tax system, the JobKeeper scheme is designed on self-assessment, and the onus is on the applicant to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria as well as ensuring the information they provide is correct.”
Explaining the tip-off process, the ATO said that when one is received, it is cross-checked and assessed to determine if further action is required.
This further action may include helping and educating the employer to understand employee eligibility requirements, with the intent that the eligibility status is clarified and eligible employees are then included by their employer in their JobKeeper claims.
Where the ATO considers that the employer is seeking to obtain JobKeeper benefits they are not entitled to or they have not self-corrected after a help and educate contact, they will typically be subject to a review.
Outcomes may include taking action to prevent future incorrect claims and recovering overpayments where it is determined that the overpayment is not due to an honest mistake. Where appropriate, this action may also include the imposition of penalties.