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Commissioner provides more clarity on JobKeeper 2.0 alternative tests

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
24 September 2020 2 minute readShare

The Commissioner of Taxation has registered the legislative instrument which sets out the new alternative decline in turnover tests ahead of the commencement of the second phase of JobKeeper on 28 September.

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Alternative Decline in Turnover Test Rules (No. 2) 2020 legislative instrument has now been registered, revealing the approach the commissioner will take when determining eligibility for the JobKeeper extension.

Earlier this week, ATO Assistant Commissioner James O’Halloran told MyBusiness that Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan will continue to have the ability under the law to release alternative tests. And following the release of the revised alternative tests, it appears not much has changed from the original document.


“Each of the alternative turnover tests from the former instrument [has] been retained and modified,” the explanatory statement reads.

As such, the seven circumstances in which the alternative tests will be available to entities remain the same.


They include:

  • entities that were launched after the first day of the relevant comparison period in 2019;
  • entities that acquired or disposed of part of their business at, or after, the start of the relevant comparison period in 2019;
  • entities that restructure part or all of their business at, or after, the start of the relevant comparison period;
  • entities that have had a substantial increase in GST turnover;
  • entities affected by drought or other natural disasters;
  • entities with irregular current GST turnover that is not cyclical, such as can occur in the building and construction sector; and
  • sole trader or small partnerships with sickness, injury or leave.

The main difference between the original alternative tests and the tests offered under the extension is that entities must now satisfy the actual decline in turnover test, which uses the current GST turnover instead of a projection.

That is, an entity’s current GST turnover for the months of July, August and September 2020 must show a sufficient decline compared with their current GST turnover for the relevant comparison period for them to be eligible for JobKeeper for fortnights from 28 September 2020, and similarly using the months of October, November and December for eligibility for the JobKeeper fortnights from 4 March 2021.

Moreover, entities must also still satisfy the original decline in turnover test that uses projected GST turnover.



Speaking to MyBusiness earlier this week, Mr O’Halloran said the ATO will continue helping businesses with regard to the alternative tests so they can continue moving on with the JobKeeper payments.

With regard to the ATO’s system, Mr O’Halloran noted last week to the Senate Select Committee that it has had more time to improve the administering of the alternative test.

“[This] is from a user-friendly point of view so that we don’t present unnecessary choices to people,” the assistant commissioner said. 

“Once people indicate that they’re going to use an alternative rather than the comparable period, and some of those sorts of things, we’ll be able to present them with certain information which will allow us to identify that, but which will also give them the range of choices under the commissioner’s allied legislative instruments and the like.

“That will help them understand... and obviously refer them to relevant material. We’ll have visibility of that, which will help us not only make sure it’s fit for purpose, it will also give us the ability to answer your question more easily and tailor the presentation to people to assist them.”

You can watch the MyBusiness webcast on JobKeeper 2.1 by clicking here.

To view the legislative instrument's explanatory statement, click here.

Commissioner provides more clarity on JobKeeper 2.0 alternative tests
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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