Accountants welcome JobSaver changes

Tumut accountant Steven Walker has given changes to the NSW Government’s JobSaver support program which will help regional businesses the thumbs up. 

New guidelines published by the NSW Government will make it easier for regional NSW businesses to access JobSaver support, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) said. 

It comes after some of the most challenging weeks on record for business owners and accountants alike, as they navigate the Covid-19 lockdown, impacts on workflows, employees and clients, and support packages from Governments.

Chartered Accountants have experienced a substantial increase in enquiries from regional small business owners as they scramble to understand if they qualify for the payment, and how to access it.

CA ANZ Tax Leader Michael Croker said Service NSW updating its guidelines provides much-needed clarity around the eligibility criteria for regional businesses.

“Although JobSaver has always been accessible to regional businesses adversely impacted by the Greater Sydney lockdown such as tourism operators reliant on travellers from Sydney, businesses in country NSW which have only been impacted since the commencement of regional lockdowns can now also apply.

“We commend NSW government officials for working closely with professional associations such as CA ANZ, hearing our feedback and rolling out the changes,” Croker said.

“Weekly meetings are now being held with accounting bodies and a range of follow-up issues remain on the agenda.

“The original eligibility requirements of JobSaver required a business to show a declined turnover between June 26 to August 28. 

“The August 28 end date has now been dropped, and the decline in turnover testing can occur any time on or after June 26.

Other conditions include a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent, and an employee retention obligation for those businesses which have employees.

“JobSaver is designed for businesses with aggregated turnover between $75,000 and $250 million for the year ended June 30,” said Croker.

Mr Walker said he thought overall that the accountancy profession welcomes these changes as they provide “much needed clarity and certainty for regional businesses who are now seeing the  impact that these lockdowns are having on their bottom line and cash flow, albeit later than those in metropolitan areas.”

“What this means is businesses in our region who only began to suffer once the regions went into lockdown can apply, and if eligible, receive JobSaver from the start of the regional lockdown,” he said.

“That’s great for businesses like our local hair salons and retail outlets. “Right now many local businesses are feeling the pinch and require help. If the NSW Government is going to shut us down then they have to step up to the mark and pay. 

However, Mr Walker believes that whether this current level of support will be sufficient will depend upon how long we remain in lockdown. “Eligibility requirements are a fluid situation at present but the accountancy profession stands ready to work closely with local businesses to determine their eligibility under the revised JobSaver rules,” he said.