The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) have indicated they will investigate any organisations who have claimed the JobKeeper subsidy where there may be concerns of fraudulent behaviour.
In extreme cases, employers found to have knowingly made a false claim for JobKeeper payments could be fined up to $126,000 or 10 years in prison.
If an employer is found not to be entitled to the subsidy, it may have to repay the monies, plus any interest and an administrative penalty of up to 75% on the shortfall amount.
If the Commissioner determines that the employer was running a scheme to obtain the JobKeeper payments, then there could also be criminal investigations into the employer’s activities.
The ATO advised that there were 11 ongoing serious criminal investigations led by the Australian Federal Police and a further 50 matters under investigation.
Plan: Check the guidance published on the ATO’s website to ensure you meet the updated eligibility criteria and understand the wage conditions for all employees under Tiers 1 and 2 for both extension periods.
Extension 1: 28 September, 2020 to 3 January, 2021
Tier 1: $1,200 per fortnight
Tier 2: $750 per fortnight
Extension 2: 4 January, 2021 to 28 March, 2021
Tier 1: $1,000 per fortnight
Tier 2: $650 per fortnight
Protect: Maintain accurate records of all payments made and received so you can demonstrate you satisfy the eligibility requirements (see actual decline in turnover test).
Respond: If your business is subject to an investigation by the ATO, or you have any concerns about your eligibility for claims pending or submitted, please contact Rockwell Bates and one of our Private Client tax lawyers for advice.