The ATO have released some guidance about what they will do if a business is found to have over claimed JobKeeper.
Due to the extraordinary circumstances in the early stages of the JobKeeper program, overpayments may have been made in error as businesses moved quickly to access JobKeeper payments.
If a JobKeeper overpayment is identified, the ATO may decide the overpayment does not have to be repaid, particularly if there was an honest mistake. This decision is made on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Factors that may be considered include whether:
- you relied in good faith on a statement made by an employee in their nomination notice
- you fully passed on the benefit of the JobKeeper payment to the relevant employee
- the mistake was made earlier in JobKeeper when there was less public guidance.
They consider a mistake to be honest if it is reasonable to have made the mistake in your circumstance.
A mistake will not be considered honest if:
- fraud was perpetrated by either the JobKeeper recipient or another entity
- there has been intentional disregard of the law or recklessness in its application
- the entity nominated employees, business participants, or religious practitioners that it should have known would not satisfy eligibility requirements
- the employer has deliberately not met the wage condition
- the entity has been contacted by the ATO about its claim potentially being ineligible and has not taken reasonable steps to check the eligibility before making claims in the future.
Note: this is not an exhaustive list and there may be other circumstances where a mistake is not considered honest.
Generally, they will not impose administrative penalties for JobKeeper overpayments that were the result of a mistake. However, administrative penalties will apply if there is evidence of deliberate actions to get JobKeeper payments that an entity would not have otherwise been entitled to.
If you have Auditshield in place, they will cover for a review into JobKeeper by the ATO
As always, please contact one of the team if you have any questions or concerns.