Enrolment is now open for the government’s $130 billion JobKeeper Payment scheme.

The JobKeeper payment is open to eligible employers, sole traders and other entities to enable them to pay their eligible employee’s salary or wages of at least $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight.

Who is eligible employer?

You will be an eligible employer if you satisfy all of the following:

  • On 1 March 2020 you carried on a business in Australia (or were a NFP organisation that pursued your objective principally in Australia)
  • Employed at least 1 eligible employee on 1 March 2020
  • Employ eligible employees in your business for the fortnights you claim for
  • You pass the turnover test; and
  • You are not an ineligible employer (e.g. company in liquidation, individual who has entered bankruptcy)  

What is turnover test?

At the time you enrol in the JobKeeper payment scheme, you need to confirm that your business in a relevant period has had or is likely to have at least 30% fall in the turnover.

You only need to satisfy the requirement once. i.e. you don’t need to retest your turnover each month. However, you will be asked each month to notify the ATO your current and projected turnover.

How to calculate fall in your turnover for the purpose of turnover test?

Let’s say you are calculating a fall in turnover for the first fortnight starting 30 March 2020. To work out fall in turnover, you will need to compare either:

  • Turnover for March 2020 with turnover for March 2019;
  • Projected turnover for April 2020 with turnover for April 2019; or
  • Projected turnover for quarter ending June 2020 with turnover for quarter ending June 2019

What if I don’t have a comparison period?

There may be situations where the turnover in the corresponding period in 2019 does not provide an appropriate relevant comparison. This might be due to the entity recently commenced a new business.

In this situation there is an Alternative test that you will need to consider (More to come on this).

Calculating the turnover

The turnover in referred to as GST turnover (as it is based on the definition in the GST ACT with some modification for JobKeeper payment scheme purposes).

The amounts included in calculating current or projected turnover however are same regardless of whether you are GST registered or not.  

If you are carrying on multiple businesses in the entity, you will need to combine turnover from each business.

In calculating the current or projected turnover for your business, you will need to exclude the following:

  • GST you included in sales to your customers (for GST registered businesses)
  • Input taxed sales (e.g. bank interest income, sale of shares, residential rental income)
  • Sales that are not in connection with your business (e.g. sale of private car)
  • Sales that are not made for a payment (e.g. sales made to an associate for no payment)
  • Any payments that are not sales or supplies (e.g. JobKeeper payments)
  • Sales not connected with Australia (e.g. sale of property located outside Australia, sales made through a business you carry on outside Australia, sales of goods purchased and sold from a place outside Australia)
  • Also, sales arising from any structural changes or restructuring of the business

Cash or accruals method

You may use accruals method for calculating both current and projected turnover as both requires you to include sales that you have made or are likely to make without any reference to when you are paid.   

If you prepare your activity statements on cash basis, then ATO will accept cash method for calculation of current and projected turnover.

Projected turnover

You are required to estimate based on what you expect to happen for the future period. Based on ATO’s guidance the relevant consideration include:

  • The period during which the business is not expected to trade because it has been closed due to the coronavirus, or its ability to trade has been restricted
  • Recent patterns in trading that are expected to continue
  • Revised business plans

The reasons for the fall or expected fall in the business turnover is not defined or prescribed by the ATO, and is not limited to the direct impacts of the coronavirus.  

Next steps

You will need to enrol for the JobKeeper payment using ATO’ online services.

The initial deadline for eligible employers to enrol for receiving the JobKeeper payment subsidy has been extended to 30 April 2020.

After you have worked out you are an eligible employer, you then need to check whether your employee or employees are eligible.

Frequently asked questions

Please refer to publication from the treasury for some frequently asked questions



The information posted here should not be considered legal, tax or financial advice and is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified professional. We do not answer specific legal or financial questions.

The material contained on this website is general commentary only and should not be regarded as advice. Accordingly, no person should rely on any of the contents of this website without first obtaining specific advice from qualified professional.