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Invest

‘Reporting error’ sees $60bn slashed from JobKeeper

  • May 22 2020
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Invest

‘Reporting error’ sees $60bn slashed from JobKeeper

By Grace Ormsby
May 22 2020

Only 3.5 million Australians are set to receive JobKeeper payments after the Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office revealed a “reporting error”.

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‘Reporting error’ sees $60bn slashed from JobKeeper

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  • May 22 2020
  • Share

Only 3.5 million Australians are set to receive JobKeeper payments after the Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office revealed a “reporting error”.

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A joint statement from the Treasury and the ATO has outlined how the enrolment forms of more than 900,000 businesses who self-assessed as eligible provided an initial indication that the program would cover around 6.5 million eligible employees.

Since then, the ATO has found “around 1,000 of those businesses appear to have made significant errors when reporting the estimate of eligible employees on their enrolment form”.

The statement explained that the most common error saw businesses reporting the amount of assistance they expected to receive, instead of reporting the number of employees they expected to be eligible. Apparently more than 500 businesses with “one” eligible employee reported a figure of “1,500” (which is the amount of JobKeeper payment they would expect to receive for each fortnight for that employee).

The reporting error came to light after analysis of the amounts being paid out under the scheme.

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According to the Tax Office, it was not picked up earlier “as their primary focus in the first fortnight of JobKeeper payments was on ensuring that JobKeeper payments were paid promptly to those eligible for them, and not paid to those who were ineligible”.

In light of the take-up of the scheme to date, remaining enrolments, and that the scheme remains open to new registrations, Treasury has recalculated the number of employees it expects to benefit from the scheme – to 3.5 million Australian workers at a cost of around $70 billion.

The government departments initially expected 6.5 million Australians would have access to the program at a cost of $130 billion.

Despite the adjustment, “Treasury’s overall view of the labour market is unaffected by this reporting error”.

According to the government, “the difference between Treasury’s estimates at the time and the number of employees now accessing the JobKeeper program partly reflects the level and impact of health restrictions not having been as severe as expected and their imposition not having been maintained for as long as expected at the time”.

“The variation in estimates also reflects the inherent uncertainty associated with estimating the take‑up of a demand-driven program in the current circumstances.”

More to come.

‘Reporting error’ sees $60bn slashed from JobKeeper
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About the author

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Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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