Most people would think that money provided by the Government to support people and business during a crisis would be tax free? Otherwise, it’s like giving money with one hand and then taking it away with the other, isn’t it?
The ATO has clarified the tax treatment of JobKeeper payments handed back to the Government. The clarification comes after the Super Retail Group, Dominos Pizza and Toyota collectively returned more than $20 million in JobKeeper payments after reporting exceptional trading results.
Super Retail Group – owner of the Supercheap Auto, Rebel, BCF and Macpac brands – handed back $1.7 million in JobKeeper payments in January after releasing a trading update showing sales growth of 23% to December 2020. Toyota announced that it will return $18 million in JobKeeper payments after a record fourth quarter. And, Domino’s Pizza has also handed back $792,000 of JobKeeper payments.
The impact of COVID-19 has been felt very differently from region to region. Fortunes vary wildly between business operators subject to ongoing lockdowns and trading impediments to those benefiting from the “new normal”.
With the borders between the State and Territories all but open and 2021 in sight, there is a hunger for a return to ‘normal’. The recent Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment articulates this desire to ‘get on with things’; sentiment reached its highest level since November 2013 and Christmas spending is expected to be consistent with previous years.
However, the Reserve Bank of Australia cautions that the recovery will be uneven and drawn out and GDP is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2021. The risks are not limited to the pandemic but Australia’s geopolitical relationships, notably with our largest trading partner, China.
Here’s our key risks and opportunities as we head into 2021 …