The Australian Taxation Office will receive thousands of small businesses’ rejected JobKeeper applications after a sole trader successfully brought a case against the ATO.
The sole trader, Jeremy Apted, was disputing the ATO’s decision to reject his JobKeeper application on the basis that he didn’t have an active ABN as of 12 March last year.
The Federal Court ruled in favour of Apted in late March, effectively opening the door for other businesses to retrospectively access JobKeeper wage subsidies.
Under the JobKeeper Rules, the ATO Commissioner had discretion to allow additional time for holding an ABN. The ATO last week issued its statement on the decision, agreeing that the Commissioner’s discretion is broader than had been applied to date.
Now, the ATO will review thousands of other JobKeeper applications rejected for not meeting the ABN test on 12 March 2020.
“The Commissioner acknowledges that there are entities who might be impacted by the decision and is committed to addressing any such cases as a matter of priority,” the ATO said.
The ATO will notify any business whose eligibility has been reversed by 31 May.
Responding on Monday, The Tax Institute’s senior advocate Robyn Jacobson said the move will likely “affect thousands of taxpayers”.
“There will be some taxpayers who never enrolled in JobKeeper because they thought they were not eligible or had sought advice and were advised that they were not eligible. These taxpayers will be able to contact the ATO for a review of their case,” she added.
“This is not a free for all — applicants are still required to meet existing conditions, and the decision doesn't apply to other discretions within JobKeeper or cash flow boost, or in other parts of the tax law.
“So it doesn’t mean everyone who was previously denied JobKeeper or cash flow boost is now eligible.”