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I'm hoping someone can help me. I have spoken at length with the ATO about this issue, received conflicting answers, and feel as though I'm now getting the runabout because no-one knows the solution.
I am a sole trader with a very simple business structure. On 20 April 2020, I successfully registered my business for Job Keeper, and declared my downturn for April on 4 May 2020. On 6 May 2020, I received an email from the ATO saying that my Job Keeper claim was rejected because my business did not have an ABN on 12 March 2020.
Not only did I have a registered ABN on 12 March 2020, my business has actually been in operation since 2017. I also satisfy all other legislative criteria: the business was in operation on 1 March 2020, my 2018/19 tax returns showed a business income amount and were lodged in January 2020, and I satisify the general downturn test.
I was under the impression that Job Keeper was self-assessed, and that you would be unable to even register without a valid ABN held as at 12 March 2020? I have been seeking a review of this matter by the ATO ever since, only to be told yesterday that I was now required to seek discretion from the Commissioner.
My understanding of Commissioner discretion is that it can only be sought: 1) for an extension of time regarding ABN registration, and 2) for an extension of time for the lodgement of tax documents. When I explained to the ATO that I do not require an extension of time for either of these things, as I already comply, I was told that the application to the Commissioner was necessary if I wanted the matter reviewed, and that it would take up to 28 days or more to receive response.
I am expecting the Commissioner's decision, whenever it happens to be made, to conclude that there is no jurisdiction because there is no extension sought - so where will that leave me? The form also says that you are not to register for Job Keeper before notification of the Commissioner's decision - yet, my business has been registered for Job Keeper since 20 April 2020?
Lastly, I'm not even sure I require any form of review - I'm only seeking to correct the ATO's error that I did not have an ABN on 12 March 2020.
This has been such an unnecessarily stressful situation, and my business is my only source of income. I welcome any responses provided!
Maybe phone the ATO and ask to speak to their IT / technical team? Tell them that their system made an error of reflecting you had no valid ABN and can they fix it on their end. Sounds like a technical glitch to me. If they are able to fix that on their system, the whole problem might resolve itself.
If that does not work, you will have to follow the process they have stated and request the commissioner's discression (unless you can call again and find someone more helpful who can fix it for you on the phone - try call during their extended hours when they are a bit less busy).
Let us know how you go
Also check to make sure you submitted the right ABN number (you probably did that already, but if you inserted the wrong number that might account for the issue they have)
Thank you so much for the reply! I have spoken with them at length. I keep getting told I'll get an outcome by a certain time, and then you don't hear anything. I was thinking the same as you - surely they can just fix up an administrative error from their end. But apparently they can't, and I have to go through the process. My only worry with requesting the Commissioner's discretion is that I don't actually want the time extended for the ABN (or anything else); I only need them to apply the proper qualifying date (ie. 12 March). Fingers crossed this resolves soon. I know it has been a stressful and evolving situation for ATO staff - but this all seems so unneccessary for something that could be easily amended in their system.
Thanks Jane! Yeah - ABN listed is definitely correct (always good to check!). I have spoken to that many people at the ATO about it, yet no-one can explain why it was rejected on grounds of not having an ABN on 12 March. I have checked my ABN registration - absolutely was registered on that date. I feel like I'm being pushed through this review process because no-one has authority to simply amend the incorrect record
Hi Kath, all,
I'm acting for my wife whose jobkeeper application was rejected for the same reason as yours, but in her case the ABN was applied for and granted 20/04/2020 backdated to 01/07/2018.
ATO has a follow-me example where this circumstance must be rejected.
I was not given Commissioner Discretion as an option but AAT was suggested. I have just received confirmation of the case registration with the Tribunal and am awaiting further details.
My wife has operated as sole trader domestic cleaner for >10 years. I have better English than hers so she's asked me to act on her behalf. An ABN didn't seem necesssary previously due to turnover not approaching GST threshold, and all income was for Personal Services with no goods component. I tried to keep things simple and figured we could obtain an ABN quickly if her business grew to the point of needing one.
On applying for Jobkeeper I saw the need for an ABN on 12/Mar/2020 and immediately applied for one, backdated.
Our request to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is for the ATO Commissioner to use discretion to allow extension of time to obtain ABN, given that (we assume) the Jobkeeper was set up to assist small businesses with >30% loss in turnover. This one so small it did not require ABN until a month prior to being informed that it was necessary.
I'm looking for help, hoping to find other folk in similar situation and also looking for new ideas about what to try next