Looking for information on the JobKeeper extension? Check out our answers to common questions the community has been asking.

ATO Community

Support for sole traders and small businesses affected by COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Community Manager Community Manager
‎23 March 2020 05:44 PM

Support for business.png


As part of the Australian Government’s economic response to COVID-19, we're taking a number of measures to support small businesses and sole traders who have been affected by COVID-19, including:



JobKeeper payment

The JobKeeper payment helps eligible employers so they can continue to pay their eligible employees and help them restart quickly when the crisis is over. Eligible employers will be able to claim payments of $1500 per fortnight per eligible employee. To find out if you’re eligible and to enrol visit JobKeeper payment.


Providing cash flow boosts for employers

From 28 April 2020, there will be two tax-free payments of between $20,000 and $100,000 for eligible businesses.

If you’re eligible, you don’t need to apply. These will be automatically credited to your account when you lodge your activity statement.

To find out if you’re eligible, visit Boosting cash flow for employers


Increasing the instant asset write-off

From 12 March until 30 June 2020, the instant asset write-off threshold is $150,000 and businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million are now eligible.

To check your eligibility, visit Instant asset write-off for eligible businesses


Accelerating depreciation deductions

If your business has an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million for 2019-20 and 2020-21, you can deduct the cost of depreciating assets at an accelerated rate.

To find out more, visit Backing business investment – accelerated depreciation


We can also offer tailored support for your needs and circumstances, including:


If you have a question about COVID-19 that we haven’t covered here, ask ATO Community.


If you're feeling overwhelmed or getting behind with your tax and super obligations, contact us as early as possible so we can work with you to find a solution.



Hi Guys


I would like to know how will be the process to lodge the quarterly BAS for the March trimester and apply for  Boosting Cash Flow. I mean:


-We have to lodge the normal amounts and the ATO make changes to the BAS (I mean the 300% calculation)? or

- We have to make the calculation (I mean the 300% calculation) of the tax withheld? I lodge using the business portal and we can not type negatives numbers


Thanks for your help



Regarding the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers; I understand from the website and Government that payments won't be credited to 28th April. 


For those lodging their business activity statement prior to the date, who get a debit balance to pay thier IAS and GST amounts, when will they know that those deit amounts will be credited back? Do they need to wait till the 28th of April? Will the accounts on the business portal be credited any earlier than the 28th of April?


I understand there is a lot to do to get this measure ready, but by giving employers certainty in advance of the 28th of April that they are entitled to credits, will allow them to start using those amounts now. I understand the media have asked the government about this, and the response was that businesses would know earlier, however guidance on the website does not match this. 


Looking forward to your response.


edit - language clarification

Community Manager
Community Manager

HI @Alepriro 


Thanks for your comments, you are not required to do anything at all except lodge.


We will calculate everything for you.


Hope this takes a little bit of pressure of you in this stressful time.



Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi @itbusinessowner ,


Thanks for getting in touch. We certainly appreciate that you would like certainty before the 28th April. We haven't been advised of any earlier dates yet but keep checking the link to the Cash boost information. 

As soon as any changes are shared with us we will update our informaiton.


All the Best



As a sole trader I have registered with the ATO to receice payments.

What do I have to do next?

Will the ATO make payments through our tax record information or do we have to do anything else?

Please advice.

Community Support

Hi @Arthur123,


Thanks for getting in touch - it's great to hear that you have registered already. We are currently working hard to provide JobKeeper information as quickly as possible.


The specific details for Sole Traders are still being finalised, and we will update the information as soon as it's available.


Keep an eye on our ATO Community newsfeed for updates and other useful information.


Stay safe,




Hi @LizdeK 


I am a self-employed sole trader trying to apply for the jobkeeper for my business. Since I am self-employed, I actually has 0 emplyees. I think I made a mistake in application page by filling number of emplyees as 1 and there is no way to revise/modify that mistake.  I managed to log in business portal using mygovID but found these is no such revise/modify function in the form either. In step 1, my application was marked as "ENROLLED" with a tick next to it and there is no review or revise button I can use. I am not sure if I can change number anymore or have to wait till 4 May to manually to put myself as employee in the nomination form.


Could you please advice any revise/correct method to my previous error or a phone number that I can call to if a phone conversation is required.


Many thanks and best regards

Community Support

Hi @xpllmmff 


Thanks for getting in touch with us.


We've received a similar question about how to amend your application over here, that we're looking into. Keep an eye on that thread as we'll update it as we find out more information.


Thanks for your patience

Stay safe




Hi, Can you please advise how soletraders under the GST threshold who had their their 2018-19 returns lodged after the 12th of March can proceed with enrolment to the JobKeeper payment?
The page with eligibility requirements suggests that there will be commissioner discretion in these cases but theres no further info past the note that has suggested an update is forthcoming which has been in place for quite some time now.

The enrolment process doesn't allow enrolment to proceed if you declare that your return has been lodged after the 12th but the end of April is coming up fast and it is beginning to become stressful.
A look through the other forums shows that there are plenty of people in this situation but there doesn't appear to be any response to those posts and it would be great to get some clarification or even an idea of when we can look forward to the information update.


Community Support

Hi @Glen_yo


See JobKeeper eligibility. True it does set out the lodgement criteria as you acknowledge however further down it does offer some exceptions. Application for JobKeeper as detailed is  either  online, with a tax accountant or over the phone. Any escalation or complaints process may be captured more effectively with the later.


I hope that may help a little.


I'm new

I am a sole trader and have followed the first step of enrolling and nominating for the job keeper payment. How do I complete step two if I have no employees? The ATO website ( states: "If you don’t have employees  

  • Log in to ATO online services by myGov, or the Business Portal using myGovID to confirm that you don’t have any employees to identify." Confirm where? 

The nomination form also states Note: You should not use this JobKeeper employee nomination notice if you are intending to claim JobKeeper payments for an eligible business participant for example a partner in a partnership, an adult beneficiary of a trust or a shareholder or director of a company or a sole trader. A different nomination process will be required. << what nomination process? 




@MarkATO  thanks for the response. 

The eligibility criteria you mentioned has been updated to show the following 

"We have the discretion to give further time, but only in limited circumstances, including if you:

  • did not have a requirement to lodge your 2018-2019 return until after 12 March 2020
  • have deferred your lodgment under an extension of lodgment date we initiated.

Examples include:

  • You are included in a registered agent’s lodgment program whereby your lodgment due date is after 12 March 2020"

Which is reassuring, but the enrolment form hasn't updated to reflect this change 
Can you advise whether to just proceed with the enrolment as-is or wait until it's possible to proceed without a false declaration?

Or should I arrange with my tax agent to have them enrol on my behalf?


Please provide details of  the declaration required to be lodged in May to provide  updated turnover figures to satisfy continuing eligibility for JobKeeper for sole traders(no employees) .Info on ATO website does not give any further information after enrollment advice 

Community Support

Hi @charmainem, @Glen_yo and @ajwl


Thanks for joining the conversation and for your patience.


Regarding what you need to do next after you have enrolled, step 2 is now open (as at 4 May). You will be able to add yourself as a business participant. You can find out more about that by checking out the JobKeeper guide for sole traders on our website.


Regarding how to enrol if you don't meet the 12 March 2020 lodgment requirement, we are still working on it. We have been advised that we should have an update soon. In turn, we have extended the enrolment deadline for the first two fortnights to 31 May.


Good luck with it all.


Thanks, ChrisR


Hi, I have only been operating as a sole trader since November last year (no gst) and have 2 questions:


1. Regarding the "assessable income related to your business in your 2018–19 income tax return" - is this the assessable income of the business you are a sole trader of? In my case, as I was a permanent employee for 208-2019 at that time, can I not claim then jobkeeper at all?

2. If I can claim it, What does the monthly business declaration have to look like? I am just a sole trader operating with excel spreadsheets at this stage.


Any help would be appreciated.

Community Support



Some background information - to be eligible for a Sole trader, you need to be both an 'eligible entity' and an 'eligible business participant'. Please note that this is a community forum, and advice is general in nature only.


1) The assessable income you are referring to yes, is only related to your business income. Please go to Sole Traders for more information, especially to section 'Work out if you are an eligible entity'. There is another condition relating to activity statements/GST returns up to 12 March 2020, as per the above link.


There is another Commissioner's discretion link available later in the above webpage, if you didnt meet the conditions as set in an 'eligible entity'. There is a table on this webpage which guides you on what documents you need to lodge with the ATO. If this doesnt apply to you, you can fill in the application for Commisioner's discretion to be eligible. Please bear in mind, if this applies, you may consider whether its worth going down this path, as the next extension of Jobkeeper is meant to start in less than a month (needs to be passed into law yet).


2) In the Sole traders link (as mentioned above), there are details on the bottom half of this webpage, on how to apply (enrol) for Jobkeeper. You may want to consider this urgently for August fortnights, if you believe that you are eligible, as 31 August 2020 is the cut-off for claiming for these fortnights (as per Jobkeeper key dates).


We have some new information about the extension of the Jobkeeper payment that you can look at on our ATO website. Keep in mind that the changes that are due to start from Sept 28 2020 are only proposals, but will take into effect from that date, once legislated.




Thanks very much for the info. It looks like the commissioner can only offer extensions on time periods which unfortunately doesn't help me as I still don't have a comparable period in the last financial tax year. I see there is an alternative test but that only refers to gst turnover, which I don't have either. Going round in circles I think.