External NTLG Members Joint Letter | Commissioner’s discretion for JobKeeper Measures

The JobKeeper Payment presents one of the greatest challenges that the Revenue system has ever seen – that is, paying a substantial amount of money to the right people in a very short period of time without highly refined black letter law.

The shape and form of the program reflects the very high regard and trust that the Federal Government, and indeed the public, has in the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). This regard and trust is well founded.

One of the challenges of the JobKeeper Payment will be the considerable power given by the Federal Government to exercise discretion in those areas which are uncommon or unique, where there is limited information and where the nature of the business is complex and multifaceted or has changed over the last 12 months, amongst others. Importantly, these include measurement of decline in turnover where there is no appropriate comparison, but also where there is the potential for contrived schemes which are not in the spirit of the legislation.

The external members of the National Tax Liaison Group (NTLG) would like to offer our assistance in helping the ATO identify potential issues, many of which are being raised by our membership now, and formulate sensible guidance to the community on the exercise of the Commissioner’s discretion.

Submission prepared by:

External members of the National Tax Liaison Group 

Submitted to:

Ms Louise Clarke
Deputy Commissioner – Policy, Analysis and Legislation
Australian Taxation Office

Ms Kirsten Fish
Chief Tax Counsel
Australian Taxation Office

Mr James O’Halloran
Deputy Commissioner – Superannuation and Employer Obligations
Australian Taxation Office