Robodebt coming for JobKeeper

At The Guardian:

The government has told more than 8,000 small business owners they may have to pay back jobkeeper payments they have relied on for income throughout the coronavirus pandemic, after a crackdown on compliance for the wage subsidy scheme.

The Australian Taxation Office has confirmed the “compliance” checking procedure revealed by Guardian Australia on Thursday, which has been dubbed “robodebt 2.0” by affected businesses, has been applied to many more people than isolated individuals.

The targets of the procedure are sole traders who began their businesses recently and therefore have not been reporting their income for a full financial year.

Affected businesses, many of which have received the $1,500 a fortnight wage subsidy since May, were sent an email by the ATO on Monday warning that because they “started business on or after 1 January 2020”, their “entity would not have assessable business income” from the 2018-19 financial year, and therefore could not prove the 30% reduction in revenue required to access jobkeeper.

Other affected business owners who contacted Guardian Australia said they had set up as sole traders before 1 January but after the end of the previous financial year.


David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. Reus's largeMEMBER

    #scottyfrommarketing is going to be upset when he finds out how much of a JobRort rather than DoleHider it has been

    • Ukraine fnMEMBER

      Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke ..roll on October when the real SHTF.

  2. Brahmin Australian

    This isn’t like original Robodebt where they arbitrarily froze peoples payments leaving them destitute.

    These would be people who quite clearly would never have been eligible for JobKeeper to begin with. There is so much fraud and p*** taking going on with regards to JobKeeper that this would only be the tip of the iceberg.

    • Small businesses voluntarily reducing hours or invoicing less to get a nice taxpayer funded holiday. It’s a total rort

    • For some years I ran a small business and got to know many local businesses owners around my workshop. The vast majority of them were rabid LNP supporters, anti min wage, anti dole (and this being the early 90s recession) but at the same time they were the first in line for every possible handout they could wangle. The guy running the airconditioner supplier nex door would get a young woman on a govt paid scheme and at the end of the 6 months term he would sack her for being useless or some other concocted bs and get another. He got away with it 3 times. The current theme of course is to use dodgy immigrants for $10ph. They tend to know what they are doing when they smell a handout.

  3. “warning that because they “started business on or after 1 January 2020”, their “entity would not have assessable business income”

    Yet on their website, the ATO gives an example of a business that didn’t exist prior to 1st of March:

    People lose their businesses (, homes ( and even commit suicide over the “unaccountable” ATO’s mistakes and guilty-until-proven-innocent methodology. They hide behind vague examples, and terms like “you may be” and “voluntary”. The whole system is dubious.

    The time for changes to the taxpayers charter is long overdue, and ATO employees and their chain-of-command need to be held personally liable for the harm they cause. They need to be pursued with the same viciousness that they pursue others.

    • Rorke's DriftMEMBER

      Why hammer people who started a business within the past 12mths. Isnt that having a go. Business conditions to be successful are as tough as ever in the early stages of the life of an entity when getting traction in market is critical. These small businesses are well down the list of welfare rorters Id chase and id be just as happy if govt turned a blind eye. No one makes big profits in first year, so why not give them a break.

      • frag outMEMBER

        I tend to agree, hence those who have a go, get a go, but I suppose those that had a go, will not get a go.

      • And the money will have been spent in the economy. Employees will have received it as wages, purchased goods and services, generating GST payments for the ATO. Those transactions will lead to further employment, and more goods and services purchased, with yet more GST paid. The money will be deposited in bank accounts, adding to bank’s ledgers to be loaned out to build houses, leading to further employment and so on. If the ATO come knocking for the initial money back will they also follow the transaction chain and refund the tax that they received at every step? They can’t get the original payment back and keep the tax revenue as that would be double dipping.

        It’s as if they think money is created out of thin air.

  4. Hadron CollisionMEMBER

    There is provision for recently started businesses

    This is Sabre rattling to flush out those taking the pizz