In My Solitude: Individuals and Sole Traders
Written by Chris Charlton.
Sole traders, individuals and small businesses continue to struggle with the overwhelming amount of information.
To their credit the Federal Government has largely navigated the economic fallout and has made a valiant attempt to ensure that all in financial hardship are covered. This inevitably means that there will be a few [ quite a few] that will fall between the cracks.
This has come about unintentionally I hope from bolting on a whole raft of changes [ temporary] onto existing legislation. In the context of Jobkeeper, the legislation is the vast array of library filling documentation which constitutes Taxation in Australia. Also special mention to the Fair work Act.
All that aside I have detected gaps . These are largely manifest in the hasty approach to casuals by the government and the misunderstanding by many that some ARE in fact eligible, it’s just they don’t know how to proceed.
Everyone has a different story and to a certain extent a different set of solutions.
To break it down
What constitutes a casual? I approach this by examining why do you perform casual work, not more permanent or regular? Someone who works at a local restaurant for the last 18 months whilst studying and living with the oldies is covered, whereas a professional musician who plays a variety of gigs at various places over many years isn’t? Worse still is an actor who, often via an agent does numerous jobs throughout the year for TV, shopping centres, plays, etc and because even for a day’s work, they have tax deducted, they are an employee so they aren’t eligible.
The musician in my mind is a sole trader and provided they register and quote their ABN they will most likely obtain access to Jobkeeper. What if they don’t have an ABN? Well most likely they would be entitled to obtain one and with the commissioners discretion have it backdated until before March 2020. BTW “backdating” in this context is allowed, the taxman uses this term.
With the Actor, this is definitely a crack to fall into. I am currently working with the clever folks who look out for actors and similar to try and navigate a way through. There are arguments that an actor who has worked on and off for the same production company may have eligibility IF the production company OR the studio OR media organisation want to register them as eligible employees. The problem is “casual employee “ less than 12 months of regular work” . I am yet to excavate fully these terms [ to mount an argument], but solutions are in there somewhere.
That said, reform of this area is long overdue, and well before Rona turned up.
The takeaway today is you may well be eligible for jobkeeper as an employee or sole trader, you just don’t have the knowledge. Look at the ATO website, it’s a much better source than you may think. If not, Jobseeker isn’t an option to be overlooked as it WILL sweep up a lot of the “cracks “.
Residential rents, most states have policies emerging, so check your respective state government site. NSW, sadly dragging the chain here after being given some good consensus framework (code of conduct]) all they have to do is legislate to adopt this but more worried about NRL and the Ruby Princess (not to make light of this, it’s a god awful balls up) BUT it shouldn’t detract from those seeking a fair deal and are unable to. Hopefully better news will come.
Stay safe, watch some awesome music online, access resources and ask questions. We’re here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Charlton loves music and is a massive metal head. He is also the Director of Chartlons, an Accounting and Tax Specialist firm with more than 35 years of experience in tax accounting, business strategy and advice. A fully registered company auditor with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and a registered examiner with the Law Society, Chris has also served as a non-executive Chairman and Director of a publicly listed company. Legend.
Favourite bands: Dream Theatre, Opeth, Disturbed
Favourite genre: PROG Metal
SIMA Spirit Band: Scoredatura