COVID-19 Stimulus Measures
There have been a number of stimulus announcements over the last month both from the Federal and State Governments to assist small businesses and their employees through the current economic downturn.
There have been a number of amendments to both eligibility and deadlines for some stimulus packages so it may pay to re-look at your options.
For example, Job Keeper has seen the enrollment extended to 8 May for organisations looking to claim the $1,500 JobKeeper payments for the fortnights between March 30 to April 12, and April 13 to April 26 and some younger workers excluded as eligible employees.
If you think that your organisation is eligible for one or more of these and/or have been significantly affected by the Travel restrictions, please contact our office for assistance!
Federal and ATO summary of announcements thus far
Options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19 include:
- JobKeeper Payment: is open to eligible employers so they can continue to pay their eligible employees and restart quickly when the crisis is over. (Please note – that software payroll programs are containing specific instructions that need to be followed to ensure eligibility) https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-04/Fact_sheet_supporting_businesses_4.pdf
- PAYGW Cashflow Boost: delivered through BAS & IAS system, cashflow support of up to $100,000 against lodged BAS & IAS between March and September 2020. https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-04/fact_sheet-boosting_cash_flow_for_employers.pdf
- Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses: The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Providing_temporary_relief_for_financially_distressed_businesses.pdf
- Supporting apprentices and trainees: Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter). https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-04/fact_sheet-supporting_apprentices_and_trainees_0.pdf
- Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) Guarantee Scheme: the Government will support unsecured loans of up to $250,000. These loans are intended to provide for current and upcoming cash flow needs, including rent and staff expenses. https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/sme-guarantee-scheme
- Not For Profit Support: includes some specific support for charities that deal in crisis accommodation and food and mentions a lot of the other stimulus included above. https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-04/Fact_sheet_support_for_nfp_organisations.pdf
- Early access to superannuation. https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-04/Fact_sheet-Early_Access_to_Super.pdf
- Change to minimum drawdown requirements and deeming rates. https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/factsheet6providingsupportforretireestomanagemarketvolatility-25march2.pdf
- ATO Deferring by up to six months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise
- ATO Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities
- ATO Working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low interest payment plans.
- ATO advises Employers will still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees. https://www.ato.gov.au/Media-centre/Media-releases/Support-measures-to-assist-those-affected-by-COVID-19/
- Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit: established within The Treasury to engage with business on a regular basis and provide updates to government on crucial issues. https://treasury.gov.au/policy-topics/business-and-industry/coronavirus-business-liaison-unit
Victorian Government Specific stimulus announced thus far
Payroll tax waived
Businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived. Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year. The State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses in relation to reimbursement for payroll tax already paid in the financial year.
Liquor licence fees waived
Businesses that have paid for a renewable liquor licence for 2020 will be reimbursed their licence fee and those yet to pay will have the fee waived. The State Revenue Office will administer the reimbursement, regardless of whether the licence fee was paid to it or the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation.
Business Support Fund
Grant amounts of up to $10,000. to support small businesses that employ staff and are subject to closure or highly impacted by the shutdown restrictions announced by the Victorian Government as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Small businesses are eligible if they meet all these criteria:
- Employ staff
- Have been subject to closure or is highly impacted by shutdown restrictions announced by the Victorian Government to-date. For more information on affected sectors refer to the Non-Essential Activity Directions issued by the Deputy Chief Health Officer.
- Have a turnover of more than $75,000
- Have payroll of less than $650,000
Land tax deferral
Land owners due to pay 2020 land tax that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020. The State Revenue Office will contact all taxpayers who are eligible for this deferral.