For Businesses: Financial and other relief for those impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19)

For Businesses: Financial and other relief for those impacted by COVID-19

For Businesses: Financial and other relief for those impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19)

For Businesses: Financial and other relief for those impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) 1920 1080 Rakhee Ghelani

Updated 8 April, 2020

The Federal and state governments have outlined a range of relief for individuals who are affected by the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). We’ve outlined these below and provided links to the relevant information, but please note that these do vary depending on your specific circumstances.

We’ll keep updating this page, so do please keep coming back to find out the latest information.  Also please also speak to your advisor if you have any concerns or questions.

You can also subscribe to receive updates of any other posts we make by clicking on the button “Get our latest updates” at the bottom of this page and find COVID-19 Fact Sheets for Individuals and Businesses here.

Financial relief

Relief for businesses who have reduced revenue as a result of COVID-19

JobKeeper Payment

Eligible businesses can receive JobKeeper payments of $1500 per fortnight, per employee, to pay to eligible staff during the coronavirus period. These payments will allow businesses to keep staff employed, and potentially prevent them from having to rehire staff when the crisis is over. Self-employed individuals may also be eligible; payments can continue for up to six months.

To be eligible, a business must:

  • Have a turnover of less than $1 billion, with a reduction of more than 30% compared to a comparable period (of at least one month) a year ago; or,
  • Have a turnover of more than $1 billion, with a reduction of more than 50% compared to a comparable period (of at least one month) a year ago; and,
  • Not be subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Eligible businesses must apply to the ATO with supporting documentation that can demonstrate the reduction in business. More information on these payments is available in the Australian Government’s fact sheet for employers here. To register your interest, visit the ATO website.

Taxation relief

The ATO is offering a range of relief measures to individuals who may be impacted by COVID-19. Information about all the things you may be able to access are listed here. These include:

  • Giving you more time to lodge, respond and pay taxation obligations;
  • Potentially being able to access taxation that you’ve already paid for 2020;
  • Changes to how you pay interest and penalties;
  • Low interest payment plans;
  • Deferring payments of taxation;
  • Assistance if you can’t pay superannuation guarantee.

For businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million:

  • Increasing the instant asset write-off (IAWO) threshold: The IAWO has increased from $30,000 to $150,000 for new or second-hand assets first used, or installed ready for use from 12 March to 30 June 2020.
  • Accelerated depreciation deductions: Businesses can access a deduction of 50% on the cost of an eligible asset on installation. The remainder of the asset will be depreciated under the existing rules. This generally applies to new assets that can be depreciated as plant, equipment and specified intangible assets, such as patents that are acquired from now on and first used or installed by 30 June 2021. It does not apply to second-hand assets, or buildings and other capital works depreciable.

Other Federal government relief

For businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million:

  • Tax free cash for employers: Businesses and NFPs that employ staff can access up to $50,000 tax free. The payment will be equal to 100% of the amount of withholding tax on their employee’s salary and wages (capped at $50,000). This will be delivered by the ATO as a credit when you lodge your activity statement system from 28 April 2020. Eligible businesses that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $10,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax.
  • Additional payment for employers: An additional payment will be made from 28 July that is equal to what they received in the payment above.

For Small and Medium Enterprises:

  • Loan guarantees: 50% of the value of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs will be guaranteed by the government (up to $40 billion worth of loans). This is in addition to a range of measures that have been introduced to keep banks operating and lending.

For small businesses with apprentices or trainees:

  • Apprentice wage subsidy: Eligible small businesses that employ apprentices or trainees can apply for subsidy of 50% of apprentices’/trainees’ wages from 1 January to 30 September, 2020 – up to $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee.

For small businesses struggling to pay their energy bills:

  • Updated expectations of energy providers: The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has stipulated a new set of expectations of energy companies around providing leniency to small businesses during the pandemic. These new expectations include waiving disconnection/re-connection fees for small businesses in hibernation, offering payment plans, and not disconnecting customers who are in financial stress without their agreement.

All businesses and company directors:

  • Increase statutory demand notice limit: There will be temporary increase to the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to that demand. This will help directors who may otherwise trade while insolvent.

For the aviation industry:

A range of relief measures have been announced that specifically address the aviation industry. These include relief on fuel excise.

For child care centres:

  • Temporary additional funding to child care centres: As a temporary measure, the Federal Government will pay 50% of the child care sector’s fee revenue to existing centres, up to the existing hourly rate cap – as long as these centres stay open and do not charge families for care. These payments will be made in lieu of the Child Care Subsidy/Additional Child Care Subsidy and will be received by centres from April 6. Some centres may also be eligible for additional financial assistance if they need to accommodate for emergency workers of vulnerable children.

For medical clinics:

  • Increased Medicare schedule fees: The Medicare schedule fees for some item numbers have been increased in order to support practitioners and clinics in bulk-billing vulnerable patient groups.

For business owners with debts they can’t pay:

  • Temporary Debt Relief: The Temporary Debt Protection period has been increased from 21 days to 6 months. This gives those in extreme financial difficulty additional time to consider options for formal insolvency, negotiate payment plans and seek financial advice. More information is available on the Australian Financial Security Authority website.

For businesses in the seafood and agriculture export sectors:

  • International Freight Assistance: Affected export businesses in the agriculture and seafood industries may be eligible for financial assistance under a new Federal Government initiative. The initiative will focus on high-value, mostly perishable exports that may include premium seafood, red meat, dairy and horticulture products, and are destined for countries including China, Japan and the UAE. For more information, including steps on how to express your interest, visit the Australian Government’s Business page here.

For businesses in the commercial maritime industry:

  • Certificate renewal extensions: Seafarers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will have their qualifications extended automatically for an additional six months, allowing them to continue work without applying to renew their certifications.

Relief from Banks

The major banks have all announced immediate support measures. These include:

  • Customers who are experiencing financial difficulty can immediately defer their repayments up to six months;
  • Special offers on Term Deposits;
  • The ability to break a Term Deposit without penalties; and
  • A wide range of offers on commercial loans, overdrafts, car loans and credit cards.

You can find information about what your bank is offering on their website here:

Westpac

Commonwealth

ANZ

NAB

Macquarie

Rental Assistance

  • A hold on evictions: Commercial tenancies unable to pay their rent due to coronavirus cannot be evicted on the grounds of non-payment of rent for the next six months. They can now also terminate leases due to financial distress.
  • Rental waivers and deferrals: Eligible commercial tenants are now entitled to a combination of waiver and deferral of rental fees, to account for at least 50% of their reduction in business. Any fees that have been deferred must be spread over the remaining duration of the lease, and for at least 24 months.

Victorian Government Relief

New South Wales Government Relief

Queensland Government Relief

Western Australia Government Relief

For the Mining Industry:

For the Liquor Industry:

  • Occasional liquor licenses: temporary licenses may be granted to existing eligible, licensed venues to allow liquor to be sold with a takeaway or delivered meal. These licenses will apply for up to six months, in a move to support the liquor industry. A list of eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found here

Australian Capital Territory Government Relief

  • Small business support: Small businesses can access the Canberra Business Advice and Support Service.The service supports small businesses to address the impact of recent events on their business and provide one-on-one business management advice. Business owners can receive up to four hours of fully subsidised, face to face tailored advice and access online business development resources.You can make a booking with this service by calling 6297 3121.
  • Waiver of liquor licensing fees: Licenced venues will receive a 12-month waiver of their food business registration and on-licence liquor licensing fees from 1 April 2020 and outdoor dining fees for 2020-2021 will be waived. Where food business registration has been prepaid for more than one year in advance, an additional 12 months will be added to the license. This will be applied automatically.
  • Electricity rebate: Small business owners with electricity usage below 100 megawatts per year will receive rebates of $750 automatically applied to their next electricity bill in around June or July 2020.
  • Waiver of ride share licence fees: The Rideshare vehicle licence fee will be waived for 12 months for rideshare operators from 1 April 2020 as part of the normal licencing processes. Where licences have already been prepaid 12 months in advance, an additional 12 months credit will be added to the license at the next due date.
  • Waiver of taxi plate fees: All government leased taxi plate fees, including wheelchair accessible taxis will be waived automatically.
  • Waiver of payroll tax: Hospitality (cafes, pubs, hotels, clubs and restaurants), creative arts and entertainment industries will receive a one-off, six-month waiver of payroll tax from April to September 2020. Businesses will need to complete a simple online application form to confirm their eligibility by visiting revenue.act.gov.au.
  • Payroll tax deferral: All ACT businesses with Group Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest free until 1 July 2022. Businesses will need to complete a simple online application form at revenue.act.gov.au to confirm their eligibility.
  • Rebate on commercial property rates: Commercial property owners with an Average Unimproved Value below $2 million on their property are eligible for a rebate of $2,622 on their commercial rates fixed charge which will be applied automatically.

Tasmanian Government Relief

  • Grants for Small Businesses: Financial support is now available to small businesses in the seafood, tourism and accommodation, retail, hospitality, arts and entertainment and fitness industries. Immediate grant payments of $2,500 are available to these businesses, while small businesses in these industries that are experiencing severe financial hardship may also be eligible for grants of $15,000. For further information and eligibility requirements, you can download the Tasmanian Government’s Small Business Support Package fact sheet here.
  • Business Loan Support Scheme: Eligible businesses can receive loans from $20,000 up to $250,000 to support continued operations and viability while affected by the coronavirus pandemic. More information, including guidelines for eligibility, can be found in the fact sheet here.
  • Business Continuity Grants: Tasmanian businesses who require assistance with continuity planning can access one-off payments of up to $750 to enable them to engage a qualified expert in this area. For more information, view the Tasmanian Government fact sheet here.
  • Business vehicle registration relief: Small businesses can apply for a registration freeze of up to twelve months for their light and heavy vehicles if wishing to suspend activity due to the coronavirus. During this time, the Government will also waive registration fees and the road component of motor tax for heavy vehicles of over 4.5 tonnes.
  • Assistance for the arts industry: Individuals and companies currently working in the arts, screen, digital and contemporary music industries may be eligible for one-off grants if their ability to work has been affected by the coronavirus. Screen Tasmania Project Development funding caps have been increased, while additional grants have been instituted. Meanwhile, arts organisations currently receiving funding as part of a single-year package will have their contracts extended for an additional year. For more details, the Tasmanian Government’s fact sheet can be viewed here.

To find out more about what you’re eligible for:

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