Business affected by the coronavirus? Support is available.
There is plenty of support available to small businesses including sole traders and contractors if you know where to look. The downside is that it’s hard to find for some, and the information is changing constantly. So if your business is affected by the coronavirus read on.
Here are the links to the government support available at Federal, State & Local government levels so that you can see what’s available for you.
Federal Government Support
Visit the business.gov.au website here to learn about the federal government support for business affected by the coronavirus. The information includes:
- Assistance for affected regions, communities & industries
- Support for existing government program participants & applicants
There are lots of measures in place to support businesses affected by coronavirus and these measures are constantly changing. We outline the major links released on or before 24 March 2020 here. All the links go to specific pages on the business.gov.au website.
♦ JobKeeper Payment
Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses impacted by the coronavirus will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment (under JobKeeper 1.0) of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months. Find the detail here. You need to register to access this relief, so follow the link which also contains a video explaining how the relief is intended to work.
UPDATE (JobKeeper 2.0): JobKeeper 2 extension is not official yet, but the ATO have released some preemptive information. At 2/9/2020 it is not yet law. Read the ATO announcement here.
UPDATE (JobKeeper 2.0): Keep up to date with the changes on the ATO website including the JobKeeper extensions. Find key dates here. Treasury has also released information to help businesses understand the JobKeeper extensions; you can find that here.
UPDATE (JobKeeper 1.0): Simplify Job Keeper with our easy to follow step by step checklist to guide you in how to implement JobKeeper. Current at 21 April 2020. Download it here.
UPDATE (JobKeeper 1.0): Guide to the Alternative Turnover Test for Jobkeeper current at 1 May 2020. Download the PDF here.
If you’re an employer and your business is impacted by the coronavirus, learn what your business can get and where to go for help on this page.
♦ Sole Traders
Sole Traders without employees can find information here which is specific to them.
This is important for any small businesses trading within a company structure because there is temporary relief available for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, and providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide temporary and targeted relief from provisions of the Act.
If you own a company and your business is affected by the coronavirus, learn what your business can get and where to go for help from this page.
♦ Cash Break – Boosting Cash Flow for Employers
Provides up to $100,000 back to small and medium-sized businesses, with a minimum payment of $20,000 for eligible businesses. The payments will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million and not-for-profit entities that employ staff. The payment will be tax free. Read the detail here. This one is automatic & available for a limited time – the ATO will calculate this when you lodge your Business Activity Statement.
BREAKING NEWS! The ATO have information to explain how they will administer the boost; that is, who’s eligible, how it works when your BASs are lodged, and anti-avoidance guidelines. Read about it here.
♦ Cash Break – Supporting Apprentices + Trainees
If you employ an apprentice or trainee you may be eligible for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of their wage paid from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.
You can register for the subsidy from early April 2020. This page contains the detail.
♦ Cash Break – Increased + Accelerated Income Support to assist individuals
The mechanics of this one are a bit hazy, but Centrelink will be administering the new, time limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories. These changes will apply for the next six months and will not be income tested. Sole Traders, the Self employed, casuals and contract workers are eligible to claim the supplement. This will commence from 27/4/2020. This is the page which contains the detail.
♦ Cash Break – Early Access to Superannuation
This one is a double edged sword because it gives a cash benefit now by taking it away from your future when you’re ready to retire.
Individuals affected by the coronavirus can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. You will be able to apply for early release of your superannuation from mid-April 2020. Read the detail here.
♦ Tax Break – Increasing the Instant Asset Write Off
The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). This applies from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, for new or second‑hand assets first used or installed ready for use in this time frame. Click here for more information available.
♦ Tax Break – Accelerated Depreciation Deductions
Accelerated depreciation deductions which applies to eligible assets acquired from 12 March 2020 and first used or installed by 30 June 2021. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset cost. Click here for more information available.
♦ Support – Coronavirus Small Medium Enterprise Loan Guarantee Scheme
The Government, Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority have taken coordinated action to support the flow of credit in the Australian economy, in particular for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a turnover less than $50 million. Under the Scheme, the Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to small and medium enterprise lenders for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital. Terms apply. Read more here.
♦ Non Essential Business Restrictions
Which non essential businesses are impacted by restrictions on social gatherings due to the coronavirus. Find that here.
♦ A hold on evictions for renters
The Prime Minister has announced new measures to help renters. Evictions will be put on hold over the next 6 months for commercial and residential tenancies in financial distress, who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of the coronavirus. More information is available here.
Support from the Australian Taxation Office
The ATO have a COVID-19 page which outlines the support they will provide to businesses affected by the Coronavirus. Find that here.
The ATO do not apply relief options automatically, so you will need to contact the ATO directly to discuss your options; they will assess on a case by case basis. Obviously you can give us a call first if you would like some advice.
Generally the ATO are offering payment deferrals, instalment variations, extra consideration around remitting interest & penalties incurred after 23 January 2020 and low interest payment plans.
The ATO CANNOT by law can’t change anything around employer Super Guarantee payments. So employers need to keep up to date with superannuation payments on behalf of their employees.
The ATO have also released answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Find them here.
Support from State & Territory Governments
If you do business outside of Queensland as some of our clients do, you can find out what other States & Territories are offering on this page. It’s an “index” to the states & territories of Australia.
Queensland State Government Support
You can find Queensland Government Novel Coronavirus small business support information here on the Business Queensland website This is the lead page containing all the Queensland Government Measures.
In it you’ll find links explaining:
- Payroll Tax Relief Info – if you’re not contacted, you’ll need to apply for the “Payroll Tax Holiday” – find the specific details here.
- Queensland COVID-19 jobs support loans – you need to register your interest to apply for this one – do that on this page.
- Small & Medium business power bill relief (automatically applied)
- Business Pandemic Management Guide
- Business Rent Relief
- Industry Support
- Health Advice
- And MORE
♦ Immediate Industry Recovery Package
A $27.25 million package has been announced to provide immediate assistance to help Queensland manage the impacts of the COVID-19 (coronavirus). This is the lead page for that package.
If you click on Business and Industry Support, or just jump to that page by clicking here, you’ll find helpful information around:
- Supply chain support & assistance
- Support for tourism operators and hospitality providers
- Support for agriculture & fisheries
- Other Fisheries Support
- Support for Exporters
Local Support – Noosa Shire Council
Council have an easy to read page here which outlines all the various support available to business affected by the coronavirus. This page is updated regularly so it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Local Support – Sunshine Coast Council
Council have a dedicated web page outlining Community Support for the coronavirus and you can see that here.
Council have also dedicated a page, similar to this one, which lists all the general information, support & advice for business affected by the coronavirus. Find that here.
Council’s support will evolve over time so check into these pages to see what’s new.
Our own previous newsletters & information
8/4/2020 – The ATO’s limited time method to claim expenses for working from home. See our Facebook summary here.
25/3/2020 – We have a simple & easy to read summary of what the stimulus packages so far mean for you. Find that on Facebook here.
18/3/2020 – We sent a newsletter covering off the first tranche of the federal government stimulus packages to our clients. See that here.