The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has implemented a series of administrative measures to assist Businesses in dealing with financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19 include:
- Deferring by up to four months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise
- Allow businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to
- Allowing businesses to vary Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters
- Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities
- Working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low interest payment plans.
Employers will still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees.
NOTE: Important ATO assistance disclaimer: –
- Assistance measures for those impacted by COVID-19 will not be automatically implemented.
- Anyone impacted by COVID-19 is advised to contact the ATO to request assistance.
Dedicated Large Business Phone Service
The ATO has established a large business service for ease of access to officers experienced in dealing with large business account enquiries about debt and lodgement obligations. This covers both income tax and GST. Contact is via 1300 728 060.
Coronavirus Stimulus Package – First Round
- Cashflow boost for employers. Up to $25,000 is available to help pay wages or for investment to protect against a downturn in activity. The payment is open to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million. Eligible businesses that withhold tax on employee salary and wages will automatically receive a payment equal to 50% of the amount withheld. The minimum payment is $2,000 and maximum is $25,000 and will be available for businesses who lodge business activity statements for the March and June quarters. Read the Fact sheet
- Boosted instant asset write-off. Businesses with turnover of less than $500 million are eligible for an expanded instant asset write-off for asset investments of up to $150,000. The threshold applies on per asset basis, so businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets. Read the Fact sheet
- Accelerated depreciation. Businesses with turnover less than $500 million will be able to access a 15-month investment incentive by accelerating depreciation deductions. Read the Fact sheet
- Apprentice wage subsidy. Small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time workers will receive 50% of an apprentice or trainee’s wage. For each apprentice or trainee, the Government will provide up to $7,000 in wage assistance per quarter. The wage subsidy will be open to businesses with fewer than 20 full-time workers and employers of any size that re-employ someone who loses their position as a result of the Coronavirus downturn. Read the Fact sheet
- Income support. People who are unable to attend work because they have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus or who are in isolation, may qualify for income support if they do not have any employer leave entitlements. Read the Fact sheet
Trade and Export Assistance
Trade and export assistance. The Australian Government’s Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) provide Australian businesses with export finance solutions and may be able to assist. They provide export loans, guarantees, bonds and buyer finance solutions help businesses access finance.
State by State Business Assistance Measures
Qld State Measures
Loans: Below please find the link to register interest in pursuing an industry support loan of up to $250,000. Please open the link should you wish to pursue the same. No harm in lodging an expression of interest just in case.
- $3.66m commercial fishing industry assistance package.
- Temporary fee relief for commercial tourism operators.
- Fees waived for liquor and gaming business applying to change trading hours or change a licenced area.
- Market diversification and resilience grants of up to $50,000 for agriculture, fishing and food exporters.
QLD OSR has also offered a deferment to Payroll Tax if this affects you. Lodgement and payment of payroll tax returns can be deferred until 3 August 2020.
NSW State Measures
NSW Government: An allocation of $2.3 billion to battle the Coronavirus, with $1.6 billion dedicated to economic stimulus measures designed to keep people in jobs.
A total of $450 million will go towards waiving payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months, Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed, meaning that these businesses will not have to pay tax for the rest of the financial year. (Details to be released)
$80m to waive a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies.
Victoria State Measures
Victorian Government has spoken about but has yet to articulate its reference to ‘businesses being offered “survival payments” to help stay afloat as they grapple with the fallout of Coronavirus’.
Tasmania State Measures
Interest Free Business Loans for Small Business • $20 million in interest free loans to small businesses in the hospitality, tourism, seafood production, and exports sectors. The loans will be available to businesses with a turnover of less than $5 million to purchase equipment or restructuring business operations and will be interest free, for three years.
Payroll Tax Waivers • Payroll tax liabilities will be waived for hospitality, tourism and seafood industry businesses for the last four months of 2019-20. • Other businesses with payrolls of up to $5 million will be able to apply, based on the impact of virus, to have their payroll tax waived for April to June 2020.
Government Maintenance Program • $50 million allocated to fast track maintenance on public buildings over the next 12 months. This will provide an injection into local trades around the state and continue to support confidence in local communities.
Targeted Small Business Grants Program for Apprenticeships and Traineeships • The targeted Small Business Grants Program provides a $5,000 grant for businesses that hire an apprentice or trainee in the tourism, hospitality, building and construction, and manufacturing industries. Funding for this measure has been brought forward.
Date of Issue: 19 March 2020
Disclaimer: The contents herein are intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal or accounting advice. Vicca Chartered Accountants Brisbane bears no responsibility for any loss that might occur from reliance on information contained in this publication. Please do not reproduce, transmit or distribute the contents herein in any form without prior permission from Vicca Chartered Accountants, Taxation Accountants Brisbane Australia.