COVID-19 Support Summary
As at 18 March 2020
The Federal and State Governments, ATO and major banks have announced their economic response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19). These measures are designed to assist Australian businesses and individuals experiencing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19. Whilst not exhaustive, this list contains important information and links that may help you and your business navigate this uncertain time.
Australian Taxation Office – ATO Support Measures web link
The ATO has advised a number of specific measures to support small business.
Options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19 include:
– Deferring the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise (by up to four months);
– Allowing 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.
Businesses will need to contact the ATO directly to discuss a support package.
The ATO will also work with individuals experiencing financial hardship, and their tax agents, and will apply appropriate tax relief measures for serious and exceptional circumstances, such as where people cannot pay for food or accommodation.
Federal Government – Fed Gov Cash Flow Assistance Fact Sheet link
Queensland State Government – QLD Payroll Tax Deferral link
The QLD state government has offered payroll tax relief for all businesses for the next quarter (possibly longer) which means businesses don’t need to lodge or pay payroll tax returns before 31 July 2020.
The QLD government is also offering concessional loans up to $250,000 with an initial 12-month interest free period for businesses to retain staff. Information on the concessional loans will be available at www.qrida.qld.gov.au from 20 March 2020.
New South Wales State Government – NSW Assistance Link
NSW has reduced the payroll tax load on small business and reduced some fees and charges:
– Waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months (the rest of 2019-20). This will save businesses a quarter of their annual payroll tax bill in 2019-20;
– Bring forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21;
– Waive a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and trades.
West Australia State Government – WA payroll tax relief web page
The WA government is introducing three payroll tax measures to support businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
1. The payroll tax threshold will be increased to $1 million on 1 July 2020. The threshold increase will be reflected in Revenue Online when it comes into effect.
2. Employers, or groups of employers, who pay $7.5 million or less in Australian taxable wages and have been directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 can apply to defer their monthly payroll tax payments until 21 July 2020.
3. A one-off grant of $17,500 will be available for employers, or groups of employers, whose annual Australian taxable wages are more than $1 million and up to $4 million.
You do not need to apply for the grant. Grants will automatically be paid by cheque from July but there will be delays for taxpayers whose tax status changed in 2018-19 or who became liable for payroll tax during the 2018-19 or 2019-20 assessment year. Eligible taxpayers should log in to Revenue Online to ensure their postal address is correct.
All the major banks have offered support to business and personal customers affected by COVID-19. A full list of bank support pages is provided on the Australian Banking Association’s website.
Below are links to the big 4 bank web pages on COVID-19 support. Most are offering repayment holidays for 3 months at this time. Follow these links and talk to your banker for further details of how your bank can assist you.
This information is general in nature and is not to be taken as financial, legal or governance advice. You should consider seeking independent financial, legal or other advice to check how the information relates to your unique circumstances. Vantage Performance is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided directly or indirectly.