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COVID-19 UPDATES: GOVT STIMULUS
23.Mar.2020 Business Advice | Tax Accounting

COVID-19 UPDATES: GOVT STIMULUS

COVID-19 UPDATES

What the newest announcements mean for you and your business.

Amidst another huge week for Australian’s (and the world) we’ve got news updates left, right and centre with a lack of clarity around what exactly is happening for business and individuals around the country and on a state by state basis. Here’s the round up of exactly what the latest C-19 government stimulus package means.

For Business

CASHFLOW ASSISTANCE

  • The initial cash payment for employers with a turnover of up to $50 million has been
    increased from a minimum of $2000 to a $20,000 to a maximum of $50,000 increased to a maximum $100,000.
  • This will be distributed as a credit on your BAS of up to 100% of the PAYG withheld
    amount from wages. If your BAS payable is less than the total credit, the difference will be distributed as a cash payment into your bank account.
  • It will be split between the Jan to March 2020 BAS, April to June 2020 BAS (Phase 1) and between July and October 2020 (Phase 2).
  • To receive the second payment, the business will need to remain active.This is where is gets a little confusing so read carefully…·
    The first phase (March-June) involves eligible employers receive a credit equal to 100%
    of the PAYG amounts withheld from salary and wages paid to employees during the relevant period, up to the maximum amount of $50,000.
  • The second phase (July-Oct) means that you will then receive another series of credits, equal to the credits that were received under the first phase, EVEN IF you owe less on your BAS.
  • So to be clear, the minimum is $20,000 and the maximum is $100,000, but this is IN TOTAL from March until October, not per $20,000 or $100,000 per quarter

For more examples, check the Treasury document here or contact us directly to understand how this will play out for your business.

  • Your Jan-March BAS should now be lodged. Cash and credit has begun distribution!

JOBKEEPER PAYMENT

This scheme has been announced with the intention of keeping people employed.

  • Businesses will receive $1500 per employee each fortnight with the intention of that business then keeping employees employed
  • Businesses will be able to claim this subsidy from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of 6 months
  • If you do gain access to the payment, it will be issued from 1 May 2020 and be backdated to 30 March 2020
  • If your turnover is less than $1 billion you must have a reduction in revenue of 30% or more since March 1 to be eligable. Note that if you have not experienced this reduction yet but are expecting to in the coming weeks, you can still apply
  • Employees must be currently employed by you OR were employed at 1 March 2020
  • If you have stood employees down since 1 March due to C-19, you can re-employ them now and still be eligible for the payment (which must then be passed onto them as per below section)
  • The employee can be full time, part time or a long-term casual (casuals must have been employed for longer than 12 months)
  • Register your intention to claim on the ATO Jobkeeper page HERE
  • Applications open April 20th, see more HERE

We’ve written another blog HERE on the Jobkeeper payment with a full breakdown of what it means for employees and employers, as well as further details on who is eligible.

  • You should now have completed your application and received payment for April if your business was eligible.
  • Remember to re-register for May and every month you continue to be eligible for those payments to keep coming

ASSET WRITE OFF

This remains unchanged from the first stimulus announcement:

  • $700m to expand the instant asset write off scheme. The threshold has increased from $30k to $150k. The turnover threshold to qualify for this has increased from $50m to $500m. The instant asset write-off scheme will operate from announcement until 1 July 2020.
  • Introduction of a time-limited 15-month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short-term, by accelerating depreciation deductions

WAGE SUBSIDIES FOR APPRENTICES

This remains unchanged from the first stimulus announcement:

  • $7000 each quarter in wage subsidies for employers of less than 20 people to save the jobs of 120,000 apprentices.
  • Subsidies will be backdated to 1 January 2020 and will run until 1 September 2020.

ACCESS TO CAPITAL

For those needing cash and quickly, the government will guarantee 50% of new loans to SMEs up to $20 billion. They are short-term and unsecured. To be eligible, your turnover needs to be less than $50 million and here are the terms…

  • Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower.
  • The loans will be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday.
  • The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan.
  • Loans will be subject to lenders’ credit assessment

A summary of each bank’s measures can be found here.

SOLE TRADERS

You will now be able to access jobseeker payment through Centrelink if your income has been reduced.

More:

GRANTS

For additional help, you may be eligible for state or other grants that have been announced recently. Click below to read more:

Eligibility criteria for the Victoria Business Support fund has now widened. To be eligible you must:

  • Be eligible for JobKeeper
  • Be an employer
  • Turnover of more than $75k
  • Payroll of less than $650k

The fund provides one off $10,000 grants. You will need your JobKeeper application receipt number to complete the application – if you can’t find it give the ATO a call. Apply here!

Temporary relief from Corporations Act requirements

The Treasurer has been given a temporary instrument-making power to amend the Corporations Act to provide relief or modifications to specific compliance obligations.

ASIC has announced measures for those companies with a 31 December financial year that need to hold their AGMs by 31 May 2020, providing a two month no action period and enabling hybrid virtual AGMs.

For Individuals

Fortnightly $550 ‘coronavirus supplement’

For the next 6 months, the $550 supplement will be paid fortnightly to both existing and new recipients in the eligible payment categories.

The payment will be made to those receiving:

  • Jobseeker payment (and those transitioning to the jobseeker payment)
  • Youth allowance jobseeker
  • Parenting payment
  • Farm household allowance
  • Special benefits recipients

In addition, eligibility to income support payments will be expanded to:

  • Permanent employees who are stood down or lose their job
  • Casual workers
  • Sole traders
  • The self-employed
  • Contract workers who meet the income test

The Government notes that these criteria could include those required to care for someone affected by the Coronavirus.

Asset testing has also been reduced and will be waived for 6 months. Income testing will still apply.

The payment is not available if you have access to any employer entitlements such as annual or sick leave or income protection insurance.

More:

Early release of superannuation

From mid-April, individuals in financial distress will be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20, and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. The withdrawals will be tax free and will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

To be eligible…

  • you are unemployed; or
  • you’re eligible for jobseeker, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance; or
  • on or after 1 January 2020:
    • you were made redundant; or
    • your working hours were reduced by 20% or more; or
    • if you are a sole trader — your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

For those eligible to access their superannuation, you can apply directly to the ATO through the myGov website from mid-April.

More:

Temporary reduction in minimum superannuation draw down rates

Superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products will be reduced by 50% in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Age

Default minimum drawdown rates (%)

Reduced rates by 50 per cent for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years (%)

Under 65

4

2

65-74

5

2.5

75-79

6

3

80-84

7

3.5

85-89

9

4.5

90-94

11

5.5

95 or more

14

7

The upper and lower social security deeming rates will be reduced further. As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25% and the lower deeming rate 0.25%.

More: Providing support for retirees

Second $750 payment to households

The Government is now providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders residing in Australia (see the full list here). The payment will be exempt from taxation and will not count as income for the purposes of Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.

  • Payment 1 from 31 March 2020 (previously announced on 12 March): Available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders at any time between 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020;
  • Payment 2 from 13 July 2020: Available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders on 10 July 2020.

The payments will be made automatically to those that meet the criteria.

More:

Payments to support households

Bankruptcy safety net

A temporary 6 month increase to the threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor will increase from $5,000 to $20,000. In addition, the time a debtor has to respond to a bankruptcy notice will be temporarily increased from 21 days to six months.

Where someone declares their intention to enter voluntary bankruptcy, the period of protection from unsecured creditors will be extended from 21 days to 6 months.

More:

More information:

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