As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds each and every day, Australian governments at every level are announcing support for small businesses to keep them afloat during these unprecedented and challenging times.

We encourage you to come and speak to your Arabon accountant so they can assist you to translate and navigate what measures your business is eligible for and how to apply.  We can also help you to update your budgets and cash flow and assist with developing your business contingency plans.

We continue to update the list of fiscal measures as they are announced by the Australian Federal Government, Queensland State Government and the Brisbane City Council.  Other states and local councils are also announcing their own support packages that your accountant can help you look into.

Australian Federal Government:

The Government’s consolidated package of $319 billion is designed to help businesses and households through the period ahead. This significant action has been taken in the national interest and has been updated in the light of the broader and more prolonged impact of the outbreak.

Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access a wage
subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of 6 months.  Eligible employees will receive a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight, before tax. It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of JobKeeper Payments.  You can register your business interest with the ATO and learn more from this fact sheet for employers.

The Government is enhancing the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure it announced on 12 March 2020. The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. These payments will help businesses and NFPs with their cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.

This measure will benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people, and around 30,000 NFPs (including charities).

Under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, the Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs. The Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending. This will provide businesses with funding to meet cash flow needs, by further enhancing lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit. This will assist otherwise viable businesses across the economy who are facing significant challenges due to disrupted cash flow to meet existing obligations.

The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The package also includes temporary relief 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 to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis.

The ATO will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus, including temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions including Director Penalty Notices and wind-ups.

The Government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. In 2017-18 there were more than 360,000 businesses that benefited from the current instant asset write-off, claiming deductions to the value of over $4 billion. This measure will support over 3.5 million businesses (over 99 per cent of businesses) employing more than 9.7 million employees.

The Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. 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’s cost. This measure will support business investment and is estimated to lower taxes paid by Australian businesses by $6.7 billion over the next two years. This measure will support over 3.5 million businesses (over 99 per cent of businesses) employing more than 9.7 million employees.

CPA Australia – summary of Federal Government assistance

Queensland State Government:

The Queensland Government has announced a range of initiatives to support businesses affected by COVID-19. The initiatives are designed to help businesses of all sizes withstand the economic impacts of the pandemic and support jobs.  This handy business assistance finder helps your business to determine what financial assistance and other types of relief you may be eligible to receive from the state government.

Applications are now open for the Queensland Government’s $500 million COVID-19 Jobs Support Loan scheme. This scheme is for Queensland businesses and non-profit organisations financially affected by COVID-19 to retain employees and maintain their operations.

Low interest loans of up to $250,000 are available to assist with carry-on expenses such as employee wages, rent and rates and other related expenditure. Eligible business types include sole traders, partnerships, private and public companies and Trusts.

All COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans will be provided for a term of 10 years, with no repayments or interest charged for the first year, followed by two years of interest only payments. Principal and interest repayments will commence from the third year for the remainder of the loan term.

You may be eligible for one or more of a range of payroll tax relief measures as a result of the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

These include:

  • refunds of payroll tax for 2 months
  • a payroll tax holiday for 3 months
  • deferral of paying payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year.

The $7.9 million business relief package will apply to businesses and Council lessees who will have a range of fees and charges waived for the next three months.

Other Australia State and Territory Governments:

CPA Australia  – Summary of State and Territory Government assistance

Contact us today to discuss how we can assist your small business to navigate the information and measures available to you and have you best placed and prepared for the road ahead.