COVID-19: All Concessions, Subsidies, Grants, Relief Packages Summary released since 3 April 2020

There has been a lot of information provided from many different sources in relation to concessions and benefits to be provided by the Government, both Federal and State, in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Our aim is to break it down into simple language where everyone is aware of what they are entitled to, how it is calculated and most importantly how to claim.

This is a guide only, it is expected that the legislation required for all recent announcements will be ratified and formally passed by Parliament on Wednesday, 8th April 2020. All information previously provided will then be updated to reflect any changes.

In this updated summary we provide information received to date in relation to:

Cash Flow Benefits for Employers – Ceased 15/10/2020
Support for Apprentice Payments – Current
Centrelink Payments and BenefitsUpdated 25/2/2021
JobKeeper Subsidy Package – Due to cease 28/3/2021
JobMaker Scheme – Current
Increasing the Instant Asset Write-Off Threshold – Current
Temporary Full Expensing – Current
Temporary Relief for Financially Distressed Businesses
Payroll Tax and Other Opportunities
Child Care & Early Childhood Education Relief Package
Temporary Early Release of Superannuation – 2020/2021 Closed 31/12/2020
Assistance to Retirees Receiving a Superannuation Pension or Annuity
Bank and Lending Institution Concessions and Assistance

At the bottom of this post can be found links to all additional non-Victorian State Government COVID-19 packages.

Boosting Cashflow for Business

This subsidy ceased on the 15th October 2020

Who is eligible for this?

Sole traders, partnerships, trusts and companies, not-for-profits (including charities), who employee people and have a turnover of less than $50m.

The payments will only be available to active eligible employers established prior to 12 March 2020.

However, charities which are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission will be eligible regardless of when they were registered, subject to meeting other eligibility requirements. This recognises that new charities may be established in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

What is it?

Initial Boosting Cash Flow Payment

  • Eligible businesses who withhold tax from their employee’s salary and wages will receive a payment equal to 100% of the tax withheld up to a maximum amount of $50,000 up to 30 June 2020.
  • Eligible businesses that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $10,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax for the same period.

This payment will be delivered by the ATO as a credit via lodgement of the Business Activity Statements as from April 28, 2020.

Additional Payment

To qualify for the additional payment, the entity must continue to be active.

The additional payments will be again be delivered as an automatic credit in the activity statement system. This will be equal to a quarter of their total initial Boosting Cash Flow upon the lodgement of their June 2020, July 2020, August 2020 and September 2020 activity statements (up to a total of $50,000).

For quarterly activity statement lodgers, the additional payments will be will be equal to half of their total initial Boosting Cash Flow upon the lodgement of their June 2020 and September 2020 activity statements (up to a total of $50,000).

How it works.

Monthly IAS payers – people who pay monthly.

Example:  Business A reports withholding of $8,788 for their employees on each of the monthly Business Activity Statements (BAS).

Business A will be entitled to receive: 

  • A credit of $26,364 for the March period, equal to 300 per cent of their total withholding.
  • A credit of $8,788 for the April period
  • A credit of $8,788 for the May period
  • A credit of $6,060 for the June period, up to the $50,000 cap.
  • An additional payment of $12,500 for the June period, equal to 25 per cent of their Initial  Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments.
  • An additional payment of $12,500 for the July period, equal to 25 per cent
  • An additional payment of $12,500 for the August period, equal to 25 per cent
  • An additional payment of $12,500 for the September period, being a final 25 percent .

Quarterly BAS payers

Example:  Business A has withholding of $26,364 for the March 2020 quarter.

Business A will be entitled to receive: 

  • A credit of $26,364 for the March period, equal to 100 per cent of their total withholding.
  • A credit of $23,636 for the June period, up to the $50,000 cap.
  • An additional payment of $25,000 for the June period, equal to 50 percent of their Initial  Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments.
  • An additional payment of $25,000 for the September period, being a final 50 percent .

What if I pay wages but don’t withhold tax?

Example: If lodging Quarterly

  • A credit of $10,000 for the March period.
  • An additional payment of $5,000 for the June period, equal to 50 percent of their Initial  Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments.
  • An additional payment of $5,000 for the September period, being a final 50 percent .

Apprentice and Trainees Subsidy

Final claims for payment must be lodged by 30 June 2021

What is it?

As part of its Economic Response to COVID-19, the Australian Government is supporting business to manage cash flow challenges and to keep apprentices and trainees employed through the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy.

The Australian Government has extended and expanded the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy, to include medium-sized businesses who had an apprentice in place on 1 July 2020.

Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of an eligible apprentice or trainee’s wages, up to $7,000 per quarter, per eligible apprentice or trainee, paid until 31 March 2021 in arrears.

In addition to the existing support for small businesses, medium-sized businesses may be eligible for the subsidy, for wages paid from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021.

Subsidies are also available to any new employer who re-engages an eligible apprentice that was displaced by an eligible small or medium sized business.

  • Your small business may be eligible if:
    • you employ fewer than 20 people; or
    • you are a small business with fewer than 20 people, using a Group Training Organisation; and
    • the apprentice or trainee was undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship with you on 1 July 2020 for claims after this date. Claims prior to 1 July 2020, will continue to be based on the 1 March 2020 eligibility date.
  • Your medium-sized business may be eligible if:
    • you employ fewer than 200 people; or
    • you are a medium business with fewer than 200 people, using a Group Training Organisation; and
    • the apprentice or trainee was undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship with you on 1 July 2020.
  • Any employer (including all small, medium or large businesses and Group Training Organisations) who re-engages an apprentice or trainee displaced from an eligible small or medium business may also be eligible for the subsidy.

Centrelink Payments and Benefits

Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight

For those individuals that are already receiving the benefits detailed below this payment will automatically be paid as from 27th April 2020 for a 6 month period.

Who is eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement?

It goes to anyone receiving:

  • JobSeeker Payment (formerly known as the Newstart Allowance)
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Youth Allowance for jobseekers
  • Parenting Payment Partnered
  • Parenting Payment Single
  • Partner Allowance
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Youth Allowance students and apprentices

Are small business owners and casual workers eligible?

Yes — if they suddenly find themselves earning less than $1,075 a fortnight.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Government would ensure people who had their business closed, saw customers disappear, or had casual shifts cut could access the Coronavirus Supplement.

“We have waived the assets tests and waived the waiting period but there is still the income test so if you earn $1,075 a fortnight you will get that full $550 Coronavirus Supplement,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“This is good news for a sole trader who is still in work but has seen the income reduce”.

“If you are a casual and you still have some hours but your income has fallen below that $1,075 a fortnight you will get the supplement.”

How to claim the Coronavirus Supplement

If you’re already receiving one of the welfare payments listed above, you don’t actually have to do anything.

Services Australia will automatically pay the Coronavirus Supplement to eligible recipients each fortnight.

If you’re not currently receiving and welfare benefits, you will need to apply.

Remember, the Government has temporarily expanded eligibility for the JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments, meaning you may be eligible if you’re:

  • A permanent employee who has been stood down or lost your job
  • A sole trader, self-employed, a casual or contract worker whose income has reduced
  • Caring for someone who’s affected by coronavirus

Income testing will still apply but if you’re earning less than $1,075 a fortnight, Centrelink should approve your claim, meaning you would get the supplement.

How do I apply for JobSeeker or Youth Allowance?

You can apply online at MyGov using a Centrelink account, or contact Services Australia by phone for more details (refer link below to all phone numbers).

To register for Centrelink Benefits if you are doing so for the first time:

You can either attend a Centrelink office, contact Services Australia by phone or register via your myGov account (myGov the quickest & easiest option)

Service Australia Phone Contact list link:  https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/contact-us/phone-us#a1

If you already have a myGov account it will offer you the option to register your intent to make a claim

If you do not have a myGov account you will need to set one up:

https://my.gov.au/LoginServices/main/login?execution=e1s1

Select the Create an account tab

Follow the instructions

Once you have set up the myGov account you can either link it to your existing Centrelink account or create your new account and register your intent.

Is there a waiting period for the Coronavirus Supplement?

The ordinary waiting period has been waived.

If you are eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement, the Government will also waive the liquid asset test waiting period, newly arrived residents waiting period, and seasonal work preclusion period.

Income maintenance and compensation preclusion periods will continue to apply.

Can I still access annual leave or income protection?

No. You can’t access employer entitlements, such as annual leave or sick leave, at the same time as getting JobSeeker or Youth Allowance payments.

You also can’t receive the payments if you’re accessing income protection insurance.

Tax-Free Payments of $750 to eligible recipients

The Government will be providing two separate $750 tax-free payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and to eligible concession card holders, as follows:

  • The first $750 payment will be available to individuals who are residing in Australia and are receiving an eligible Government payment, or are the holders of an eligible concession card, at any time from 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020 (inclusive). Also, where an individual has lodged a claim for one of the eligible payments or concession cards at any time from 12 March to 13 April 2020 (inclusive), they will also receive the payment if the claim is granted.

This payment will be made automatically to eligible individuals from 31 March 2020.

For this purpose, eligible Government payments and concession cards comprise the following (refer to the Treasury fact sheet: “Payments to support households”):

  • The second payment will be available to individuals who are residing in Australia and are receiving one of the above eligible Government payments or are the holders of one of the above eligible concession cards, on 10 July 2020 (except for those receiving an income support payment that qualifies them to receive the $550 fortnightly Coronavirus supplement).

This payment will be made automatically to eligible individuals from 13 July 2020.

Note that, an individual can be eligible to receive both the first and second support payment. However, they can only receive one $750 payment in each round of payments, even if they qualify in each round of the payments in multiple ways.

Each of the $750 payments will be exempt from income tax and will not count as income for the purposes of Social Security, the Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.

The following example is adapted from the fact sheet: “Payments to support households”.

EXAMPLE 1 – Eligibility for first and second $750 tax-free payment

Kate and Angus are a couple and are both Age Pension recipients as at 12 March 2020.
 
Under the Government’s stimulus package, Kate and Angus will each receive a first payment of $750, resulting in a combined (or total) payment of $1,500. These payments to Kate and Angus will be made automatically from 31 March 2020 and will be tax-free in their hands.

As Kate and Angus remain Age Pension recipients on 10 July 2020, they will each be eligible for a further $750 payment (i.e., as part of the second payment), resulting in a further combined (or total) payment of $1,500. These payments to Kate and Angus will be made automatically from 13 July 2020 and will be tax-free in their hands.

Overall, Kate and Angus will receive a total of $3,000, from the first and second payments.

JobKeeper Subsidy Package

Please refer to our dedicated JobKeeper Scheme page here for up to date information as the scheme has been extended.

Introduced by the Federal Government on 31st March 2020, known as the ”JobKeeper Payment”,  to assist eligible employers and self-employed individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort for them to continue to pay their workers.

What is it?

Eligible employers will be able to claim a subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight, per eligible employee, from 30 March 2020 (with payments commencing from the first week of May 2020), for a maximum period of six months.

This subsidy will be paid by the ATO monthly in arrears and will ensure that an eligible employee receives a gross payment (i.e., before tax) of at least $1,500 per fortnight.

Who is eligible for this?

Employers where:

  • for a business with a turnover of less than $1 billion – its turnover will be reduced by more than 30% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
  • for a business with a turnover of $1 billion or more – its turnover will be reduced by more than 50% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Self-employed individuals (who employ or do not employ workers) and not-for-profit entities including charities that meet the above criteria.

When Can the JobKeeper Payment be Claimed in respect of an Employee?

Before an eligible employer can claim the JobKeeper payment in respect of an employee (‘eligible employee’), the employee must satisfy the following requirements:

• The employee is currently employed by the employer (which includes an employee who has been stood down or re-hired after they had already lost their job).
• The employee was employed by the employer as at 1 March 2020.
• The employee is a full-time or part-time employee, or a long-term casual employee who has been employed by the employer on a regular basis for longer than 12 months at 1 March 2020.
• The employee is at least 16 years of age.
• The employee is an Australian citizen, or the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder.
• The employee is not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.

You cannot claim for any employees who either:

  • were first employed by you after 1 March 2020
  • left your employment before 1 March 2020
  • have been, or have agreed to be, nominated by another employer.

Casual employees are only eligible if they were employed by you on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months at 1 March 2020.

In summary, eligible employers will receive the JobKeeper Payment for each eligible employee who was on the employer’s books on 1 March 2020 and continues to be engaged by that employer (including full-time, part-time, long-term casuals and stood down employees).

Employees who have multiple employers will need to notify their primary employer to claim the JobKeeper Payment on their behalf, as only one employer will be eligible to receive the payment.

How does a business apply?

Enrolments opened on Monday 20th April 2020.

Eligible employers that apply for the JobKeeper Payment will need to provide supporting information demonstrating a downturn in their business, and must report the number of eligible employees employed by the business on a monthly basis.

Businesses without employees (Includes self-employed individuals, Trusts & Companies) will need to provide an ABN for the business, nominate an individual to receive the JobKeeper payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number, as well as provide a declaration on the recent business activity (to demonstrate the downturn in the business). These businesses will also need to provide a monthly update to the ATO in order to declare their continued eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment

How is the JobKeeper Payment Applied?

The purpose of the payment is to ensure that eligible employees/sole traders are paid a gross minimum amount of $1,500 per fortnight.

Examples:

  • If an employee receives at least $1,500 in gross salary per fortnight, they will continue to receive that amount and the JobKeeper payment effectively subsidises the employees wage in full.
  • If an employee receivers less than $1,500 in gross salary per fortnight then their employer must still pay them the full $1,500 subsidy amount received under the scheme
  • If an employee has been stood down, their employee must pay the employee a minimum gross fortnightly salary of $1,500
  • If an employee was employed on 1 March 2020, has subsequently ceased employment with their employer, and then has been re-engaged by the same employer, the employee will receive a minimum gross fortnightly salary of $1,500

EXAMPLE 1 – Employer affected by Covid-19 with multiple employees

Adam owns a business whose turnover has declined by more than 30% as a result of the downturn due to the Coronavirus. The business had the following three employees as at 1 March 2020:
• Anne, who is a permanent full-time employee and who continues to work in the business earning a gross salary of $3,000 per fortnight.
• Nick, who is a permanent part-time employee and who continues to work in the business earning a gross salary of $1,000 per fortnight.
• Fred, who was recently stood down from the business without pay.

Adam is eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment for each employee of $1,500 per fortnight (before tax), for a maximum period of six months (which would be paid monthly in arrears). The JobKeeper Payment would provide the following benefits for the business and its employees:

(a) The business continues to pay Anne her full-time gross salary of $3,000 per fortnight, as well as superannuation guarantee support on this income. In this case, the $1,500 per fortnight JobKeeper Payment effectively partly subsidises the cost of Anne’s salary.

(b) The business continues to pay Nick his $1,000 gross fortnightly salary and an additional $500 gross amount per fortnight, resulting in a total gross fortnightly salary of $1,500. In this case, the JobKeeper Payment fully subsidises the cost of Nick’s salary. The business must continue to provide Nick with superannuation guarantee support on the $1,000 fortnightly salary amount, but has the option of choosing to pay superannuation on the additional $500 gross amount paid to Nick under the JobKeeper Payment scheme.

(c) The business must start paying Fred a gross salary of $1,500 per fortnight, which is fully subsidised by the JobKeeper Payment. The business has the option of choosing to pay superannuation on this amount paid to Fred under the JobKeeper Payment scheme. If Fred commenced receiving any Centrelink support (e.g., JobSeeker Payment), he will need to advise Centrelink of his JobKeeper

EXAMPLE 2 – Self-employed affected by Covid-19 with no employees

Melissa is a sole trader running a florist without any employees.

The economic downturn due to the Coronavirus has adversely affected Melissa’s business and she expects that her business turnover will fall by more than 30% compared to a typical month one year ago (i.e., in 2019).

On this basis, Melissa will be able to apply for the JobKeeper Payment and would receive $1,500 per fortnight (before tax), which will be paid to her on a monthly basis in arrears.

EXAMPLE 3 – Self-employed affected by Covid-19 with employees

Melissa is a sole trader running a florist with one employee.

The economic downturn due to the Coronavirus has adversely affected Melissa’s business and she expects that her business turnover will fall by more than 30% compared to a typical month one year ago (i.e., in 2019).

On this basis, Melissa will be able to apply for the JobKeeper Payment for herself and her employee and would receive $1,500 per fortnight (before tax) for herself and her employee, which will be paid to her on a monthly basis in arrears.

JobMaker Scheme

JobMaker Explained

What is JobMaker?

JobMaker is a credit available to eligible businesses for hiring additional employees (not if you are merely replacing someone who left). The hiring credit is available for jobs created from 7 October 2020 until 6 October 2021.

The credit provides:

  • $200 per week for new employees between 16 to 29 years of age, and
  • $100 a week for new employees between 30 to 35 years of age.

    Payment is from the start date of the employee for 12 months.

When do the credits start?

Credits can be claimed for employees hired from 7 October 2020 until 6 October 2021. The credit will be claimed quarterly in arrears by the employer from the ATO from 1 February 2021. The credit is an incentive for the employer to support wage costs and not passed onto the employee.

How can we access JobMaker?

There are three tests for JobMaker:

Employer eligibility– Has an ABN up to date with tax lodgements.
– Registered for PAYG Reporting through single touch payroll.
– Keeps adequate records of the paid hours worked by the employee they are claiming the credit for.
– Another employer is not claiming JobMaker for the same employee
Employee eligibility– Received the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance (Other) or Parenting Payment for at least one month within the three months before they were hired.
– Between 16 and 35 years of age at the time their employment started.
– Worked at least 20 hours per week on average for the full weeks employed for the period being claimed.
– If the employee worked less than 20 hours, the employer cannot claim JobMaker for them during that period.
– Started work between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021
– The first year of employment with the employer.
– The employer is not receiving other forms of assistance from the Commonwealth Government for the employee, for example JobKeeper or an apprenticeship subsidy
Additional employee test (additionality test)The employers:
– Total employee headcount on the last day of the reporting period increased by at least one additional employee compared initially to 30 September 2020, then to the previous reporting period.
– Total payroll for the reporting period increased compared initially to the September quarter 2020 (July, August, September 2020), then to the previous reporting period.
– The hiring credit cannot exceed the increase in payroll.

Government entities or agencies, banks and other institutions subject to the bank levy, businesses in liquidation, and foreign Government entities (unless a resident entity), are unable to access JobMaker.

I can only claim JobMaker if the number of employees and payroll increases. What happens if one of my team resign? Through no fault of the business?

Your business can only receive JobMaker for your eligible employees if total employee headcount and payroll increases. If the headcount or payroll decreases or remains the same, JobMaker cannot be claimed for that period.

For example: If you had three staff at September 2020 and hired an additional two employees in late October 2020, your business can claim JobMaker for the two new employees assuming the business and the employer are eligible and payroll has increased compared to the September 2020 quarter. However, in December 2020, one of your original staff members resigns. As a result, your business can only claim JobMaker for one eligible employee in December as your headcount has increased by one, not two, compared to the September 2020 baseline.

A similar baseline concept applies to payroll. If you employed new eligible employees in October 2020 but your overall payroll remained the same or only increased marginally because the hours of your existing staff reduced when the two new employees were employed, then the JobMaker credit will only be the additional payroll amount. That is, if the JobMaker credit for the two employees for the quarter is $8,960, but payroll compared to the September 2020 quarter only increased by $1,200, then the JobMaker credit you receive would be $1,200. The JobMaker credit cannot exceed the increase in payroll.

Each month, employers will need to ensure they pass these ‘additionality’ tests before claiming.

Your headcount and payroll increase is measured on the last day of each reporting period from the date your first new employee started. For example, if your first new employee joined in October 2020, your baseline is set at that point. If a new employee starts in January 2021, your payroll and headcount baseline is measured from the last reporting period, in this case, December 2020 for headcount and the December quarter for payroll.  That is, your baseline commences from the date your new employee starts and then is reassessed each reporting period to ensure there is an increase.

If I don’t hire new staff until January 2021, can I claim JobMaker for 12 months or only up to 6 October 2021?

JobMaker is available for 12 months for eligible employees hired from 7 October 2020 until 6 October 2021. If you hire new employees from January 2021, JobMaker is available for 12 months for these employees assuming that the employees and business are eligible and the ‘additionality’ test is passed.

The baseline for the ‘additionality’ tests – headcount and payroll – starts from the start date of your new employee. The Government has indicated that the baseline for the ‘additionality’ test will be adjusted in the second year of the program to ensure an employer can only receive JobMaker for 12 months for each additional position created.  The detail of exactly how these rules will work has not been released as yet.

My business did not have employees in September but I hired my first employee in late October. Can I claim the JobMaker credit for them?

Businesses with no employees on 30 September, cannot claim JobMaker for their first employee. However, JobMaker can be claimed for your second and any subsequent employees that started on or before 6 October 2021.

Can the business get JobKeeper and JobMaker?

No. Once your business exits JobKeeper and is no longer receiving JobKeeper payments for any employees or business participants, if eligible, the business could then start to receive JobMaker credits. The business is eligible for the hiring credit in the reporting period following your JobKeeper exit date.

Increasing the Instant Asset Write-Off Threshold

From Thursday 12 March 2020 this was increased 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. 

There have been queries in relation to whether this threshold increase will also include motor vehicles and whether the current ATO car cost limit for depreciation purposes would apply, or, depreciation would be up to the current luxury car tax threshold.

There is no current definitive answer and until the Government legislates it is suggested that at this stage this would not include anything other than tool-of-trade vehicles such as trucks and tractors.

Temporary Relief for Financially Distressed Businesses

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 (Cth)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.

ATO

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.

  • Businesses on a quarterly GST reporting cycles may elect to change their reporting and payment to monthly, to receive quicker access to GST refunds. You will have to stay on the monthly cycle for 12 months.
  • If you’re a quarterly pay as you go (PAYG) instalments payer you can vary your PAYG instalments for the March 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment rate or amount can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.
  • If your business has been affected by COVID-19 and you need help to pay your existing and ongoing tax liabilities, you can contact the ATO to discuss entering into a low interest payment plan.
  • Deferring the due dates for income tax payments, Fringe Benefits Tax and Excise payments up to 12 September 2020.
  • Remitting any interest and penalties incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities.

Employers will still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees.

Payroll Tax

https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

The Victorian Government has announced tax measures to support businesses through Victoria’s State of Emergency, as part of a broader economic survival package in response to COVID-19. This includes:

  • Payroll tax waived in 2019-20 for eligible businesses with taxable wages up to $3 million.  Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for the 2020 year.  The SRO will also directly contact eligible business in relation to reimbursement for payroll tax already paid in the financial year. 

To claim the refund for tax paid to date login to your PTX Express (if not registered follow the instructions to create a login).

From the menu items on the LHS select Apply for Refund
Complete the Refund details and submit and the refund will be made to your elected bank account.

Other Opportunities

  • 2020 renewable liquor licence fees waived.
  • 2020 land tax deferred for people that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million.

Businesses across the state can also now access information on dealing with COVID-19 by calling the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

Child Care & Early Childhood Education Relief Package

Based on the Prime Minister’s Media Release of 2 April 2020, the relief package will involve additional funding for the child care sector, broadly as follows:
(a) The Government will pay 50% of the child care sector’s fee revenue (presumably, this would be paid to each eligible child care and early learning centre) up to the existing hourly rate cap.
(b) The additional funding will apply from 6 April 2020, based on the number of children who were in care during the fortnight leading into 2 March 2020, whether or not they were attending care.
(c) The additional funding will only be available as long as centres remain open and do not charge families for care.
(d) The payments made under the relief package will commence to be made at the end of next week and will be made in lieu of the Child Care and Additional Child Care Subsidy payments.
(e) Payments of higher amounts will be available in exceptional circumstances, such as where greater funding is required to meet the needs of emergency workers or vulnerable children.
(f) Until the payments are made, the Government will allow centres to waive gap fees for families who keep their children home, and families will be able to use the 20 extra absence days the Government has funded for COVID-19 related reasons without giving up their place in a centre.
(g) The new funding arrangements will be reviewed after one month, with an extension to be considered after three months.

The Prime Minister’s Media Release also advises that, families who have terminated any child’s enrolment since 17 February 2020 should get in contact with the relevant centre to re-start the child’s enrolment.

Furthermore, re-starting a child’s enrolment:
• will not require families to send their children to child care;
• will not require families to pay a gap fee; and
• will hold the child’s place at the centre for the point in time when things start to normalise and families are ready to take their children back to their centre.

In a separate media statement, the Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, also indicated that meanstesting arrangements to access the child care subsidy for those who are working during the 6 month pandemic will no longer be in place.

Temporary Early Release of Superannuation

The government is allowing individuals affected by COVID-19 to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019–20 and a further $10,000 in 2020–21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

From mid-April eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020.

To apply for early release, you must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:

  • You are unemployed.
  • You are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance.
    • On or after 1 January 2020, either you were made redundant
    • your working hours were reduced by 20% or more
    • if you are a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

Temporary Reduction for Minimum Annual Payments for Super Income Streams

For many retirees, the significant losses in financial markets as a result of the COVID-19 crisis are having a negative effect on the account balance of their superannuation pension or annuity.

To assist retirees, the Government has reduced the minimum annual payment required for account-based pensions and annuities, allocated pensions and annuities and market-linked pensions and annuities by 50% in the 2019–20 and the 2020–21 financial years.

Superannuation and annuity providers calculate the minimum annual payment required at 1 July each year, based on the account balance of the member or annuitant. The 50% reduction will apply to the calculated minimum annual payment.

Example

Robert is 67 years of age. At 1 July 2019, Robert’s account based pension balance was $480,000. Robert’s minimum annual payment was calculated at 5% (the percentage applicable to his age) of his pension balance, which is $24,000. Following the law change, Robert’s required annual minimum pension payment for 2019–20 is $12,000.

If Robert has already withdrawn more than $12,000 for 2019–20, he is not able to put the amount above $12,000 back into his superannuation account unless he’s eligible to make superannuation contributions and subject to any other rules or limits such as contribution caps.

Superannuation pensions and annuities that have already commenced

For pensions and annuities that commence part-way during the 2019-20 or the 2020-21 financial year , the 50% reduction applies to the minimum annual payment that is calculated proportionally on the account balance on commencement day.

Example

Thomas commences an account-based pension on 1 January 2020 at age 66. His pension account balance on the commencement day is $250,000. Under current minimum drawdown requirements, the minimum annual payment amount would be $12,500 (5% of $250,000). As the pension commenced on 1 January 2020, the required minimum amount is calculated proportionately from the commencement day to the end of the financial year:

$12,500 (minimum annual payment amount) × 182 (days remaining) ÷ 366 (2020 is a leap year) = $6,215.

Following the temporary reduction in minimum drawdown requirements, Thomas is only required to drawdown 2.5% of his account balance, which is $3,107 ($3,110 rounded up to the nearest 10 whole dollars). If Thomas has already withdrawn over $3,110 for 2019-20, he cannot put the amount above $3,110 back into his superannuation account unless he’s eligible to make superannuation contributions and subject to any other rules or limits such as contribution caps.

Bank and Lending Institutions

The following banks have announced specific COVID-19 concessions:

CBA

  • Deferring repayments on a variety of business loan and overdraft products, for 6 months.
  • Reducing commercial interest rates by 0.25.
  • Waiving merchant terminal fees for impacted customers with CBA payment terminals for 90 days.
  • Waiving early redraw fees on business term deposit accounts (including Farm Management Deposit accounts).
  • Waiving establishment fees and excess interest on Temporary Excess products.
  • Deferring repayments on vehicle and equipment finance loans, and providing tailored restructuring options that meet individual customer needs

How to apply? – If you have a Relationship Manager, they will be able to assist you at this time. Otherwise, you can contact our dedicated Business Financial Assistance team on 13 26 07. They are open 24 hours 7 days a week. 
https://www.commbank.com.au/latest/coronavirus.html

https://www.commbank.com.au/latest/coronavirus/business-support.html?ei=cor_deferbusloan#defer

ANZ

  • Suspending interest repayments
  • Deferral of business loan repayments for up to 6 months, assessed on a case-by case basis
  • Providing early access to term deposits without incurring break fees
  • Providing access to additional credit subject to approval.

How to apply? – Contact ANZ or your relationship manager.
https://www.anz.com.au/support/covid-19/

NAB

  • Deferral of business loan repayments for up to 6 months, assessed on a case by case basis.
  • Extension of a business loan term by a period of up to three months, where individual circumstances warrant.
  • Support to restructure existing business loans, including equipment finance.
  • Business credit card deferred repayments.

How to apply? – Contact NAB or your relationship manager or 1300 769 650 (Monday to Friday 8am-6pm AEST/AEDT)
https://www.nab.com.au/personal/customer-support/covid19-help/business-support

Westpac

  • Continuing its hardship assistance program.
  • Deferral of business loan repayments for up to 6 months, assessed on a case by case basis.

How to apply? – Contact Westpac or your relationship manager.
Link to COVID-19 Customer Support Package:
https://www.westpac.com.au/help/disaster-relief/coronavirus/

Bendigo

  • Home Loan and Business Loan customers can apply for relief on loans for up to 3 months.
  • Waiver of fees for the restructuring or consolidation of loans.
  • Credit card customers can apply for an emergency credit card limit increase.
  • Discounted interest rates on new personal loans taken out by existing Bendigo Bank customers.
  • Waiver of interest rate reduction for early withdrawals on term deposits prior to maturity.
  • Deferral of payments and extensions for Equipment Finance on a case by case basis.

How to apply? – Contact Bendigo or your relationship manager

New South Wales State Government: https://preview.nsw.gov.au/news/health-boost-and-economic-stimulus

3 April 2020 NSW Government announced additional Grants for small business of up to $10,000 for funding unavoidable business costs such as utilities, overheads, legal costs and financial advice. https://preview.nsw.gov.au/news/10000-grants-to-provide-fast-relief-for-nsw-small-businesses-battling-covid-19

Queensland State Government:
https://preview.nsw.gov.au/news/health-boost-and-economic-stimulus
and
http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2020/3/24/palaszczuk-government-unveils-4-billion-package-to-support-health-jobs-households-and-queensland-businesses

Western Australian State Government: https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/03/COVID-19-economic-response-Relief-for-businesses-and-households.aspx

Please note:  All information provided is as per the current Government information and fact sheets as at 3rd April 2020 and can be subject to change.