Coronavirus - COVID - 19 Australian Government Support

Recently the Australian Government announced a number of measures to support Australian businesses and individuals during this unprecedented time of uncertainty amid Coronavirus. They’ve now also announced the second phase of that package, with greater levels of support. 

QC Accountants is here to support you through this challenging time. We’ve drafted the below summary of what’s on offer. 

Skip Ahead

 

For Employers (the cash boost)

A major component of the Government stimulus package is providing employers with a refund of their employee PAYG-withholding payments. This is an extension to the refunds announced in the first stimulus package:

  • A 100% refund on PAYG withholding paid for the January to March 2020 period, up to a maximum of $50,000 (minimum payment being $10,000). 
  • A 50% refund on PAYG withholding paid for the April to June 2020 period, up to a maximum of $50,000 (minimum payment being $10,000). Ie. This is a combined minimum total of $20,000.
  • Employers of apprentices will also be able to claim a wage subsidy covering 50% of the apprentice’s wage.  A maximum of $21,000 per apprentice per year will be applied.  This grant is arranged through Apprenticeship Australia, it opens on 2 April 2020.

https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/employers 

 

For Trusts and Companies

As well as the above benefits available to employers, trusts and companies may be entitled to receive: 

  • Commonwealth guarantees unsecured loans of up to $250,000 for a term of up to 3 years for companies under the government’s SME Scheme. We note that this is arranged through your Financial Institution.
  • Deferral of small business loans: Businesses may be eligible to contact their financial institution to arrange for a deferral from payment of small business loans.  We understand this is on a case by case basis.  We note that this is arranged through your Financial Institution.
  • Tax Support & relief will be provided by the ATO to businesses to assist them to pay their GST, PAYG, and income tax obligations. We encourage you to contact us as we can assist you with this matter.
  • Accelerated depreciation: upfront deductions are available for assets purchases up to $150,000, this is an increase of the original $30,000 accelerated depreciation scheme.

https://www.business.gov.au/Risk-management/Emergency-management/Coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/Coronavirus-SME-Guarantee-Scheme 

 

For Employees (Full Time, Part Time, Casual) & Sole Traders

Employees and sole traders are eligible for wage subsidies to compensate them for financial distress caused by COVID-19. The payments are up to $550 per fortnight (when earning less than $1,075 per fortnight). We note that this is applied for through Centrelink.

A direct refund of $750 will be offered to low-income earners, pensioners and those already receiving Centrelink payments. 

A second $750 refund will also be assigned to those already receiving government assistance. We understand that this refund will not be applicable to those receiving the fortnightly payment. 

Those experiencing financial distress may also be eligible to access superfunds for amounts of up to $10,000 in the 2020 financial year and further $10,000 in the 2021 financial year. If a tax refund is expected, they may also be able to access this early. 

If you work from home due to Coronavirus restrictions, you may eligible to claim home office expenses such as heating, internet, lighting and running expenses. 

 

From Banks and Lenders

Specific COVID-19 concessions have been announced by the major Australian banks, contact your bank to find out more information.

For more information, we encourage you to read through the assistance provided by your bank

https://www.accountantsdaily.com.au/business/14167-big-banks-outline-mortgage-repayment-relief 

 

Updates from the ATO

We understand the ATO may defer lodgment of Business Activity Statements, for up to 4 months. 

They will also:

  • provide for low / no interest repayment plans.
  • allow taxpayers to vary PAYG Instalments to nil during the affected period.
  • allow those in a refund position to lodge BAS statements on a monthly basis in order to allow refunds to be received in a timelier manner. 

 

What QC Accountants can do

While our office is now officially closed, we are available for phone meetings to discuss how this stimulus may support you and your business. We recommend booking your telephone check-in.

  • We recommend our clients tackle the potential cashflow considerations head-on. If you have any questions or concerns the first step to do this is have a meeting with us to determine how much you could be affected and identify the options available to minimise the impact.
  • We can then assist to prepare a cashflow forecast for the affected period to assist you to plan how to best manage your cashflow during this time.
  • We are also able to contact the ATO on behalf of clients regarding eligibility for the following benefits. 

For further information please view the following links – 

 

For those facing insolvency

The Government is temporarily increasing the current minimum threshold for creditors issuing a statutory demand on a company under the Corporations Act 2001 from $2,000 to $20,000. This will apply for six months.

The threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor will temporarily increase from its current level of $5,000 to $20,000. This will apply for six months.

When a debtor declares an intention to enter voluntary bankruptcy the period will be temporarily extended from 21 days to six months. This will give debtors more time to consider the options that are best for them. This will apply for six months.

Directors will be temporarily relieved of their duty to prevent insolvent trading with respect to any debts incurred in the ordinary course of the company’s business. This will relieve the director of personal liability that would otherwise be associated with insolvent trading. It will apply for six months.

 

If you have any questions at all, we humbly ask that you contact our team on 07 5593 6060 as we are here to help you.