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Understanding the Australian Government's coronavirus (COVID-19) financial relief measures

If your business has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic you may be eligible for assistance under a range of measures announced by the Australian government to help you through this period of uncertainty.


Some of these measures will require you to access online services to lodge. Note that you will need a myGovID to access the Business Portal after AUSkey's retirement on 27 March.


Measures to help your business during these difficult times include:


Jobkeeper Payment

To retain and keep paying your employees, eligible employers and the self-employed will receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per employee for up to 6 months.


Eligibility criteria for employers:

  • your business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover has fallen by more than 30 per cent (of at least a month); or

  • your business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover has fallen by more than 50 per cent (of at least a month); and

  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Eligibility criteria for employees:

  • are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired)

  • were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020

  • are full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020)

  • are at least 16 years of age

  • are an Australian citizen, 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

  • are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer

To apply:

The application process is a little different for businesses with employees and without employees, though the first step for all businesses is to register your interest with the ATO from 30 March 2020 at this link.


For full details (including the application process) click here.


Boosting cash flow for employers

Small and medium sized business entities with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers are eligible for a tax-free payment to assist with cash flow.


The Government is now providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not-for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000.


Eligibility criteria:

Small and medium business entities with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers will be eligible. Eligibility will generally be based on prior year turnover.

  • The payment will be delivered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as a credit in the activity statement system from 28 April 2020 upon businesses lodging eligible upcoming activity statements.

  • Eligible businesses that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary and wages will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of the amount withheld, up to a maximum payment of $50,000.

  • Eligible businesses that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $10,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax.

  • 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.

An additional payment is also being introduced in the July – October 2020 period. Eligible entities will receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments they have received. To qualify for the additional payment, your business must continue to be active.


To apply:

You don't need to apply, the cash flow boost is a tax free payment to employers and is automatically calculated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).


The 'boost' will be delivered through credits in the activity statement system, when eligible businesses lodge their activity statements. You must lodge your activity statement to receive the cash flow boost.


Click here for full details


Assistance to help pay the wages of apprentices or trainees

Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer.


Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).


Eligibility criteria:

  • The subsidy will be available to small businesses employing fewer than 20 employees who retain an apprentice or trainee.

  • Employers of any size and Group Training Organisations that re‑engage an eligible out‑of‑trade apprentice or trainee will be eligible for the subsidy. The apprentice or trainee must have been in training with a small business as at 1 March 2020.

  • Employers will be able to access the subsidy after an eligibility assessment is undertaken by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.

To apply:

Employers can register for the subsidy from early April 2020. Final claims for payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020.


Find out more about how to apply, including information on eligibility, by contacting an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider:

https://www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au/


Click here for full details


Casual employees

If you employ a casual employee and they can’t work because they become sick or need to self-isolate, or their income has been otherwise impacted by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, they may be eligible for income support payments.


Your casual employees can apply through Services Australia (with reduced waiting periods for payment in certain circumstances) using the link below:


https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/affected-coronavirus-covid-19

For full details regarding the assistance measures on offer, please visit the following links for official information:


Business.gov.au


Australia Tax Office


Australian Government Treasury

If you need help to understand your business performance (including reports, analysis and other services to help you make better business decisions), please do not hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation at smallbizexcelwhiz@gmail.com or on 0484 361 947