COVID-19 Relief Options Available For Your Business

Updated June 23

We get it. There is a lot of information out in the market regarding assistance and relief available for businesses and individuals who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While we at BlueRock have been regularly distributing updates on the COVID-19 assistance options and legislative changes, this page has been created as a comprehensive summary in one single location.

As further announcements are made, we will continue to update this page as a single source of information for our community on the relevant government support and legislation as well as important business information and tips. We're also currently running webinars on the topics within this web page so make sure to check these out if you'd like further information or have questions. Take care and remember that we're in this together and we're here to help.

Events
Surviving and Thriving Through the Coronavirus - Tips for Hospitality & Retail Owners
Webinar
Surviving and Thriving Through the Coronavirus
Tips for Hospitality & Retail Owners
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
How to Navigate COVID-19 and Staff
Webinar
How to Navigate COVID-19 and Staff
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Rent and COVID-19: The Latest Updates
Webinar
Rent and COVID-19
The Latest Updates
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Distressed Business: Managing Your Risks and Considering Your Options
Webinar
Distressed Business
Managing Your Risks and Considering Your Options
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Upcoming Events
Previous Events
Nothing on right now. Check back soon for the latest events.
1
Updated May 1

Key Practical Business Considerations

Most businesses have been impacted in one way or another by COVID-19. Regardless of your individual situation, the practical operational guidelines below may help your business tosurvive, and hopefully thrive, through these tough times.

1.1
Updated May 1

Forecasting

  • Prepare a short-term cash flow forecast (3 months) broken down into weekly cash movements. Include assumptions such as a 20% and 40% drop in revenue.
  • Identify the impact on your cash flow and consider potential strategies to adopt around costs savings, and protecting and growing revenue.
  • Work with your BlueRock advisor to quickly ascertain your situation
1.2
Updated May 1

Cash flow

  • Know your cash flow position.
  • Consider how your product mix and sales strategy may need to change to reduce the impact of, or take advantage of, current conditions.
  • Revisit your marketing plan and strategy to investigate low to promote your business in low-cost way.
  • Eliminate all non-essential or discretionary expenditure.
  • Reduce your labour costs – refer to the Staff section below.
  • Consider your operating hours to reduce the running costs of your business.
  • Discuss reducing or deferring rent with your landlord.
  • Discuss converting your debt to interest-only with your bank or seeking a repayment holiday.
  • Review cash flow relief and support options provided by the ATO and SRO.
  • Identify other options for short-term sources of finance.
  • Reduce stock levels.
  • Sell surplus assets that do not have debt attached to them.
  • Consider payment plans or deferral for personal expenses such as school fees.
1.3
Updated May 1

Staff

  1. Speak to staff about short-term job sharing or moving to part-time employment rather than redundancies.
  2. Consider short-term salary cuts for higher salaried employees.
  3. Communicate with staff about your policy, expectations and interactions with clients and customers – Read our Coronavirus and the Workplace Article for more info on this topic.
  4. Consider workflow planning should there be personnel disruptions, managing casual staff, and paying full-time wages while on leave.
  5. Consider work-from-home requirements on a case-by-case basis.
  6. Consider Fair Work requirements for employees that may have been exposed to the virus.
1.4
Updated May 1

Debtors

  • Offer discounts for payment.
  • Agree to payment plans where required.
  • Seek upfront payments for services where appropriate.
  • Make sure your terms and conditions are structured adequately and protect your right to recover debts.
1.5
Updated May 1

Suppliers

  • Proactively communicate with key suppliers and delay payments or negotiate extended payment terms.
  • Reduce the number of suppliers who are owed funds by clearing smaller debt as this will reduce the number of suppliers you may be required to negotiate with.
  • Negotiate payment discounts.
2
Updated May 1

Employee Issues

2.1
Updated May 1

JobKeeper Subsidy Payment

The JobKeeper Payment Scheme is operated by the ATO. Enrolment for this program opened on 20 April 2020.  We highly recommend that you talk to your accountant on the eligibility of your business and employees, along with collating the required documentation prior to starting the enrollment and subsequent application process. 

To help you better understand the JobKeeper Payment Scheme we have crafted two rather large and up to date F.A.Q

Guide to the JobKeeper Payment Scheme - 09 April 2020 

Guide to the JobKeeper Payment Scheme - 10 April 2020 - Hint: his guide contains vital updated information around payment of the JobKeeper subsidy and information on non-employee eligibility criteria like sole traders and directors!

If you'd like assistance with applying and managing your JobKeeper obligations please contact a BlueRock adviser today. 

What is the JobKeeper Payment Scheme?

The JobKeeper Payment Scheme is a wage subsidy to be paid to Businesses, Sole Traders, Businesses Without Employees, Not for Profits and Charities. For those with a turnover of more than $1b, a loss of at least 50% is required. For those with a turnover of less than $1billion, a drop of 30% is required. Not for Profits and Charities require a 15% drop. There are a variety of turnover tests to determine eligibility. The payment will be made to employers at a flat rate of $1,500 per fortnight. 

Payments will be made in arrears from the first week of May, backdated to 30 March (for those eligible), and will continue for a maximum of 6 months. These payments are designed to keep employees on the payroll and connected to their business. Businesses will be required to prove that they are using the funds to subsidise wage payments to their employees. This will be done by Single Touch Payroll or a manual form.

Enrolment for this program opened on 20 April 2020.

JobKeeper Payment Scheme Enrolment & Application Process

The first stage of the JobKeeper Payment Scheme has recently opened. There are two stages to this process. Enrolment (stage 1) has opened as of 20 April 2020.

It was announced that the deadline for JobKeeper enrolments has been extended from 30 April 2020 until 31 May 2020; however, payments for the first two JobKeeper fortnights are required to be made by 8 May 2020.

If you've been struggling to get on top of everything, this means you'll have some more time and still be able to claim payments for the fortnights in April and May, provided you meet all the eligibility requirements for each of those fortnights. This includes having paid your employees by the appropriate date for each fortnight.

For the first two fortnights (30 March - 12 April, 13 April - 26 April), the ATO will accept the minimum $1,500 payment for each fortnight as being paid by the employer, even if it has been paid late, provided it is paid by 8 May 2020. If the employer does not make this payment to staff by this date, they will not be able to claim JobKeeper for the first two fortnights.

Companies with eligible employees – open

Sole trader and other entities – open

For eligible participants in the scheme, during the enrolment you will need to provide your bank account details. If you have eligible employees you will need to advise the number of eligible employees.

The second stage is the Monthly Reporting Stage which opens on 4 May 2020.

Companies with eligible employees will be required to identify eligible employees either by:

  • selecting employee details that are prefilled from their STP pay reports (if they report payroll information through an STP enabled payroll solution) or
  • manually entering employee details in ATO Online services for agents or the Business Portal (if they do not use an STP-enabled payroll solution).

The ATO has advised that it will remit funds to employers for all eligible employees after receiving the application.

Eligible Business Participant

Your non-employee individual is an eligible business participant of your entity for the fortnight if they meet all of the following:

They are an individual not employed by your entity.

They are actively engaged in the business carried on by your entity (at 1 March 2020 and for the fortnight you are claiming).

They are one of the following (at 1 March 2020 and for the fortnight you are claiming)

  • a sole trader
  • a partner in the partnership
  • an adult beneficiary of the trust
  • a shareholder or director in the company.

Eligible business entities

Your entity is eligible if:

on 1 March 2020, it carried on a business in Australia

it satisfies the 'fall in turnover' test for the relevant period

it satisfied certain conditions as at 12 March 2020, being  

  • a 2018–19 income tax return showing that it had an amount included in its assessable income in relation to it carrying on a business, or
  • an activity statement or GST return for any tax period that started after 1 July 2018 and ended before 12 March 2020 showing that it made a taxable, GST-free or input-taxed sale.

Note: A discretion to give further time after 12 March 2020 may apply in limited circumstances such as if you did not have a requirement to lodge your 2018-2019 return until after 12 March 2020, or you have deferred your lodgement under an extension of lodgement date the ATO initiated.

Sole Trader & Other Entity Monthly Reporting

Each month, you must reconfirm your reported eligible employees and eligible business participant. If your eligible employees change or leave your employment, you will need to notify the ATO through this monthly declaration.

You must also provide information as to your current and projected GST turnover. This is not a retest of your eligibility, but rather an indication of how your business is progressing under the JobKeeper Payment Scheme.

Employer Obligations

  • Demonstrate that your business has or will experience the applicable turnover decline.
  • Apply using the ATO application process and register your business.
  • Notify your employees in writing if they are eligible for the JobKeeper payments.
  • Each eligible business participant and eligible employee must complete the ATO approved form.
  • Provide information to the ATO on eligible employees engaged as at 1 March 2020 (including those stood down or rehired).
  • Ensure that each eligible employee is paid at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax).
  • Notify all eligible employees that they are receiving the JobKeeper Subsidy Payment and have been nominated to the ATO in writing.
  • Continue to provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis, including the number of eligible employees employed by the business.

Intending on giving your eligible employees a JobKeeper Enabling Direction or JobKeeper Enabling Request?

The new Part 6-4C inserted into the Fair Work Act now gives employers temporary powers to issue:

‘Jobkeeper enabling directions’; and

'Jobkeeper enabling requests' for employees to:

  • work reduced days or alternative hours of work;
  • take accrued annual leave and agreements to take annual leave at half pay.

What is a “Jobkeeper enabling direction”?

A “Jobkeeper enabling direction” can only be given by an eligible employer to an eligible employee, where both qualify for the JobKeeper Payment Scheme.

A “Jobkeeper enabling direction” temporarily authorises an employer to:

  • give a stand down direction to an employee to work fewer days or hours (including nil) where the employee cannot be usefully employed for their ordinary days or hours because of a business change attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic or Government initiatives to slow down COVID-19 transmission; and
  • give directions to employees to change their work duties (where the duties are within their skill and competency) or to perform duties at a place different from their normal place of work (including the employee’s home).

What is a “Jobkeeper enabling request”?

A “Jobkeeper enabling request” authorises an employer to:

  • request an employee perform their duties on different days or at different times (provided that it does not reduce their ordinary hours of work); or
  • request an employee take paid annual leave (provided it does not reduce their annual leave balance to below two (2) weeks).

Communicate Legal Employment Changes to Your Staff With These Affordable JobKeeper Templates

The following templates are available to help you communicate JobKeeper updates with your staff:

  1. JobKeeper Enabling Stand Down Direction (to reduce an eligible employee's hours, including to nil)
  2. JobKeeper Enabling Direction – Alternative Duties (to change an eligible employee’s usual work duties)
  3. JobKeeper Enabling Direction – Change of Location (to change an eligible employee’s usual place of work)
  4. JobKeeper Enabling Request – Different Hours/Days (to change an eligible employee’s days or work hours, compared to their usual hours/days. This arrangement does not reduce their ordinary hours).
  5. JobKeeper Enabling Request – Paid Annual Leave
  6. Notification of termination and redundancy

Cost: $200+GST or $750+GST for all 6 templates

Eligible Employees

Eligible employees are employees who:

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

If your employees have multiple employers, they can usually choose which employer they want to nominate through. However, if your employees are long-term casuals and have other permanent employment, they must choose the permanent employer and cannot nominate you.

Businesses Without Employees

Businesses without employees will need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number and provide a declaration as to recent business activity.
People who are self-employed will need to provide a monthly update to the ATO to declare their continued eligibility for the payments. Payment will be made monthly to the individual’s bank account.

Frequently Asked Questions that relate to the JobKeeper Subsidy Scheme

1. What if the employee has been stood down?

  • If the employee was employed as of 1 March 2020, the employer remains eligible to reinstate the employee and receive the payment.

2. What if the employee has been made redundant?

  • If the employee was employed as of 1 March 2020 the employer remains eligible to reinstate the employee and receive the payment. The government has noted that leave entitlements paid as part of the redundancy are yet to be worked through.

3. Is superannuation payable on the JobKeeper Subsidy Scheme?

  • If the employee is usually paid $1,500 per fortnight before tax, the employer is required to pay superannuation on their full wage including the $1,500 supplement.
  • If an employee earns less than $1,500 per fortnight before tax, the employer is only required to pay superannuation on the amount the employee earned as their normal wage, not on the additional amount received as part of the $1,500 payment that is in excess of the normal pay.

4. If my employee works part time and is usually paid less than $1,500 per fortnight, does the business still receive the full $1,500 per fortnight?

  • Yes, the employer will receive the full $1,500 per fortnight for the employee and the full $1,500 is required to be passed onto the employee.

5. If my employee earns more than $1,500 per fortnight, does the business receive more than the $1,500 per fortnight?

  • No, it is a flat $1,500 per employee, per fortnight, regardless of their income level.

6. What if the employee has already applied for support through Centrelink?

  • Provided the employee was employed as of 1 March 2020 they can transition back to the employer and be eligible for the payment.

7. Are casuals eligible for the payment?

  • If the casual has been employed with the employer for 12 months or more they will be eligible for the payment.

8. Are those on temporary work visas eligible?

  • The government has advised New Zealanders on 444 Visas are eligible for the payment. All other temporary visa holds will not be eligible at this point in time.

9. When does it apply?

  • Payments will be paid from the second week of May with payments backdated to the 30 March 2020.

10. How does my business apply for the payments?

  • The business will need to complete a self-declaration that their revenue has reduced in line with the eligibility criteria via the ATO website. Your BlueRock adviser can assist you with this.

11. Can an employee access both the Centrelink benefits and the JobKeeper Payment Scheme at the same time?

  • No, the employee receiving the JobKeeper Payment is not eligible to also receive the JobSeeker Payment.

12. My employee works part time in my business and as a casual in another business. Do they receive two payments of the $1,500?

  • No, an employee may only receive the JobKeeper Payment from one employer

13. When does an employer need to notify an employee they will be entitled to the JobKeeper Payment? 

  • The employer must notify an individual employee in writing that they are eligible. Once the nomination form has been completed, the employer can register the employee via Single Touch Payroll. Once registered via Single Touch Payroll, it is a requirement that the employer notifies the employee within 7 days that the employee and employer are eligible and they have been registered.

14. When do I need to notify the ATO that we elect for our business to participate in the JobKeeper Payment Scheme?

  • For an entitlement arising in the first (30 March –12 April) or second JobKeeper fortnight (13 April – 26 April) you must notify the ATO by 30 May.

15. Are partnerships eligible for the Jobkeeper Payment? 

  • Yes, if the eligibility criteria set out earlier is met. However, only one partner can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment. All eligible employees of the partnership will also be entitled to the JobKeeper Payment if they meet the criteria, noting a partner cannot be an employee.

16. Are company directors that receive director fees eligible for the Jobkeeper Payment? 

  • Yes, if the eligibility criteria set out earlier is met. However, only one director can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment and that individual may not receive the payment as an employee. All eligible employees of the company will also be entitled to the JobKeeper Payment if they meet the criteria.

Did You Know That JobKeeper Audits May Be Covered By Your Insurance?

Good news! If you're a client of BlueRock Accounting and you use our audit insurance product, Audit Shield, then future JobKeeper audits and reviews are covered by your existing insurance. If you're a BlueRock Accounting client but are yet to sign up to Audit Shield, it may be worth exploring to save a lot of stress in the event of an audit. Feel free toget in touch with Adam Gibbins, our Director of General Insurance, if you have any questions.

2.2
Updated May 1

Income Support For Individuals & Sole Traders

  • Two $750 stimulus payments are available to pensioners, social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first of these payments was announced on 12 March 2020 and the second will be automatically made on 13 July 2020. The payment will be tax-free and will not count as income for social security, farm household allowance, and veteran payments.
  • From 27 April 2020, the government is also temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments to include sole traders and is establishing a new time-limited Coronavirus Supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight for the next 6 months on top of existing entitlements.  
  • The Coronavirus Supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment Scheme, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit and be in addition to the payments made on under these allowances. 
  • The Jobseeker Payment is currently $550 per fortnight and the addition of the Coronavirus Supplement increases this payment to $1,100 per fortnight.
  • Sole traders and casual workers who are currently making less than $1,075 a fortnight will be eligible to receive the full supplement.

As of 30 March 2020, people who are self-employed are eligible to apply for the JobKeeper Payment Scheme. If you are self-employed you will need to provide a monthly update to the ATO to declare your continued eligibility for the payments. Payment will be made monthly to the nominated bank account.

2.3
Updated May 1

Apprentice Relief

  • The government has introduced a wage subsidy to support small businesses to retain their apprentices and trainees.  Businesses may be eligible to receive 50% of their apprentice’s wages, capping at $21,000 per apprentice, for the 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.
  • Employers will be able to access the subsidy after an eligibility assessment is undertaken by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider. Like other assessments, this is expected to be completed via a SmartForm on the Australian Apprenticeship website.
  • Employers can register for the subsidy from 31 March 2020, and final claims of payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020.
  • Please note that if the employer is in receipt of the JobKeeper Payment for the relevant apprentice, they are not entitled to the apprentice relief.
2.4
Updated May 1

Staff considerations

Employee Leave Queries

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic on 11 March 2020.   With the impact of COVID-19 changing the business landscape daily, it is unsurprising that employers have been left asking “but what does this mean for my business and workforce?”

Please note we do have employment law specialists on hand who are more than happy to assist with specific queries.

Workcover & Working From Home

  • An important point to note is that when your employees are working from home, their home becomes a place of work and is therefore covered by Workcover.
  • Australian Government Checklist to help you identify any risks associated with working from home.

Fair Work Requirements

3
Updated May 1

Insolvency - Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The government has announced temporary changes to insolvency laws (Corporations Act 2001). These proposed changes are designed to give businesses time to assess their solvency, implement restructuring plans where needed and take advantage of the safe harbour provisions under the Corporations Act 2001.

The most notable changes are:

  • A temporary increase in the statutory demand threshold to $20,000;
  • An increase in the time to comply with a statutory demand from 21 days to 6 months;
  • A temporary increase in the size of the debt required to issue a creditor's petition to $20,000;
  • An increase in the time to comply with a bankruptcy notice from 21 days to 6 months;
  • The moratorium on action against a debtor following the presentation of a declaration of intent to present a debtor's petition is increased to 6 months; and
  • A 6-month moratorium on directors' insolvent trading liability, for debts incurred in the ordinary course of business.

Insolvency is a highly specialised area of the law. If you have any concerns about your exposure, please don’t hesitate to contact Blue Rock’s insolvency expert, Wojtek (Tek) Randla.

4
Updated May 1

Superannuation

4.1
Updated May 1

Early Release of Superannuation

The government will allow individuals in financial stress to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in the 2020 financial year and a further $10,000 in the 2021 financial year. 

To be eligible for early release of superannuation you must be either have:

  1. To be eligible for early release of superannuation you must be either have:
  2. Been unemployed, or
  3. Been eligible to receive Jobseeker payment, Youth Allowance for job seekers, Parenting Payment, Special Benefit or Farm Household Allowance, or
  4. Been made redundant on or after 1 January 2020, or
  5. Had your working hours reduced by 20% or more, or if you were a sole trader had your business suspended or experienced a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more

Those who are eligible are able to apply through the myGov website  from mid-April 2020 to access the funds before 1 July 2020 for the first $10,000 and have 3 months after this date to access more.  These funds will not be taxed and will not affect Centrelink or Veterans' Affairs payments.

4.2
Updated May 1

Superannuation Pensions Minimum Drawdown Rates

The government is temporarily reducing the superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50% for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years. This will provide more flexibility as to how superannuants manage their superannuation assets.

Age
Default minimum drawdown rates (%)
Reduced rates by 50% 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
4.3
Updated May 1

Employer Super Obligations

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

4.4
Updated May 1

Social Security Deeming Rates

The government is reducing the deeming rate adopted for Age Pension income testing by a further 0.25 percentage points to reflect the latest rate reductions by the RBA.  As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25% and the lower deeming rate will be 0.25%.

5
Updated May 1

Bank Support

5.1
Updated May 1

Bank Care Package

  • he Australian Banking Association (ABA) has announced a relief package that includes a deferral of principal and interest repayments for all term loans and retail loans for 6 months for small business customers with less than $3 million in total debt owed to credit providers.

  • At the end of the deferral period, businesses will not be required to pay the deferred interest in a lump sum.  Either the term of the loan will be extended, or the level of loan repayments will be increased. The package applies to all ABA member banks who agree to participate (listed below).  

To read more about how the banks are assisting, click on the below links.

Funders outside of the (ABA) who are providing support are also listed below:

5.2
Updated May 1

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

  • This scheme is designed to provide working capital support to SMEs (businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million) to get through the impact of the coronavirus.
  • Under the scheme, the Federal Government will guarantee 50% of new SME unsecured loans issued by eligible lenders up to the value of $250,000.  This effectively represents a guarantee of $125,000.
  • The government will encourage lenders to provide facilities to SMEs that only have to be drawn if needed by the SME, and will remain available into the future, with interest only on the funds that are drawn down.
  • The scheme commenced in April 2020 and loans will be made available by participating lenders until 30 September 2020.  The loans will be made under a term of 3 years with an initial 6-month repayment holiday.  No assets will be required as security for these loans. 
  • These conditions apply only to new loans, not refinanced loans.
  • No fees will be payable on the establishment of the loans.
6
Updated May 1

Tax

6.1
Updated May 1

Payroll Tax

There have been some updates to the payroll tax concessions available across the country.

Below is a summary of the latest developments as of 7 April 2020.

  • Full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year are available to small and medium-sized businesses with taxable wages of less than $3 million per member entity of a group.
  • Payments should now have been refunded and the assistance is a refund, not a loan or deferral.
  • Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year.
  • The State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses in relation to reimbursement for payroll tax already paid in the financial year.
  • The same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first 3 months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021.

New South Wales

  • The NSW Government has announced that they will waive payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10m, for the months from April to June 2020.
  • Also, the payroll tax threshold will be raised to $1m in 2020/21, thereby bringing forward another round of payroll tax cuts for eligible businesses.

Western Australia

  • The government will waive payroll tax for the 4-month period between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 for eligible businesses.
  • To be eligible, the business has to qualify as a small or medium business, with Australia-wide annual wages of less than $7.5m in the 2019/20 income year. This payroll tax relief will replace the payroll tax deferral previously announced.
  • Eligible business with Australian taxable wages of less than $5m as at 29 February 2020 need not apply for the waiver as it will be automatically applied. The OSR has clarified they simply need to lodge their March to June return and enter their taxable wages as normal and record them as “exempt (other) wages”. Other eligible businesses will need to apply to the OSR for the waiver.

Queensland

  • The QLD Government has announced additional payroll tax relief measures in addition to the deferral of March to June payroll tax returns until 3 August 2020.
  • All businesses specifically impacted by COVID-19 will be refunded 2 months’ worth of payroll tax, and
  • Small and medium enterprise businesses will be given a 3-month payroll tax holiday and a further 6-month payroll tax deferral.

South Australia

  • The SA Government is offering a 6-month waiver (from April to September 2020) for all businesses with an annual payroll (grouped) up to $4m.
  • Employers with grouped annual wages above $4m will be able to defer payroll tax payments for 6 months on the demonstration of significant impacts on cash flow of COVID-19.

ACT

  • There will be a 6-month waiver on payroll tax for the hospitality, creative arts and entertainment industries.
  • There will also be access to interest-free deferrals of payroll tax commencing on 1 July 2020 for all businesses up to a payroll threshold of $10m in Australian taxable wages.

Tasmania

  • The TAS Government has extended payroll tax relief as part of its additional social and economic support package to assist those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The payroll tax waivers previously announced for businesses in hospitality, tourism and seafood sectors, as well as businesses with payrolls less than $5m, will be extended such that these businesses will not need to pay payroll tax for the entire 2019/20 year. This will include refunds and waivers to provide cash flow to businesses.
  • Affected businesses in other sectors with an annual payroll not exceeding $5m in Australian wages can apply for a waiver of payroll tax for the 3 months of April, May and June 2020.
6.2
Updated May 1

ATO Relief – PAYGW Refunds

  • These tax-free payments are to help businesses cover employee wages and apply to businesses and Not For Profit entities with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff, between 1 January 2020 and 31 October 2020.
  • 100% of PAYG withheld between January 2020 and June 2020 will be credited to a maximum of $50,000 for the 6-month period. The minimum amount an employer will be able to receive is $10,000, up to a maximum of $50,000 for this period.
  • An additional payment is also being introduced in the July to October 2020 period equal to the total of the PAYG withheld refunded in the previous 6 months to provide a total refund of up to $50,000 per entity.
  • PAYGW credits will apply on a per entity, ABN basis. Therefore, if you have 2 entities conducting business in your group structure, each entity is eligible for PAYGW BAS credits of up to $50,000,provided each entity has paid $50,000 in PAYGW during the period 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2020.
  • The maximum total refund per entity is $100,000
  • Upon lodgement of the March 2020 quarter Business Activity Statements, the ATO will automatically apply a credit to the entities Running Balance Account in the amount of the PAYG tax withheld reduction from 28 April 2020.
  • The ATO has advised that where these credits result in an entity having a net refundable amount, refunds will be paid within 14 days to the entity’s nominated bank account.
  • For employers with monthly Activity Statement lodgements, the March 2020 credit will be calculated at three times the rate, to cover for the January and February months.

Monthly BAS Lodgement Example:

  • A business that employs staff, lodges monthly BAS’s.  
  • All staff are on salary, and a monthly PAYGW of $15,000 is declared each BAS.
  • On the March 2020 BAS, the $15,000 is claimed in W2.  The ATO will automatically apply a credit in the Running Balance Account of $45,000 ($15,000  January BAS, $15,000 February BAS and $15,000 March BAS).
  • On the April 2020 BAS, the $15,000 is claimed in W2.  The ATO will automatically apply a credit of $5,000, being the balance of the amount receivable under the announcement.
  • On the May and June 2020 BAS’s, the $15,000 is claimed each month. There will be no credit to the Running Balance Account in these months as your entity has already “received” the maximum allowable benefit.


6.3
Updated May 1

ATO Relief – Tax Payment Deferral Options

  • Businesses can defer by up to 4 months the payment date for BAS amounts due (including PAYG installments), income tax assessments, FBT assessments and excise.
  • Businesses can vary PAYG installment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter; businesses that vary their PAYG installment to zero can also claim a refund for any installments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.
  • Businesses can remit any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to outstanding tax liabilities.
  • The ATO will work with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low-interest payment plans
  • The ATO will allow businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to.
7
Updated May 8

Property & Leases

7.1
Updated May 8

Retail and Commercial Leases

We’ve put together a couple of tips to help you to identify issues and opportunities around your lease.   Unfortunately there are also no definitive answers and how these issues are best dealt with will come down to individual circumstances, the terms of the lease and the legal position.

If you have any concerns about your exposure please do not hesitate to contact BlueRock’s Retail and Commercial lease expert, Lauren Smyth.

Summary of the Victorian Commercial Leasing Regulations (Updated 08/05/20)

On 1 May 2020, the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020 (Vic) were published. These Regulations give effect to the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct, which was announced on 7 April 2020.  You can read a summary of the Code below.

Here, we have provided a brief summary of the Regulations and the important points for landlords and tenants. For the most part, the Regulations (which apply from 29 March to 29 September 2020) are consistent with the principles in the Code but there are a few curveballs – these are also highlighted below.

Rent Relief

The Regulations provide that the extent of rent relief provided by landlords need not be precisely based on the extent to which the tenant’s revenue has reduced (though it is to be taken into account by a landlord in making an offer to the tenant). This is in contrast to some of the other states and the flavour of the Code.

In order to access rent relief, tenants will need to write to their landlords requesting it and confirm that the lease is an eligible lease and that the tenant qualifies for the JobKeeper scheme. It is important that tenants get the wording right in their letters to landlords if they want the protection of the Regulations. We have prepared a Regulation-compliant template letter to assist tenants.

After receiving the tenant’s letter, the landlord is then required to make an offer to the tenant within 14 days.

The Regulations provide the following parameters around the offer made by the landlord to the tenant:

  • The offer must be for up to 100% of the rent payable under the lease during the operative period (29 March 2020 – 29 September 2020);
  • No less than 50% of the rent relief offered by the landlord must be waived (unless the landlord and tenant agree otherwise);
  • The offer must take into account the reduction in the tenant’s turnover during the relevant period, any waiver given, the viability of the tenant’s business going forwards, the landlord’s financial ability to offer rent relief, and any reduction to any outgoings charged.  

Landlords and tenants are required to negotiate the exact amount of rent relief in good faith.

Our recommendation is that tenants are proactive in their initial letter requesting rent relief and put forward a figure that is reasonable in the circumstances (which ensures the viability of their business) and with accompanying financials (the landlord will likely request this in any case).

Deferred rent and extensions of the lease term

Tenants will not be required to begin repaying any deferred rent until the earlier of 29 September 2020 or the expiry of the lease. The tenant has the greater of 24 months or the balance of the lease term to pay the deferred rent. It is important to note that if the payment of any rent is deferred, the landlord must offer the tenant an extension to the term equivalent to the period in which the rent is deferred (unless agreed otherwise by the parties).

Supporting documents provided by tenants

The Regulations do not specify the documents or information that landlords may request from their tenants to substantiate the impact of the pandemic. The Victorian Small Business Commission has indicated that a guideline will be issued on the financial information that may be requested by landlords. Our advice has been, and continues to be, that tenants and landlords should work collaboratively to ensure the viability of both parties going forward. Discussions should be open and honest and tenants should be transparent with their figures. The Regulations provide that information provided is subject to confidentiality requirements.

A material change to the tenant’s circumstances

The Regulations allow tenants to make a further request for rent relief if there is a “material change” during the operative period. It is important to note that “material change” has not been defined in the Regulations but we suspect that it seeks to address a situation where the viability of the tenant’s business may be in question again. Landlords will not be required to pass on any further rent waivers in these situations – rent will simply be deferred.    

Outgoings

The Regulations require landlords to consider waiving the recovery of any outgoings or other expenses payable by a tenant under a lease for any period in which the tenant is not able to operate their business at the premises during the relevant period (29 March 2020 – 29 September 2020). It is not clear what exactly constitutes an inability to operate but we suspect that it means the complete closure of the business. Restaurants and coffee shops which continue to operate as takeaway businesses likely do not fall into this category.

Tenants’ protection from termination of leases

This one is very important. Tenants will only be protected from having their lease terminated for the non-payment of rent if they have written to the landlord requesting rent relief and confirming that they qualify for and participate in the JobKeeper scheme. This protection is not automatic as it is in some of the other STates. Landlords can be fined up to approximately $3,600 for terminating a lease, taking possession of a premises or utilising a security provided by a tenant under the lease where a tenant defaults on the payment of rent in circumstances where they are afforded protection from termination under the Regulations.

Acting reasonably and in good faith

The Regulations also provide that all eligible leases are amended to include an obligation for both landlords and tenants to cooperate with one another and act reasonably and in good faith during any discussions whose subject matter relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per the Code, landlords are prevented from increasing rent, charging fees or interest for the non-payment of rent, or terminating leases because tenants close or reduce the hours of their business during the period of 29 March 2020 to 29 September 2020.

This summary does not seek to provide an exhaustive summary of the Regulations. We recommend that landlords and tenants obtain legal advice when attempting to deal with issues concerning their lease as there are a multitude of issues that intersect and need to be considered.

Please contact BlueRock Law if you require any support on these matters.

COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020

On 23 April 2020, Victorian Parliament passed the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020, which was created to give effect to the National Cabinet’s Mandatory Code of Conduct – the government’s ‘good faith leasing principles’ for commercial tenancies.

What does it do?

The Emergency Measures Act itself doesn’t enforce the Code, but it allows for regulations to be made to temporarily change existing laws to implement the Code’s principles.

We expect that Regulations will be made shortly. Until then, this is what we know so far…

The Regulations will apply to an ‘eligible lease’, which is all retail and non-retail commercial leases and licenses:

  • including sub-leases and agreements for lease;
  • which may or may not be in writing;
  • which must be on foot when the Regulations come into effect;
  • under which the tenant is an SME entity and an employer that participates in the JobKeeper scheme.

The Regulations won’t apply if the tenant is a group of companies (or is connected with a company) with an aggregate turnover above the prescribed amount. That amount isn’t described in the Act but is likely to align with the Code, meaning that the Regulations won’t apply to tenants with a combined annual turnover above $50 million.

The Act sets out the kinds of regulations that may be made. These include:

  • prohibiting the termination of eligible leases;
  • changing any periods under a lease in which someone must or may do something;
  • changing or limiting a landlord’s statutory rights or rights under an eligible lease;
  • exempting a landlord or tenant under an eligible lease from having to comply with statutory obligations or the terms of the lease;
  • modifying the operation of an eligible lease or agreements related to eligible leases;
  • extending the term of an eligible lease;
  • deeming provisions of the regulations to form part of eligible leases;
  • imposing new obligations on landlords or tenants under eligible leases, including requiring them to negotiate amendments;
  • requiring landlords and tenants who are in dispute about terms of an eligible lease to participate in mediation arranged by the Small Business Commissioner, before commencing proceedings.

Other noteworthy parts are…

  • The Act allows any regulations which are made to have a retrospective effect from 29 March 2020 (which is earlier than the date of the Code – 3 April 2020).
  • Penalties may also be imposed for non-compliance with the Regulations.
  • The Act and any Regulations will be in force until 6 months from their commencement dates.

In essence, the Act is telling us what can be done. Regulations will put it into action. There are many different laws that will need to be temporarily changed to complement the Code. Our team is keeping up-to-date with these changes on a daily basis so be sure to check in with us regularly so we can keep you in the loop.

State-by-State Legislation Summary

Note that the Regulations are different in each state.

NSW Regulations Summary Update

On Friday 24 April 2020, the NSW government confirmed the Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2020. The Regulations give effect to the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles adopted on  7 April 2020.

The Regulations will be in effect for 6 months from 24 April 2020 and will be repealed on 25 October 2020. The Regulations will not apply to new leases entered into after 24 April 2020 but leases entered into due to an exercise of option or leases renewed after this date will be subject to the Regulations.

The Regulations are largely in line with the Code and provide clarity on the NSW government’s position in respect of commercial tenancies affected by Covid-19.

Some of the Regulations’ key items include:

  • providing relief to ‘impacted lessees’ being tenants who qualify for the JobKeeper scheme and have an annual turnover of less than $50 million in the financial year ending June 2019.
  • if the tenant is a franchisee, turnover is determined by the turnover of the business at the premises. If the tenant is a corporate member of a group (i.e. related bodies corporate), the turnover is the group’s turnover.
  • any sales made over the internet will be included as a part of the lessee’s turnover.
  • if impacted lessees breach their leases during the pandemic period for failing to pay rent, outgoings or closing their business during the operating hours specified in the lease, Landlords are prohibited from taking any action including evicting tenants, exercising rights of re-entry, terminating leases, seeking damages, charging interest, drawing down on a tenant’s security deposit or suing a guarantor.
  • rent must not increase during the Regulation period.
  • any reductions in statutory charges (ie. land tax) which a landlord is entitled to must be passed on to the tenant.
  • where a tenant has been impacted by COVID-19, the landlord or tenant can request a compulsory mediation to renegotiate the rent and other terms of the lease in good faith, ‘having regard to’ the economic impacts of COVID-19 and the leasing principles set out in the Code.

Importantly, the Regulations do not prevent a landlord from taking action or seeking an order on grounds unrelated to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tenants should be aware of their obligations to continue to comply with the terms of their leases.

In the meantime, landlords and tenants in other states should continue to be guided by the principles in the code.

Here’s a refresher on the Code:

National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct

Prior to the release of the Code on 7 April 2020, there was a huge amount of uncertainty about what would happen with commercial leases in this new COVID-19 world. Almost universally, leases weren't drafted to take into account a global pandemic on the scale of what we are experiencing. The reactions from landlords and tenants have differed greatly on a case-by-case basis and the uncertainty has meant that a lot of important decisions were put on the backburner.  

With some of that uncertainty removed with the release of the Code, now is the time for landlords and tenants to discuss what happens with their leases.

Recently, we released some important information about the new Code. We've also included some key points below, in case you need a refresher.

Basically, the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant issues with commercial leases and the principles set out in the Code provide landlords and tenants with at least enough information to have a proper and meaningful discussion around how those issues might be resolved. 

Ultimately, it's unlikely to be in the best interests of the tenant to walk away from a site or for the landlord to have to find a new tenant in the current climate (and even for the foreseeable period post-COVID-19).

As a result, landlords and tenants should be actively speaking to each other about their positions based on the principles set out in the Code.

Here are the high-level points:

  • The Code sets out good faith leasing principles in relation to commercial leases and is designed to aid significant cashflow issues for tenants that have arisen by virtue of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Landlords and tenants are required to discuss their issues and work towards mutually satisfactory outcomes in an open, honest and transparent manner.  
  • The Code is mandatory and applies to those premises that are leased by SME tenants with a turnover of up to $50m (being tenants that are entitled to the Government’s JobKeeper program). While not mandatory for larger businesses, the Code notes that the principles set out in it should apply in spirit to all leasing arrangements for affected businesses.
  • Rent increases are frozen and the amount of rent actually payable is to be reduced proportionately to the reduction in revenue of the tenant. At least 50% of the reduction in rent payable is to be waived (ie. not payable ever) and the rest is to be deferred – over the longer of: the remaining term of the lease or 24 months.
  • Any other reductions in outgoings or expenses that relate to the premises (eg, land tax reductions, insurance premium reductions, reduced services and financial accommodation provided to landlords from the banks) should be shared between the landlord and the tenant.
  • Where payments are deferred, as well as the extended time for re-payment, the re-payments should only start once the COVID-19 pandemic is declared at an end and taking into account a reasonable subsequent recovery period. 
  • Where a landlord and tenant can’t agree on their lease arrangements that arise because of the COVID-19 pandemic, then either party can refer the matter to mediation with the relevant state or territory lease dispute body.

Template Documents

We’ve also prepared template documents you can purchase to help you through the process and a FREE Heads of Agreement template, which you can request here:

Order a Deed of Variation Form

Order a Rent Abatement Letter

Order a FREE Heads of Agreement Template

1. Discuss For A Rent Concession / Discount / Abatement (Different Terms – Same Meaning!)‍

Have the conversation with your landlord/tenant now. Discussing a 50% rent reduction for a 2 to 3 month period is not unreasonable if the tenant's business can demonstrate they're suffering a significant reduction in revenue. Landlords need their tenants to have viable businesses on the other side of this pandemic or they face the possibility of empty shops, vacant industrial properties and lots of office space to lease, months with no rental income, re-leasing costs and paying outgoings costs that they would usually pass on to tenants. Tenants need to be considerate that landlords also have financial obligations and should demonstrate how they are actively managing all parts of their business (not just their rent) and even provide evidence to their landlords of how they are being adversely impacted by the pandemic. you must communicate openly with each other to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties and share the pain, but it's also worth reviewing the terms of the lease to check for any terms that the tenant or landlord could use as leverage to swing in their favour.

2. How Could Coronavirus Cause A Tenant To Breach Their Lease?

  • Infection disease obligations
    Tenants may have reporting obligations if the premises (or its occupants) come in contact with an infectious disease and leases often includes clauses which require tenants to advise landlords in these circumstances.  Tenants can also be required to comply with directions given by government authorities; i.e. clean-up measures, at the tenant’s expense.   If tenants fail to comply with the directions of their landlord or authorities, they may be in breach of their lease and also liable for costs including the landlord’s losses or damages.  
  • Stopping trading
    Most leases require tenants to operate their businesses from the premises during normal business trading hours, with limited exceptions.  If a tenant closes a shop without the landlord’s consent during times when it is required to trade, it may be in breach of the lease.  Tenants could face losing security deposits, bank guarantees and in some situations, individuals could be personally liable for the tenant’s breach.

    A nationwide or state-sanctioned lockdown would probably override a trading obligation but it would have to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

3. When Would A Tenant Be Entitled To Compensation As A Result Of The Coronavirus?‍

Tenants have legal rights to compensation in circumstances where landlords interfere with a tenant’s use of the premises and the tenant suffers a loss.   A tenant may have a claim against their landlord if the landlord forced the tenant to shut their store or close their premises.   There are exceptions; i.e. if a landlord causes the interference in response to an emergency or at the direction of a government authority.

4. Is There An Opportunity To Change The Terms Of A Lease?

There’s always an opportunity if you discuss it the right way but a crisis can provide opportunities to negotiate terms which can benefit both parties.  Whatever the parties decide, the agreement should be documented in writing so there is clarity on what has been agreed and it’s binding.  The economic climate is too uncertain to do deals on a handshake, despite how good the relationship might be.   The following are examples of renegotiation options:

  1. If the lease is due to expire and the tenant does not have an option to renew the lease, it could agree to renew the lease for a further term (giving the landlord comfort that it will have continuous rent income), subject to the landlord agreeing to a short-term rent abatement.
  2. If a tenant runs a strong-performing business from the premises, it could negotiate a reduced base rent and agree to top it up with turnover rent (a percentage of the tenant’s turnover which exceeds a threshold amount).
  3. If there are still a number of years left in the term, a tenant could agree to carry out refurb works at the premises (preferably at a deferred date), subject to the landlord agreeing to a rent abatement.

To assist you, we’ve put together a bundle of template documents in relation to rent abatement and rental considerations, which offers both timely and cost effective advice.

We're here to help both tenants and landlords reach agreements to share the pain through this unprecedented situation.

7.2
Updated April 24

Land Tax

Land Tax Relief for Landlords

The Victorian Government has announced land tax relief for landlords as part of its Economic Survival Package in response to COVID-19.

Landlords who provide tenants impacted by COVID-19 with rent relief may be eligible for a 25% reduction on the property’s 2020 land tax.

This relief is also available to landowners who are unable to secure a tenant because of COVID-19.

Landlords can also defer the remainder of their 2020 land tax to 31 March 2021.

This relief is available for residential and commercial properties, however, for commercial landlords to be eligible, the property must be rented to a tenant with an annual turnover of up to $50 million, and the tenant must be eligible for the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment.

Read more about the land tax announcement.

Read about all tax relief measures in the Economic Survival Package.

Land Tax Deferral

  • Landowners due to pay 2020 land tax that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 30 June 2020.
  • The State Revenue Office will contact all taxpayers who are eligible for this deferral
8
Updated June 23

Instant Asset Write-Offs and Accelerated Depreciation

  • This scheme is applicable to assets purchased after 12 March 2020.
  • It sees an increase in the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to these write-offs to include businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million until 31 December 2020.
  • For assets with a purchase price of more than $150,000 or purchased after 31 December 2020, businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million, in addition to the standard depreciation a claim for assets, will be able to deduct 50% of the asset cost in the year of purchase via a time-limited 15-month investment incentive through to 30 June 2021.    

For Example

  • Assume that a business purchases a new truck for $250,000 (exclusive of GST) in May 2020.
  • In the 2020 tax return, the business would claim an upfront deduction of $125,000. The business would also claim a further deduction for the depreciation that would have arisen on the balance of the cost.
  • Assuming a depreciation rate of 15%, this would mean an additional deduction of $18,750 (i.e. 15% x $125,000). The total deduction in the 2020 tax return would be $143,750.
  • Without the introduction of this investment incentive, the business would have claimed a deduction of $37,500 (i.e., 15% x $250,000).
9
Updated April 1

Wills and Estates Planning

9.1
Updated April 1

Estate Planning

If you haven’t already, now may be the right time to update your Will or ensure that you have valid powers of attorney in place. A robust estate plan can provide peace of mind during these uncertain times. 

Enduring Powers of Attorney and Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Makers will be increasingly more important for members of our community within a high-risk demographic. 

For more information, visit our COVID-19 website all about managing your money or check out this blog post on the top four estate planning documents that everyone should have in place.

If you need assistance with your estate planning, please contact Marco Saccotelli or Alexia White from the BlueRock Law team, , or Ryan Williams from the Private Wealth team.

10
Updated May 1

Liquor Licence Fees

Victoria

  • Liquor licensing fees will be waived for 2020 for affected venues and small businesses.
  • Businesses that have paid for a renewable liquor licence for 2020 will be reimbursed their licence fee and those yet to pay will have the fee waived. 
  • The State Revenue Office will administer the reimbursement, regardless of whether the liquor licence fee was paid to it or the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation.

Tasmania

  • Businesses will receive a 50% discount on liquor licensing fees and have application fees waived for the entire 2020 calendar year.
11
Updated March 31

Digital & Marketing

When business is bad and cost-cutting essential, sales and marketing can sometimes be the first to go. But there are some great digital strategies, tools and financial supports available right now to help you through the tough times. And if executed in the right way, digital tactics can be a life-saver.

If you’d like some free advice on where to start or need help applying for a grant, please get in touch with the BlueRock Digital team.

Take Your Business Online

Some of our retail clients who have been forced to shut their doors due to COVID-19 have worked with us to spin up a quick and simple e-commerce website for under $5,000 so they can sell online (for delivery or scheduled pick-ups). This has been invaluable to allow them to continue trading.

City of Melbourne businesses can use the quick response grant mentioned below to cover this cost.

Apply for Grants

In the last couple of weeks, governments and global media giants have all come to the table with some pretty impressive COVID-19 grants.

City of Melbourne

The City of Melbourne is offering $5 million in grants for local businesses to invest in online and e-commerce capabilities. If you’ve lost revenue due to retail closure, this grant can provide up to $5,000 for hardware, software and services to develop the following digital capabilities:

  • Website design and development
  • E-commerce platform (selling online and receiving payment)
  • Online content development (web pages, mobile apps, audio and visual media)
  • Digital marketing and promotion
  • Mentoring and training in online and e-commerce activities

You can read more here but note that your business must reside within the City of Melbourne.

Victoria Government

Eligible businesses can receive funding up to $10,000 through the $500 million Business Support Fund. Grants can be used to cover financial services, operational costs or marketing and communications activities.

Applications open on Monday 30 March 2020 and close on Monday 1 June 2020. Contact a BlueRock adviser to assess if you’re eligible.

Google

Google has announced an $800M commitment to support small-medium businesses and aid the COVID-19 crisis. This includes Google Ads credits and a $200 million investment fund that will help NGOs and financial institutions to provide small businesses with access to capital.

Read more on our blog or check out updates from Google.

Facebook

Facebook has announced $100M in grants for small businesses affected by COVID-19. These grants are available for up to 30,000 businesses across 30 countries, including Australia.

Read more on our blog or apply for updates from Facebook.

12
Updated May 12

Grants & Incentives

R&D Tax Incentive

How COVID-19 has impacted the R&D Tax Incentive:

  1. A 5-month extension to the FY19 claim window for all companies, with claims now due by 30 September 2020.
  1. We suspect that proposed changes to the legislation which reduced the benefit for most companies will no longer be implemented. It is difficult to see the new legislation being passed through parliament on time. We will continue to monitor the situation.

EMDG (Export Grant)

A major boost to the export grant (EMDG) to help exporters survive through COVID-19:

  1. The Government has injected nearly $50 million to the EMDG program.
  2. For applications lodged in 2019–20, the payout factor for the second tranche will be 100%.
  3. The payment date for the 2019–20 financial year has been brought forward to the week commencing 6 April.
  4. Businesses with a grant of more than $40,000 will be paid their full grant soon after Monday 6 April.
  5. Austrade will still award the EMDG for eligible expenses impacted by COVID-19 (such as trade show cancellations)
What Now?
Resources
Video
Global Investment Markets and Covid-19 - Where to now?
Guide
Australian State & Territory Summary on COVID-19 Response Legislation Affecting Commercial Leases
Video
Distressed Business: Managing Your Risks and Considering Your Options
Video
Rent and COVID-19: The Latest Updates
Video
Surviving and Thriving Through the Coronavirus Tips for Hospitality & Retail Owners
Guide
Guide to the JobKeeper Scheme (April 9, 2020)
Guide
Guide to the JobKeeper Scheme (April 10, 2020)
Video
How to Navigate COVID-19 and Staff
Form
Order Form (Rent Abatement Template Letters)
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