Resources for your Business
Media Announcements from the Prime Minister
Treasurer's Statement on the Economy
On Tuesday 12 May 2020, the Treasurer outlined in an address to Parliament the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on the Australian economy and the Australian way of life. Treasury is forecasting:
However through this Australians are showing remarkable resilience and character.
Australian Government Resources
Supporting Apprenticeships and Trainees Wage Subsidy
The Australian Government is extending and expanding 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 paid until 31 March 2021. In addition to the existing support for small businesses, medium-sized businesses will now be eligible for the subsidy, for wages paid from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021.
Claims from small businesses are now open, while claims from medium-sized businesses will open on 1 October 2020. Final claims for payment must be lodged by 30 June 2021.
This will help businesses retain their existing apprentices and trainees through the Government’s $1.3 billion Supporting Apprentices and Trainees package.
For more information on how to apply, including eligibility, contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.
Freight access for agriculture and fisheries exporters
Extension of temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
Cash flow boost for SME employers
If your small or medium-sized business employs staff and has an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million, you may be eligible for two sets of cash flow boosts up to $100,000.
These payments are designed to help keep your business operating, pay rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.
Small to medium-sized businesses, not-for-profit organisations, sole traders, partnerships, companies and trusts may be eligible if they had an ABN on 12 March 2020 and continue to operate.
The cash flow boost provides a tax free payment to employers and is automatically calculated by the ATO.
No new forms are required. Eligibility will generally be based on prior year turnover.
Changes to leave allowances
There has been an increase in COVID-19 themed cyber activity towards websites designed to either install software or steal personal information and banking details. Learn more about protecting yourself here.
Reopening your business in a COVID-safe environment
In preparing for the revival of businesses and industry, SafeWork Australia has developed a website with guidelines and information across 23 industries so that businesses can return to work in a COVID-safe environment. It provides guidance for preparing plans and protocols to cover:
All business and NFP workplaces are encouraged to take a close look at the extensive information and tools available on the SafeWork Australia website.
Supporting tourism businesses in National Parks
To support the tourism industry through COVID-19 and to support businesses to rebuild their operations, the Australian Government is waiving and reimbursing the cost of permits and licence fees for commercial tourism businesses operating in Commonwealth National Parks for the period of 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2021.
This support is being made available through the Australian Government’s $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund.
Subsidised infection control training
To keep Australian workers safe during COVID-19, the Australian Government has announced four infection control skill sets that will offer nationally recognised training to frontline workers in the retail, food handling, and transport and logistics industries. The infection control skill sets are the first national training products developed by the new Australian Industry Skills Emergency Response Sub-Committee in response to COVID-19.
The training will be delivered through the state and territory governments and will be available by 1 July 2020.
Free financial counselling for small regional businesses
The Australian Government has committed more than $4.7 million to provide small regional businesses affected by COVID-19 with access to free and confidential financial counselling. Learn more about assistance for affected regions, communities and industries.
Trade Mark COVID-19 Helpline
The Australian Government’s HomeBuilder program will assist the residential construction market by encouraging the commencement of new home builds and renovations this year by providing all eligible owner-occupiers (not just first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home.
The HomeBuilder program, subject to eligibility criteria, is expected to provide around 27,000 grants at a total cost of around $680 million.
Free legal advice to employers
Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme
The Government, Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority have taken coordinated action to support the flow of credit in the Australian economy, in particular for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will provide support for these businesses. Under the Scheme, the Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to small and medium enterprise (SME) lenders for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital. This will enhance these lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit, which will result in SMEs being able to access additional funding to help support them through the upcoming months.
Indigenous Business Relief Package
Daily COVID-19 at a glance
Digital hub to support small business mental health
Immigration and border arrangements
While many businesses have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and are reducing their workforces, there are some areas of the economy which have an increased demand for workers.
This includes jobs in health and care sectors, transport and logistics, some areas of retail, mining and mining services, manufacturing, agriculture and government sectors, among others.
Support for Exporters & Investors
Austrade assistance for Exporters & Investors
Assistance for aquaculture and agriculture exporters
The Australian Government has launched a new $110 million initiative to help aquaculture and agriculture businesses export produce. If you are an exporter in the agriculture and seafood sectors needing assistance getting product to market, get further details and register your business requirements here.
Loans for Australian Exporters
Australian exporters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will now have access to business-saving loans between $250,000 and $50 million, under a new $500 million capital facility to be administered by Export Finance Australia.
The new COVID-19 Export Capital Facility will target loans to established and previously profitable exporters who, due to COVID-19, are unable to gain finance from commercial sources.
Export Council of Australia info for businesses involved in trade
Export Capital Facility
The Australian Government has established a $500 million COVID-19 Export Capital Facility to assist previously profitable Australian exporters whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.
Exporters will be able to access loans from $250,000 to $50 million under the Facility. The Facility will complement other measures announced by the Government which enable banks to support new and existing clients.
Exporters should contact their banks in the first instance to determine what assistance may be available to them.
Export Market Development Grants Scheme
The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme is a key Australian Government financial assistance program for aspiring and current exporters. Administered by Austrade, the scheme supports a wide range of industries.
On 1 April 2020, the Federal Government announced an increase in funding for the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme. Funding for the scheme will increase by $49.8 million in the 2019-20 financial year, allowing exporters and tourism businesses to get additional reimbursements for costs incurred in marketing their products and services around the world.
This supplements the additional $60 million already committed by the Government, and brings EMDG funding to its highest level in more than 20 years at $207.7 million for the 2019-20 financial year.
In addition to increased EMDG program funding, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham has waived the EMDG export performance requirements for 2020–21. This will ensure businesses will not have their EMDG reimbursement reduced should their export income fall due to COVID-19.
To further assist exporters in 2020–21, the Minister has determined the Initial Payment Ceiling Amount (IPCA) to be $100,000. This is the highest IPCA since the scheme’s budget was capped in 1997–98, and a significant increase from the $40,000 IPCA set for the past five years.
Australian Tax Office Resources
The ATO has set up an Emergency Support Infoline - 1800 806 218. The Infoline provides tailored advice to support small business who may be having difficulties meeting their tax and super obligations.
Small businesses can contact the ATO to defer some payments and vary instalments that are due. These include income tax, activity statement, pay as you go (PAYG) instalments, FBT and excise payments by up to six months.
Sole traders and self-employed Australians who are PAYG instalments payers, may vary their PAYG instalments on their activity statement. They may do this by lodging a revised activity statement before the instalment is due and before the tax return for the year is lodged. Sole traders and self-employed Australians who vary their PAYG instalment rate or amount can also claim a refund for any instalments made during the 2019–20 financial year.
Where PAYG instalments are varied, the ATO won't apply penalties or charge interest to varied instalments for the 2019–20 financial year and if a mistake is made in working out the PAYG instalment, the sole trader and self-employed Australian may correct it by lodging a revised activity statement or varying a subsequent instalment.
Working from home during COVID-19
ATO Free Webinars
Join in to the ATO’s free webinars to help your business get up to date with your tax obligations across a range of general and industry-specific areas, including how to set up your myGovID to login online.
JobKeeper Elibgibility Update
On August 7, the Government announced further changes to the JobKeeper payment. Businesses will now only need to show their GST turnover has fallen in one quarter, instead of two, to qualify for the extension of the scheme, which is due to come into effect at the end of September.
Last month the Government announced the extension of the JobKeeper Payment by a further six months to 28 March 2021. The payment rate will be reduced and a lower payment rate will be introduced for those who work fewer hours. Learn more about the JobKeeper Payment for employers and employees or sole traders and other entities.
For help with the JobKeeper payment, the Small Business Association of Australia has posted easy to follow step-by-step JobKeeper Guides:
On 23 April 2020, the Treasurer announced the CBA, NAB, Westpac and ANZ banks agreed to establish dedicated hotlines for their customers to call to receive the bridging finance necessary to pay their staff ahead of receiving the JobKeeper Payment. The hotlines are as follows:
The banks have also agreed to bring to the front of the queue all bridging finance applications. This means any business that is eligible for the JobKeeper Payment can now ring the dedicated hotline for the bank and ask for the bridging finance necessary to pay their staff.
New eligibility requirements for employees that are 16 and 17 years old
Employees that are 16 and 17 years old who identified as eligible under the original eligibility criteria for the first three JobKeeper fortnights (from 30 March until 10 May 2020), may no longer be eligible employees under the JobKeeper wages subsidy scheme from the JobKeeper fortnight 4 commencing 11 May.
This means that full-time students are no longer eligible employees, unless (as of 1 March 2020) they are also independent, from JobKeeper fortnight 4. However, employers can still claim for those 16 and 17 year olds who had already identified as eligible employees for JobKeeper fortnights 1 to 3 from 30 March up until 10 May 2020.
What employers need to do
Employers will need to provide their 16 and 17 year old employees with the new JobKeeper Employee nomination notice and have them complete and return it as soon as possible to confirm if they meet the new eligibility criteria and that they agree to be nominated for JobKeeper fortnight 4 commencing on 11 May.
If your 16 and 17 year old employees are no longer eligible, you will no longer be able to identify them as an eligible employee from JobKeeper fortnight 4 which commences 11 May.
Where to go for more information
Download the JobKeeper employee nomination notice
If you create your own employee nomination notice make sure it contains the new eligibility requirements for 16 and 17 year olds.
Alternative tests for JobKeeper payments from Australian Tax Commissioner
Businesses who only opened recently or were affected by other events or circumstances in the past, including selling or restructuring the business, or were affected by drought or other natural disasters can now do an Alternative Decline in Turnover Test so they are not disadvantaged in demonstrating the 30% reduction in turnover criterion for the JobKeeper payment. More information can be found here.
Payroll tax exemption on JobKeeper Payments
Administrative arrangements have been fast-tracked to ensure payroll tax assessments do not include JobKeeper payments, providing additional effective relief of $360 million over six months to Queensland-employing businesses.
Details in the Premier’s media statement
Superannuation guarantee update ends on 7 September
Superannuation guarantee amnesty ends on 7 September — The Australian Tax Office is reminding businesses that the super guarantee amnesty is a one-off opportunity to correct past unpaid super guarantee amounts and avoid significant penalties. The six month amnesty for employers ended on Monday 7 September 2020.
Tax Time 2020 toolkit for small business
Adjusted JobKeeper arrangements from 28 September 2020
Increased instant asset write-off
The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). This applies from 12 March 2020 until 31 December 2020, for new or second‑hand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe.
Support Line 13 28 46
Businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 may access advice to fully understand the assistance available to them and their employees. The support line (13 28 46) provides specialist advisers and extended hours to support small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also send an email.
The Hotline operates Monday to Friday answering calls from 8.00am to 11.00pm AEST.
Looking after your customers during COVID-19
Marketing your business during COVID-19
Continuing Your Business Guide
Coronavirus information and support for business - website
The Australian Government has launched the COVIDSafe app to help keep Australians safe from further spread of coronavirus through early notification of possible exposure. While COVIDSafe app use is voluntary, all Australians are encouraged to download the app to help effectively protect Australians and ensure quick response to any new cases of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Info App
An app is now available to access direct information on a range of features including health advice and updates on the measures that are being put in place by state and federal governments. To access this information:
COVID-19 Business Resilience Survey
The ED Toolbox has created an online COVID-19 business resilience survey.
The survey, which is anonymous and takes 3-5 minutes to complete, will measure the coronavirus impacts on small to medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations in Australia.
Survey results are progressively added, and can be viewed here.