COVID-19: Support for Businesses

With COVID-19 disrupting businesses of all sizes, there are a number of different sources of assistance becoming available to start-ups and small businesses to help them through these challenging times. With information coming from many different sources, the team at Saving Point has collated information from various sources to provide a single resource to small and medium businesses.

With the situation continually evolving, we will continue to update this page with any additional stimulus measures announced.

If you would like any more information on any of the responses listed, or any assistance with applications, please contact our Grants and Incentives team who will be happy to help.

 

On Sunday 22 March, the Federal Government announced increased measures to support Australian workers and businesses in the face to coronavirus (COVID-19). These followed the initial stimulus measures announce on 12 March and the Small Business Relief Package announced by the Australian Banking Association on 20 March. State and Territory governments are also introducing funding and support at various levels.

 

With more than 3 million small and medium businesses in the country, the Government has recognised the need to support them through this unprecedented health crisis. Funding is principally aimed to assist businesses to keep people in a job.

JobKeeper Payments

Federal Governments continued economic response to the Coronavirus has expanded to include a subsidy program supporting employees and businesses. On 30 March 2020, the JobKeeper payment was announced to help businesses affected by Coronavirus to cover the costs of their employee’s wages.

Significantly impacted businesses will be able to access the subsidy to continue paying employees. It is envisaged that this assistance will enable businesses to keep people in their jobs and re-start when the crisis is over.

This temporary scheme will be open to businesses impacted by the Coronavirus and will also be available to the self-employed.

The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months.

The program will be administered through the Australian Tax Office. To elect to participate in the scheme, employers will be required to apply and provide supporting information demonstrating a downturn in business. The number of eligible employees employed by the business will need to be reported every month.

Eligible employers will be paid $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. Eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax with employers able to top-up the payment.

Employers who are eligible under the scheme and who have stood down employees before it’s commencement can participate. Employees that are re-engaged by a business that was their employer on 1 March 2020 will also be eligible.

More detailed information can be found via The Treasury’s website –

https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_supporting_businesses_4.pdf

State Government of Victoria – Business Support Fund

The Victorian State Government Business Support Fund is now open for applications. The fund is part of the Economic Survival Package announced by Premier Daniel Andrews in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

One-off grants of $10,000 are available to businesses who employ staff, have a turnover of more than $75,000 and have payroll of less than $650,000 if they have been subject to closure of highly impacted by the shutdown restrictions placed on Victorians to date.

Applicants must submit an online application and will be required to provide a copy of their most recent CAS along with other supporting materials.

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers

$100,000 is now available to SMEs and Not For Profits that are employing people to provide the cash flow needed to keep them operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills as well as retaining staff. Employers will receive a payment equal to 100% of their salary and wages withheld up to a maximum of $50,000 with the payment to be available from 8 April 2020. These tax-free payments will flow automatically through the ATO.

An additional payment will be made on 28 July 202 equal to the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments received.

Eligible businesses will have an aggregated annual turnover of under $50 million.

Regulatory Protection and Financial Support for Businesses to Stay in Business

The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will support SMEs to get access to working capital to assist with the impact of the coronavirus. Under the Scheme, the Federal Government will guarantee 50% of new loans issued by lenders to SMEs. This complements the Government’s announcement to cut red-tape allowing SMEs to access credit faster.

 Temporary Relief for Financially Distresses Businesses

Sole traders not employing staff are eligible for increases asset write-off measures with the threshold lifted to $150,000 as well as accelerated depreciation arrangements.

 Those small businesses employing an apprentice, or a trainee may be eligible for a wage subsidy of 50% of the wage paid from 1 January until 30 September 2020. Employees can receive reimbursement of up to $21,000 per apprentice or trainee.

 Businesses in regions and communities most affected by COVID-19 will receive additional assistance to aid in recovery.

Australian Tax Office

The ATO is providing administrative relief for some tax obligations for those affected by COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis. The ATO is considering ways to enhance its presence in significantly affected regions to facilitate application for relief.

Australian Banking Association

On 20 March 2020, the Australian Banking Association announced their small business relief package. This will allow the deferral of principal and interest repayments for loans to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Banks are also putting in place a fast track approval process to enabling SMEs suffering cash flow pressures as soon as possible.

Economic Survival Package

 Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, on 21 March unveiled the Victorian State Government’s intentions to introduce measures assisting businesses and workers with their survival in the face of disruptions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

This package provides for full refunds of payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year to SMEs with a payroll of less than $3 million. It is expected that these payments will start flowing through to eligible businesses throughout the next week. Importantly, these payments are a refund and not a loan. For businesses entitled to this refund, payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year will be deferred until January 2021.

Businesses supplying the Victorian Government will benefit from an undertaking to play all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days.

$500 million has been provided to establish a Business Support Fund to support those sectors hardest hit by the disruptions. This fund will be administered with assistance from the Victorian Chamber, Australian Hotels Association and Ai Group. It is envisaged that this fund will assist those businesses that may not be eligible for payroll tax refunds due to their size.

A further $500 million has been allocated to establish the Working for Victoria Fund that will help workers who have lost their jobs dine new opportunities, including work cleaning public infrastructure or delivering food.

If you would like to speak to the Saving Point team to find out if any of these measures (or others) will help your business, please contact us – [email protected]   03 9555 3551

 

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