We are keeping you in the loop as the Government and ATO roll out stimulus packages and other assistance in the wake of COVID-19.


Stay tuned for future updates. 

Contents:

Australian Government Stimulus Packages 

Victorian Local Lockdowns Business Grant

New South Wales Small Business Recovery Grant

JobKeeper Allowance

ATO Assistance

Victorian Economic Survival Package

Tax Relief for Landlords

Victorian Business Support Fund

Superannuation Updates

Commercial Rent Relief Package

Business Helpline - 13 28 46

Financial Hardship Helplines

Mental Health Resources

The Jobs Hub

Click to skip to relevant section.

Stimulus Packages

The Government has announced numerous investment packages to support the economy as we brace for the impact of the coronavirus.

For business

  • Business investment
  • Increase and extension of the instant asset write-off
  • Accelerated depreciation deductions
  • Cash flow assistance for small and medium sized business
  • Wage subsidy of up to 50% of an apprentice or trainee wage
  • Targeted support for severely affected sectors, regions and communities
  • Tax-free payments up to $100,000 for small business and not-for-profit employers. An increase in the previously announced initial tax-free payments for employers to a maximum of $50,000. In addition to this, a second round of payments will be made up to a maximum of $50,000, accessible from July 2020. 
  • Solvency safety net – temporary 6 month increase to the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company from $2,000 to $20,000, and an increase in the time companies have to respond from 21 days to 6 months. Directors also are provided with temporary relief from personal liability for trading while insolvent for 6 months.
  • Access to working capital – Introduction of a Coronavirus SME guarantee scheme protecting financial institutions by guaranteeing 50% of new loans to SMEs.
  • Sole traders and self-employed eligible for Jobseeker payment – the eligibility criteria to access income support relaxed for the self-employed and sole traders.
  • Temporary relief from some Corporations Act requirements

For individuals

  • Household stimulus payments to drive cash into the economy
  • Tax-free $750 payment to social welfare recipients
  • Early release of superannuation – individuals in financial distress able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20, and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. The withdrawals will be tax-free and will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.
  • Temporary reduction in minimum superannuation draw down rates – superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account based pensions and similar products reduced by 50% in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
  • Deeming rates reduced – from 1 May, superannuation deeming rates reduced further to a lower rate of 0.25% and upper rate of 2.25%.
  • Supplements increased, access extended and eased – for 6 months from 27 April 2020:
  • A temporary coronavirus supplement of $550 will be paid to existing income support recipients (people will receive their normal payment plus $550 each fortnight for 6 months).
  • A second one-off stimulus payment of $750 will be paid automatically from 13 June 2020 to certain income support recipients (in addition to the payment made from 31 March 2020).
  • Eligibility for access to income support eased to include sole traders and the self-employed, and to those caring for someone infected or in isolation.
  • Waiting periods and assets tests temporarily waived.  
  • Bankruptcy safety net – temporary 6 month increase to the threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor from $5,000 to $20,000.

This is just a summary of the changes being made. For full details please read here.

Victorian Local Lockdowns Business Grant

Businesses operating within Victorian postcodes impacted by the return to Stage 3 restrictions from 11:59pm Wednesday 1 July could be eligible for a one-off, $5,000 grant.

There are several conditions for eligibility:

  • Your business is operating in a postcode that his affected by the return to Stage 3 restrictions (not necessarily their registered address); and
  • Your business is registered for JobKeeper and you can attest that trading has been impacted by the return to Stage 3 restricitons; and
  • It is an employing business; and
  • The business is currently registered to pay GST; and
  • Your business has a payroll of less than $3 million per annum; and
  • You hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at 16 March 2020 (date of the State of Emergency declaration); and
  • You have been engaged in carrying out the operation of the business in Victoria on 16 March 2020.
  • Businesses can still receive this $5,000 grant even if they have already received a $10,000 Business Support Fund grant or payroll tax refund or waiver.


You can find out more and register your interest to apply on the Business Victoria website

NSW Small Business Recovery Grant

Eligible small businesses in New South Wales can apply for recovery grants of up to $3000. 

This grant is designed to help small businesses meet the costs of safely reopening or upscaling operations.

The grant can be used to make fit-out changes, provide staff training and counselling, cover advertising and communications expenses and purchase cleaning products or services. 

This grant can only be used for purchases of eligible expenses made from 1 July 2020, and only where no other government support is available.

Check eligibility and apply online at Service NSW before 11:59pm AEST on Sunday, 16 August 2020.

You can find details of other NSW government stimulus and grants here

JobKeeper Allowance

Applications for JobKeeper closed on 31 May 2020.

In summary:

  • Up to $1500 a fortnight will be paid to employers to help pay employee wages while the business is put into 'hibernation'.
  • Businesses will be eligible if their revenue had dropped by 30% or more since the crisis hit.
  • The payment will be available to full-time and part-time workers, sole traders, and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more.
  • New Zealanders are eligible for the payment.
  • Payments will start flowing into accounts from first week of May, they will be backdated to 1 March.
  • Employees who may have lost their jobs or been laid off already will be able to access the payment if they were still employed as of 1 March. 

Click here for JobKeeper Fact Sheet for Employers
Click here for JobKeeper Fact Sheet for Employees


Victorian Payroll Tax & JobKeeper:
The Victorian Government has announced that if an employer makes any additional payments to bridge the gap between their employee’s normal wage and the $1500 fortnightly JobKeeper payment, that will be exempt from payroll tax. For employees who have been stood down, the full $1500 payment is exempt.

Click here for more application and confirmation information from the ATO.


ATO Administrative Relief

In order to assist taxpayers during this uncertain time, the ATO is introducing administrative relief measures and pledging flexibility.

This includes:

  • Up to a four-month deferral of the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement, including PAYG instalments, income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise.
  • The ATO will allow quarterly GST reporting businesses to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to.
  • Businesses will be allowed to vary pay-as-you-go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter.
  • Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero will also be allowed to claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.
  • The ATO will also look to remit any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities.
  • Businesses can pay tax liabilities by allowing them to enter low interest payment plans.


The ATO will establish a temporary shop front in Cairns within the next few weeks to support the region’s small businesses. Other initiatives to bring support to the communities are being considered.

Victorian Economic Survival Package 

The Victorian Government has announced tax measures to support businesses through Victoria’s State of Emergency, as part of a broader economic survival package in response to COVID-19.

Payroll tax waived

Businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived.

Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year.

These businesses can also defer paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year.

If a Victorian employer makes any additional payments to bridge the gap between their employee’s normal wage and the $1500 fortnightly JobKeeper payment, that amount will be exempt from payroll tax. For employees who have been stood down, the full $1500 payment is exempt.

Liquor licence fees waived

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.

Land tax deferral

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 land owners 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.


Click here for FAQs answered by the State Revenue Office.

Tax Relief for Victorian Landlords

If you are a commercial or residential landlord and you meet the eligibility criteria for tax relief, you can access the following:

  • Landlords who provide rent relief to tenants impacted by COVID-19 could be eligible for a 25% reduction on 2020 land tax.
  • This 25% land tax reduction is also available to land owners who are unable to find a tenant for their property due to COVID-19 (commercial and residential).
  • Landlords can also defer the remainder of their 2020 land tax to 31 March 2021.


Click here for eligibility requirements and FAQs.


For land tax relief and other COVID-19 economic relief in other states and territories, please see the following links:

Superannuation Updates

As part of the economic response to COVID-19, superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products will be reduced by 50% in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Age
Default minimum drawdown rates (%)
Reduced rates by 50 per cent for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years (%)
< 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 + 14
7

Example from Government Fact Sheet:

Mike is a 66 year old retiree with a superannuation account-based pension.

The value of Mike’s account-based pension at 1 July 2019 was $200,000. Under current minimum drawdown requirements, Mike is required by legislation to drawdown 5 per cent of his account balance over the course of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years.

This means Mike has to drawdown $10,000 by 30 June 2020 to comply with the minimum drawdown requirements. Following the temporary reduction in minimum drawdown requirements, Mike will now only be required to drawdown 2.5 per cent of his account balance, that is, $5,000, by 30 June 2020.

If Mike has already withdrawn over $5,000 for 2019-20, he is not able to put the amount above $5,000 back into his superannuation account. 2 On 1 July 2020 the value of Mike’s account-based pension is $180,000 (after drawdowns and investment losses).

During 2020-21, Mike is required to drawdown 2.5 per cent of his account balance, which is $4,500, instead of $9,000. As a result of this change to minimum drawdown requirements, Mike is able to preserve his capital while still drawing an income from his superannuation. 


Click here to download the Fact Sheet.


Please contact our Superannuation Administrator, Anne Burridge, with any questions or concerns regarding your superannuation.

Commercial Rent Relief Package

Rental waivers and deferrals have been introduced for commercial tenants hit by the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

  • Commercial landlords are legally required to engage with tenants who meet the criteria about rental arrangements.
  • Commercial landlords cannot terminate leases or draw on a tenant's security, while tenants must honour leases.
  • Waivers of rent must account for at least 50% of the reduction in business.
  • Deferrals must be covered over the balance of the lease period and for no less than 12 months.
  • The code will apply to any tenancies where the landlord or tenant applies for JobKeeper and where they have a turnover of $50 million or less.
  • The arrangements will be overseen by binding mediation and a mandatory code will be rolled out in each state and territory.

Further updates and details still to come.

Helpline for Businesses

Call the business helpine: 13 28 46
The Morrison Government’s business hotline will give more support to SMEs impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 13 28 46 Contact Centre opening hours will increase to seven days per week, answering calls from 7am to 11pm AEST. 

Financial Hardship Helplines

Click here for a detailed hardship guide broken down by lender.

Lender Name Financial Hardship Phone Number  
Adelaide Bank 1300 652 146
AMP 1300 130 191
ANZ 1800 252 845
Auswide Bank 1300 138 831
Bank of China 1800 095 566
Bank of Melbourne  1300 630 266
Bank of Sydney 13 95 00
Bankfirst 03 9834 8530
Bankwest 1300 787 144
Better Choice 1300 334 336
Beyond Bank 13 25 85
Bluestone 13 25 83
Choicelend 1300 144 554
Citibank 1800 722 879
Commonwealth Bank 1300 720 814
Firstmac 13 12 20
Heritage Bank 1800 222 030
ING 1300 349 166
LaTrobe Financial 1800 620 639
Liberty 13 11 33
Macquarie 1300 363 330
ME Bank 1300 500 520
MyState 13 80 01
NAB 1800 701 599
Pepper Money 1800 356 383
RedZed 1300 722 462
Resimac 1800 701 599
St George 1800 629 795
Suncorp 1800 225 223
Virgin Money 1800 701 997
Westpac 1800 067 497


Mental Health Resources 

These are some tips from Beyond Blue for managing your mental health during this time of uncertainty. Please click here for their more detailed advice page.

General advice:

  • Try to maintain perspective
  • Find a healthy balance in relation to media coverage
  • Access good quality information
  • Try to maintain a practical and calm approach
  • Try not to make assumptions

Managing your mental health while in self-isolation or quarantine

There are a number of ways to support your mental health during periods of self-isolation or quarantine.

  • Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation to slow the spread of the virus.
  • Remember that your effort is helping others in the community avoid contracting the virus.
  • Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, video conferencing or telephone.
  • Connect with others via the Beyond Blue forums thread: Coping during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
  • Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods.
  • Try to maintain physical activity.
  • Establish routines as best possible and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits.
  • For those working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated work space.
  • Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing.

Seek support

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed by news of the outbreak. We encourage people who have experienced mental health issues in the past to:

  • activate your support network
  • acknowledge feelings of distress
  • seek professional support early if you’re having difficulties.

For those already managing mental health issues, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms. Acknowledge feelings of distress and seek further professional support if required.

The Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 1300 22 4636.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Jobs Hub

For those who have found themselves unexpectedly unemployeed due to the Coronavirus impact. 
There are some areas of the economy which have an increased demand for workers during this COVID-19 crisis, including health and care sectors, transport and logistics, some areas of retail, mining and mining services, manufacturing, agriculture and government sectors. 

The Jobs Hub is a Government website to help people find advertised vacancies.

Click here to find out more. 




We’ll bring you more details as soon as they become available. We recommend subscribing to our mailing list to stay in the loop.

You can also contact us at admin@aintreegroup.com.au.

We ask for your patience, as we are receiving a high volume of client correspondence at the moment, as well as adjusting our own business in accordance with COVID-19 life.

We are also offering specialist COVID-19 consultations that you can find out more about here.

Stay safe and well!



Click here to find out how we're handling COVID-19 at Aintree Group.