COVID-19 Business Support Update - 8 Apr 2020
With the ever evolving, often confusing, government guidelines and assistance packages available for businesses at the moment we thought we'd put together some key points for SMEs which could be crucial in helping your business survive the current COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Please note: Due to the ever-changing nature of COVID-19, this information is current as at 8 April 2020 and may change following this date. For a full overview of the Australian Government's COVID-19 economic response, go to business.gov.au.
JobKeeper Payment and eligibility - Federal Govt
The JobKeeper payment is aimed at helping businesses impacted by the coronavirus restrictions to pay employees and be in a better position to re-start when the COVID-19 crisis is over. For eligible businesses, the Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months.
Who can apply for the JobKeeper Payment?
Eligible businesses include:
- those with a turnover of less than $1 billion, who’s turnover has fallen by more than 30% (of at least a month); or
- those with a turnover of $1 billion or more who’s turnover has fallen by more than 50% (of at least a month); and
- the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.
- not-for-profit entities (including charities).
- self employed individuals.
Eligible employees include:
- those currently employed by an eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired).
- those who were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020.
- those who are full-time, part-time, long-term casual (casuals regularly employed for more than 12 mths at 1 Mar 2020).
- Those who are at least 16 years old.
- Those who are an Australian citizen, holder of a permanent visa, Protected Special Category Visa, non-protected Special Category Visa who have been living in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category Visa holder.
- Those who are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.
This subsidy will take effect on 30 March 2020 with initial payments to employers during the first week of May.
How to apply for the JobKeeper Payment?
Businesses can register their interest in receiving the JobKeeper Payment assistance via the Australian Taxation Office from 30 March 2020 here - ato.gov.au.
Businesses will need to:
- Identify eligible employees and provide monthly updates to the ATO.
- Ensure eligible employees receive at minimum $1,500 per fortnight before tax.
- Decide if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid.
Jobs support loans - QLD Govt
Eligible Queensland businesses can access low interest loans (2.5% fixed rate) of up to $250,000 with an initial 12 month interest free period and then a further 2 years interest only (total loan term of 10 years.) The loan can be used for expenses such as wages, paying creditors or existing business loans and finance payments, rent and rates, or buying goods for the purpose of carrying on the business.
Who can apply for QLD Govt Jobs Support Loans?
Eligible businesses include:
- Sole traders.
- Private companies.
- Public companies.
Businesses must hold an ABN and be registered for GST or an incorporated non-profit organisation, have one or more full time employees in QLD, have operated since 1 July 2017, and have suffered a loss of income as a result of COVID-19.
Please note - We strongly recommend discussing a potential loan application with your financial advisor or current lender before making any decisions.
More information including guidelines on who can apply, how to apply, and FAQs can be found here - qrida.qld.gov.au
Commercial tenancies - Federal Govt
The Australian Government has announced a set of good faith ‘codes of conduct’ for commercial tenancies covering retail, office, and industrial tenancies for businesses with an annual turnover of up to $50 million and who are eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.
The businesses turnover decline due to the coronavirus pandemic situation would be used to guide rent reduction levels. Eligible businesses will be required to continue to engage employees through the JobKeeper payment.
Energy bill assistance - Federal Govt
Businesses having trouble paying energy bills are encouraged to contact their energy retailer to discuss options such as delayed payments or paying off bills in smaller amounts to avoid disconnections.
The Australian Government has set expectations for energy companies such as offering payment plans for businesses under financial stress, waiving disconnection, re-connection and contract break fees for businesses in hibernation, and deferring debt collection to at least the end of July 2020.
In addition to this move the Queensland Government has offered eligible sole traders, small and medium businesses a $500 rebate on their power bill. Eligible businesses are those that are consuming less than 100,000 kW hours. The rebate will be automatically applied to the business electricity bill. More info business.qld.gov.au
Other energy assistance resources include:
- Energy rebates and assistance.
- Business Energy Advice Program - helping small businesses get a better energy deal.
- Financial support - available for small businesses in NSW, Vic and SA.
- Your rights as an energy customer.
Find out more about getting help with your businesses energy bills here - business.gov.au.
If you need professional business advice and assistance during the COVID-19 crisis across the Sunshine Coast, book a consultation with the team at Bottom Line Control Accountants at 07 5471 7077 or online Accountant Booking.