COVID -19 RESOURCES AND ASSISTANCE SUMMARY FOR INDIVIDUALS AND SMALL TO MEDIUM BUSINESSES (Last updated 11/9/2020)

 

The information contained in this article is for general reference only.  For concessions and assistance specific to your business and  for further detail on how to access those concessions, please speak to your LBW account manager or contact our reception on 03 5221 6111 to arrange a time to discuss with one of our professional staff.

We are updating this resource page daily, but due to the frequency of updates coming out from the Federal and State Government, the Australian Taxation Office and relevant businesses, please contact your LBW Business + Wealth Advisors representative to discuss what is available

See here for the main ATO page that links to the various stimulus items described below

INDIVIDUALS

BUSINESS (FEDERAL GOVERNMENT)

AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

BUSINESS (VICTORIAN STATE GOVERNMENT)

BANKING

OTHER


INDIVIDUALS

 Assistance Item

 Detail, eligibility and key dates

JobSeeker Payment

&

JobSeeker Supplement

 
  • Up to $1,100 payment per fortnight income support (time limited) combined JobSeeker Payment and JobSeeker Supplement
  • Existing and new recipients of Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit can access
  • Paid for 6 months
  • Not subject to assets test
  • temporarily relaxed partner income test
    • personal income test still applies
  • Supplement is $550 and payment based on eligibility for JobSeeker Payment (previously Newstart)
    •  If you are in receipt any JobSeeker Payment amount (even as little as $1) you are eligible for the whole $550 Jobseeker Supplement
  • Not tax free

Confirmed that Austudy and Abstudy recipients are eligible

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JobSeeker 2.0

(post 27 September 2020)
  • The JobSeeker Supplement (currently $550 a fortnight) will reduce to $250 a fortnight from 25 September 2020 until 31 December 2020
  • Automatically received if you are eligible for the JobSeeker Payment (thew old Newstart Allowance)
  • From 25 September the following tests will be reintroduced:
    • Asset Test
    • Liquid Assets waiting period
  • The Ordinary Waiting Period, Newly Arrived Resident's Waiting Period and Seasonal Work Preclusion Period will continue to be waived until 31 December 2020
Action:
Automatic for existing recipients of Jobseeker Payment. Refer here for eligibility criteria
References:
Income Support for Individuals (29/7)

Two payments of $750

 
  • The first $750 payment from 31 March 2020 and the second $750 from 13 July 2020
  • Social security, Veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders
  • Second Payment not provided to those eligible for the Coronavirus supplement (the $550 payment above)
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Action:
Automatic
References:
Payments to support households (29/3)

Early Release of Superannuation

 
  • Case by case
  • Release up to $10,000 from superannuation in 2019/2020
  • A further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020
  • Demonstrate financial distress
  • Tax free
  • Will not affect Centrelink or Veterans affairs payments
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Action:
Upon application. Speak to your advisor. Refer here for further information on eligibility and application process
References:
Early Access to Superannuation (23/7)

Reduction in

Drawdown Rates

  • Temporary reduction in minimum drawdown rates by 50% for account based pensions for 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 to reduce the need to sell investments to fund minimum drawdown requirements
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Action:
Speak to your advisor
References:
Providing Support for Retirees (25/3)

 Job Keeper

 
  • Applies to full time, part time and casual staff
  • Students 17 and younger not generally eligible
  • Employee eligible to receive this payment from one employer only
  • Casuals to have worked more than a year on a regular and systematic basis
  • Casuals are not eligible if they  are a permanent employee of another employer
  • Self employed individuals also eligible
  • JobKeeper payment is reportable income (affects other centrelink payments)
  • Employer required to advise employees that he has nominated them as eligible employees
  • Employer to pay at least $1,500 per fortnight and seek reimbursement under the JobKeeper provisions on a monthly basis.
  • JobKeeper will only be paid on a reimbursement basis
  • ATO have stated they will be flexible in eligibility assessment
  • Employer to speak to the ATO monthly
  • Turnover less than $1 billion
    • Turnover to have decreased by greater than 30% 
  • Turnover greater than $1 billion
    • Turnover to have decreased by greater then 50%
  • Turnover decline is measured by referring to a comparable period a year ago (of at least 1 month) as reported on BAS'
  • Potentially employers expected to "top up" to normal wage
  • JobKeeper payment available for 6 months
    • This has now been extended - refer to JobKeeper 2.0 below
  • For employees on the books on 1 March and employee is retained or continues to be engaged by the employer
    • For the last 4 JobKeeper fortnights (and for JobKeeper 2.0) commencing 3 August 2020, the employee start date eligibility changed to 1 July 2020 (previously 1 March)
    • Casuals still need to be employed for 12 months on a regular and systematic basis as at 1 July to be eligible.
  • If business is non operational because of government directive, employer (and employee) can still receive the payment
  • People paid via dividends and trust distributions can access JobKeeper (one only) Refer to FAQ below
  • Where you are eligible for the  JobKeeper you cannot claim the $7,000 per quarter  Apprentice Subsidy (see below)
  • Deadline for April fortnight payments to employees is 8th May
  • Enrolment deadline for April fortnights is 31 May
  • May fortnight payments to be made within the relevant fortnight

 

  • Alternate Turnover Test:
    • For businesses without a comparable period to compare turnover in assessing eligibility to the JobKeeper program the government has release the Alternate Turnover Test.
    • Refer here for information on the Alternate Turnover Test (the Rules and Explanatory Statement).
    • Please contact your LBW representative if you need assistance in applying the Alternate Turnover Tests
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Action:
Employer to apply for through ATO (www.ato.gov.au)
Program commences 30 March.
Pay employees by 8th May for April fortnights
Enrol by 31st May
References:
LBW - JobKeeper Enrolment and Application Process
LBW - JobKeeper Enrolment Procedures and Payroll Considerations
JobKeeper Payment (7/8)
FAQ (26/6)
Protecting Integrity (7/8)
 ATO JobKeeper Information (11/8)
Changes to the Fair Work Act (Treasury) (7/8)
Changes to the Fair Work Act (Fair Work Ombudsman) (11/8)
ATO Alternate Turnover Test Information (11/8)
 

JobKeeper 2.0

(post 27 September 2020)
  • Commences 28 September
  • Available to eligible businesses including the self employed and NFP
  • Runs until 28 March 2021 in two separate tranches
  • Employee eligibility date moves from 1 March to 1 July
  • First tranche:
    • 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021
    • $1,200 per fortnight for full time employees
    • $750 per fortnight for employees (part time and casual) who worked less than 20 hours in the relevant reference period
    • Actual GST turnover to be used to demonstrate greater than 30% decline in turnover
    • Eligibility based on decline in turnover comparing September 2020 actual quarter to September 2019 actual turnover
    • Presents a timing issue in that September quarter BAS will need to be completed with a few days of quarter end to determine eligibility based.
  • Second Tranche
    •  4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021
    • $1,000 per fortnight for full time employees
    • $600 per fortnight for employees (part time and casual) who worked less than 20 hours in the relevant reference period
    • Actual GST turnover to be used to demonstrate greater than 30% decline in turnover
    • Eligibility based on decline in turnover comparing December 2020 actual quarter to December 2019 actual turnover
    • Presents a timing issue in that December quarter BAS will need to be completed with a few days of quarter end to determine eligibility based.
  • The commissioner may extend the deadline to meet the wage condition (paying the minimum for reimbursement) for the first fortnight in each tranche to enable employers the ability to assess turnover eligibility.
  • Alternative tests can be set by the Commissioner presumably similar to those alternative tests set out in JobKeeper 1.0 - no detail released as yet
  • Employee Eligibility and payment rate
    • First Tranche:
      • $1,200 per fortnight for employees who work 20 or more hours a week in the business on average (or business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more on average) in the 4 weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020
      • $750 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants
      • You can choose that reference time which suits best (1/3/20 or 1/7/20) if the employee was employed prior to March 1 and continues to be employed throughout the JobKeeper period. If the employee commenced post 1 March 2020, the pay periods prior to 1 July are the reference periods that need to be used
      • Casual employees will need to be employed for at least 12 months as at 1 July 2020 on a regular and systematic basis and not a permanent employee of another employer
    • Second Tranche
      • $1,000 per fortnight for employees who work 20 or more hours a week in the business on average (or business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more on average) in the 4 weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020
      • $650 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants
      • You can choose that reference time which suits best (1/3/20 or 1/7/20) if the employee was employed prior to March 1 and continues to be employed throughout the JobKeeper period. If the employee commenced post 1 March 2020, the pay periods prior to 1 July are the reference periods that need to be used
      • Casual employees will need to be employed for at least 12 months as at 1 July 2020 on a regular and systematic basis and not a permanent employee of another employer
    • The commissioner will set out alternative tests where the reference periods (4 weeks of pay periods prior to 1 March or 1 July are not usual for the purposes of assessing employee eligibility and payment rate
  • Payment will continue to be on a reimbursement basis (in arrears)
  • Turnover threshholds are same as original JobKeeper (30% for less than $1 Billion turnover, 50% for greater than $1 Billion turnover)
  • Other conditions/threshholds are same as the original JobKeeper
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Action:
Contact your LBW representative
References:
JobKeeper Extension (10/8)

Homebuilder

 

  • $25,000 grant paid directly to eligible owner occupiers (not just first home buyers)
  • For the purpose of building new homes or substantial renovations
  • Owner occupiers must apply as individuals, not a company or trust
  • Be an Australian citizen aged over 18
  • Building contracts entered into between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020
    • Work must commence with six months of contract date
  • Threshholds:
    • Meet two income caps:
      • single earning less than $125,000
      • couples earning less than $200,000
      • based on 2018/2019 taxable incomes
    • New home less than $750,000 including land
    • Substantially renovate existing home as a principal place of residence with renovation cost between $150,000 and $750,000
      • home valued at less than $1,500,000 prior to renovations
  • Building work undertaken by licensed building contractor
    • Builder cannot be a relative of the property owner
  • Renovations can be a combination of works (kitchen, bathroom etc)

 

  • If eligible, can also access:
    • First Home Home Owner Grant
    • Stamp Duty concessions
    • Commonwealth First Home Loan Deposit Scheme
    • First Home Super Saver Scheme

What isn't allowed:

  • Renovations must improve the accessibility, safety and liveability of the home.  It cannot be used for swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor spas and sauna, detached sheds or garages
  • Owner-builders and people seeking to build a new home or renovate an existing home as an investment property are ineligible
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Action:
Speak to your Advisor
References:
Treasury Fact Sheet (18/6)
Treasury FAQ (4/8)

 

BUSINESS - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 Instant Asset Write off

 
  • Instant Asset Write off increase from $30,000 to $150,000 (GST Excl)
  • Aggregated turnover less than $500 million
  • First used or installed ready for use before 31 December 2020
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Action:
Speak to your advisor
References:
Delivering Support for Business Investment (21/7)

 Accelerated Depreciation

 
  • Accelerating Depreciation Deductions by allowing 50% deduction for eligible assets on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to balance of the asset's cost
  • Aggregated turnover less than $500 million
  • First used or installed ready for use before 30 June 2021
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Action:
Speak to your advisor
References:
Backing Business Investment (21/7) (page 3 Fact Sheet)
 

Cash Boost (PAYG Withholding Credit)

 
  • Two Tax Free rebates/credits from between $10,000 and $50,000 each for PAYG withheld for small and medium sized businesses and NFPs (increased from between $2,000 and $25,000)
    • Note that although labelled as tax-free (NANE income) where the Cash Boost is received by a company there will likely be tax payable on this amount in the hands of the shareholders either through Division 7 or though unfranked dividends, and in a unit trust may result in erosion of the unit holders cost base.
  • Aggregated turnover less than $50 Million based on prior financial year turnover)
  • Certain lodgement requirements (see weblink below)
  • Payment 1 - 100% of PAYG Withholding from 1 January to 30 June 2020 (max $50,000, min $10,000)
  • Payment 2 - 100% of Payment 1 if still an active employer (max $50,000, min $10,000). Need W1 in June BAS/IAS
  • NFPs now eligible as well
  • Available only to active eligible employers established prior to 12 March 2020
  • Thought not eligible for PSI entities
  • ATO indicating generally if a refund is due because of this mechanism they will not offset the refund against existing debt
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Action:
Automatic credit on BAS' and IAS' from March 2020 onwards
Speak to your advisor about specific timing of payments
References:
Cashflow Assistance for Business (2/4) 
 

 Apprenticeship Subsidy (including Extension)

 
  • Eligible employers apply for 50% of apprentices wage for 9 months
  • Aggregated turnover less than $50 Million
  • 9 months (1 Jan 2020 to 31 March 2021)
  • Maximum $7,000 per apprentice per quarter
  • Less than 20 employees (originally). Extension from 1 July to 30 September less than 200 employees
  • Apprentice in-training or employed  as at 1 March 2020
  • Register from early April 2020, latest December 2020
  • By reimbursement mechanism
  • Not available to employers receiving the JobKeeper Payment

 

Read the Treasury Release linked below for more detail

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Action:
First contact for subsidy is at AASN but application generally through the entity used to employ the apprentice (eg: MEGT)
References:
Supporting Apprentices and Trainees (29/7)

 Solvency Considerations

 
  • Temporarily Increasing threshhold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand against a company and to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against an individual. Additional time to respond to statutory demands.
  • Temporary relief from directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent
  • ATO will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business
  • Extended to 31 December 2020
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Action:
Speak to your advisor
References:
Temporary relief for Business (21/4)
Extension of temporary relief (9/9)
 

Government backed lending 

 
  • The Government will provide a guarantee for 50% to eligible lenders to support new short term unsecured loans to SMEs
  • $20 billion worth of guarantee on loans (so $40 billion of loans)
  • Starting in early April 2020
  • Include up front 6 month freeze on repayments
  • unsecured loans for working capital only
  • Up to $250,000 over three years
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Action:
Speak to your advisor
References:
Supporting the Flow of Credit
  

APRA changes to lending criteria 

  • Providing temporary exemption from Responsible Lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers
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Action:
Speak to you advisor and your lender
References:
Department of Treasury and Finance

Commercial Rent Relief

 
  • States and Territories to implement mandatory Code of Conduct (incl legislation) to impose a set of good faith leasing principles to commercial tenancies where the tenant:
    • is a small-medium sized business (annual turnover less than $50 million
    • is an eligible business for the JobKeeper program
  • Proportional rent reductions based on tenants decline in turnover to ensure that the burden is shared between landlords and tenants. Combination of deferral and waiver of rent with deferrals to be less than 50% of reductions
  • Business Victoria Commercial Rent Relief scheme extended to 31 December 2020
  • Victorian Regulations (eligibility and requirements) linked below.
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Action:
Refer to here for Vic Government response.  Legislation passed 23/4 to enable Commercial Rent Relief Principles below
References:
Commercial Rent Relief Principles (Federal Code) 
Victorian Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (9/9)
Regulations (9/9)
  

 RBA Lending backing for ADIs

 
  • The Reserve Bank is establishing a $90 billion facility to offer 3 year funding to authorised Deposit Taking Institutions (ADIs) to:
    • reduce interest rates for borrowers
    • to encourage financial support for borrowers mainly small to medium enterprises
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Action:
Speak to your advisor and your bank
References:
Reserve Bank of Australia
Department of Treasury and Finance

 

BUSINESS - AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

 ATO Liability deferral

 
  • Deferral by up to 6 months the payment of amounts due through BAS, income tax assessments, FBT and Excise
  • Case by case but not automatic
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 Swap BAS reporting periods

 
  • Businesses can swap from quarterly to monthly in order to get quicker access to GST refunds
  • Case by case but not automatic
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Vary PAYG Instalments

  • Businesses to vary PAYG instalments to zero for quarter ended March 2020.  Those that do this can also claim a refund for PAYG instalments made on September 2019 and December 2019 BAS
  • Case by case but not automatic
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Interest and Penalty concessions

  • Remitting interest and penalties incurred after 23 January 2020 and that have been applied to tax liabilities
  • Case by case but not automatic
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Decrease in GIC

  • Low interest payment plans for existing ATO debt 
  • Case by case but not automatic
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Action:
Speak to your advisor and your bank
References:
Australian Taxation Office (information on above)
ATO hub for ALL COVID-19 information and processes

 

BUSINESS - VICTORIAN STATE GOVERNMENT

 Payroll Tax Refund

 
  • Full payroll tax refunds for the 2019/2020 financial year to small and medium business and no further payments for the balance of the 2019/2020 financial year
  • Payroll less than $3 million annual taxable wages (not aggregated)
  • Must continue to lodge Payroll Tax Returns
  • Make sure your bank details are updated on the SRO website
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Defer 20/21 Payroll Tax

 

  • Defer payments for first 3 months of the 2020/2021 financial year until 1 January 2021
  • Payroll less than $3 million annual (not aggregated)taxable wages
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Commercial tenant in Government Building

  • Commercial tenants in government buildings can apply for rent relief immediately
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Land tax payments for 2020 will be deferred

  • Eligible landowners that have at least one taxable non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million
  • Deferred until after January 2021
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Liquor licensing

  • Giving workers who have lost their job a fresh in agriculture and ensuring primary producers have they workers they need
  • $50 million Agriculture Workforce Plan (part of $500 million Working for Victoria Fund)
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Working For Victoria 

  • The $500 million Working for Victoria initiative helps Victorians, including people who have lost their jobs due to the economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19), find new work opportunities.
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Action:
Speak to your advisor
References:
Working For Victoria
Victorian Government CoronaVirus Business Support

Business Victoria Grants

 
  • Business Support Fund
    • $10,000 grants available for 30,000 Victorian Businesses
    • Small business with less than $650,000 annual taxable wages (under the payroll tax threshhold)
    • Turnover more than $75,000
    • Initially for businesses that have been subject to closure or is highly impacted by Non-Essential Activity Directions (see here)
    • Expanded on 1 May to include all Businesses eligible for JobKeeper with payroll less than $650,000 except for sole traders (see here)
    • Closed 31 May 2020

 

  • Business Support Fund - Expansion
    • $10,000 Melbourne and Metro and $5,000 Regional
    • Closes on 14 September 2020
    • Operate in Victoria
    • Less than $3,000,000 payroll (incl super) in 2019/2020
    • JobKeeper participant
    • Workcover registered
    • ABN and GST as at 30/6/20

 

  • Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program
    • Closes on 14 September 2020 
    • Lost income from clients subject to stay at home restrictions (cancelled bookings unable to be filled otherwise)
    • Eligible Victorian location
    • bookable to public and advertised on online platform or through an agent

 

  • CBD Small Hospitality Program Stream
    • Ongoing
    • One off grant of:
      • $5,000 for seating capacity between 11 and 100
      • $15,000 for seating capacity of 101 or more
    • CBD based business
    • Previously received funds under the Business Support Grant - Expansion program

 

  • Hospitality Business Grant Program
    • Ongoing
    • $25,000 grant plus $5,000 for each additional premises in Melbourne or Mitchell Shire (additional capped at $20,000)
    • Annual payroll between $3,000,000 and $10,000,000
    • ABN and GST as at 30 June 2020
    • CBD Business may be eligible for an extra $20,000

 

  • Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative
    • Rental payment hardship
    • Turnover less than $50,000,000
    • Reduction in turnover of at least 30% since 16 March 2020
    • Employ people
    • Business was as at 16 March 2020 and held an ABN at that date
    • suffering financial distress
    • Do not qualify for Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme
    • Provision of:
      • Specialist Tenancy and Business Advice
      • Mediation Services
      • Funding for Commercial Rental Hardship (up to $150,000 per business group)
    • By Application

 

  • Business Survival and Adaptation Package

September 13 2020 Announcement (details to be confirmed)

  • $10,000 to $20,000 for Victorian businesses based on payroll threshholds
  • Similar eligibility to the Business Support Extension grants
  • Grant applications open 18 September 2020
  • 1.7 billion in payroll tax deferrals for the whole of the 20/21 financial year

Overview from Business Victoria Website of complete announcement here

Details of 3rd round of business grants here

 

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BANKING

 Banking/Lending support  
  • All major banks are currently offering different support packages for business customers, including:
    • pausing loan payments
    • significant rate cuts
    • increased deposit rates
  • APRA will lower banks capital ratios to allow further lending
  • Refer to the Australian Banking Industry website (see below) for more information
    • Different offerings from different banks
    • Mostly for small businesses
  • Finance providers (HP/Chattel Mortgage) will also assist with deferrals
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Action:
Register with your Bank or Finance provider and speak to your Advisor
References:
Australian Banking Industry
 

 

TIPS AND CONSIDERATIONS

 Suppliers

 
  • Understand your supply chains
  • Explore alternative suppliers (where available) if product delivery is interrupted

 Customers

 
  • Is e-commerce an option or "stop gap" to keep business trading
  • Develop different methods of servicing customers
    • video conference/consultation
    • no contact delivery
    • take away rather than eat in
    • survival packs
    • operating hours
    • etc

Reporting

  • Review or develop budgets
  • Convert to cashflow budgets including receipts, payments, BAS/IAS, taxes and any capital expenditure (if any)
  • Don'tassume automatic approval of deferring ATO payments as per the concessions outlined above
  • Talk to your LBW advisor about how the other concessions will affect you
  • Stress test the budgets for different levels of income/receipts
  • Identify non core expenses to reduce

Talk to key stakeholders

  • Banks - financial hardship concessions
  • Employees
  • Suppliers (renegotiate terms)
  • Debtors (incentives to pay etc)
  • Rent holidays from Landlords
  • and so on

Insurance

  • Review business continuity insurance

Staffing

  • Review mix of staff (full time/casual)
  • Cross-skilling where necessary
  • Working from home
  • Review staff entitlements
  • Consider altering employment conditions and awards (specialist advice needed here so as not to breach Fair Work Act - See Above)

Solvency

  • Better reporting to ensure not trading whilst insolvent

When time permits

Once you have dealt with all that you can, managed what you can manage, consolidate what you can consolidate and rationalised what you can rationalise - take a breath and look at what you've done.

Your business will not look the same as it used to be. But unfortunately it doesn't stop there.  You will need to do this frequently over the coming months. To survive it will be necessary to continually shape and reform your business.  For some more than others.

At the end of every change and when you get to the end, and a lot of you will, take another look and see what you can keep out of the changes you have made.

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There are three distinct steps in the enrolment and payment of the JobKeeper Payment.  These are:

Step 1:             Enrol for the JobKeeper Payment (see below)

Step 2:             Identify and maintain your eligible employees

Step 3:             Make a business monthly declaration

Step 1 is detailed below. Step 2 is dealt with further on

STEP 1: ENROLMENT IN JOBKEEPER

When you proceed to the Australian Taxation Office Website to enrol in the JobKeeper program, these are the questions that you will; need to answer.

Questions required to enrol in the JobKeeper Program

  1. Login to the Business Portal using MyGov ID 
  1. Select “Manage Employees” then the link for the JobKeeper payment 
  1. Answers to the following questions (depending on type of entity
    1. For entities with less than $1 billion turnover:
      1. Has your turnover for the entity fallen or is likely to fall 30% or more?
        1. Yes/No 
    2. For entities with more than $1 billion turnover
      1. Has your turnover for the entity fallen or is likely to fall 50% or more
        1. Yes/No
    3. For ACNC Registered charities
      1. Has your turnover for the entity fallen or is likely to fall 15% or more
        1. Yes/No 
    4. For which month in 2020 have you experienced or likely to experience a reduction in turnover (select Month from dropdown)  (Call if you need assistance here but imagine it would be March or April 2020 for this initial enrolment for the first 2 fortnight JobKeeper Payments)
    5. If enrolling for April 2020, the number of expected employees for each JobKeeper fortnight in April. Do not include Business Participants here.
      1. You will need number of eligible employees for each JobKeeper fortnight (30 March to 12 April and 13 April to 26 April)
    6. If your business does not have any employees, but does have business participants, enter as “0” here
    7. Are you intending to register as an eligible business participant?
      1. Yes/No
    8. Answer to the following questions:
      1. Does the employing entity’s business participant meet all of the following (Only one YES/NO to cover all below questions):
        1. Relevant individual engaged in the entity’s business
        2. Relevant individual aged 16 or over (18 or over if a beneficiary)
        3. Held an ABN on 12 March 2020
        4. Had assessable income in 2018-2019 income year and provided notice to the Commissioner on or before 12 March (income tax return) 2020 OR made a supply in 1 July to 12 March 2020 and provided notice to the Commissioner on or before 12 March 2020 (BAS)
        5. You are an Australian resident (section 7 of Social Security Act) or resident for income tax purposes and was holder of a special category (Subclass 444) visa
        6. You are not an employee (other than a casual employee) of another entity
    9. Contact and Bank Details
      1. The employing entity’s financial institution details and contact details for payment
        1. Account Name
        2. Account BSB
        3. Account number
      2. Tick check box for account details and confirmed correct

Step 2 does not need to be completed at this point but refer to the information below as businesses that utilise STP will need to adjust their payroll systems immediately (prior to the end of April 2020)

ATO reference: https://www.ato.gov.au/general/jobkeeper-payment/In-detail/JobKeeper-guide---employers-reporting-through-STP/

 

STEP 2 IDENTIFY AND MAINTAIN YOUR ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES (IMMEDIATELY CRITICIAL FOR STP)

If you are an employer and will enrol for the JobKeeper program from today you will need to read this information and follow the steps precisely.  The steps to follow to process payroll for employees are critical in terms of seeking reimbursement from the Australian Government for the JobKeeper payment. The bulk of identification and maintenance of employees for the purposes of the JobKeeper program will be performed through STP.

If you are an employee, the information contained below is of equal importance.  If you receive a payslip that doesn’t comply with the disclosures below, you will need to notify your employer to amend prior to the 8th of May 2020 to ensure they receive reimbursement of the JobKeeper payment.

Once enrolled in the JobKeeper program the next step is to apply for payment (from 4th May onwards) through a combination of STP (automatic) and manual payroll uploads.  As part of that process, one of the things you will need to report to the ATO are the payments made to employees.  You CANNOT receive the JobKeeper payment where you have not paid each eligible employee as a minimum $1,500 per fortnight in the month of April.

For eligibility for the first two JobKeeper fortnight payments, and given the timelines of release of the JobKeeper rules, the ATO have allowed that the equivalent of $1,500 (gross) per employee per fortnight must be paid to the employee prior to the 8th of May.

Note that the payment rules are stricter for the 3rd and 4th JobKeeper fortnight in May in terms of timing of payment

The changes required in the STP systems steps DO NOT apply to employees earning more than $1,500 per fortnight (gross) for each of the JobKeeper fortnights.  For these employees, continue to pay and process through your payroll system as per normal.

Where an employee effectively receives a payrise through the JobKeeper program in either of the JobKeeper fortnights (that is they do not normally earn $1,500 per fortnight) the payroll process below must be followed to ensure reimbursement of the JobKeeper funds for those employees

Note that these employees can include:

  • any part time or full time eligible employee who does not normally earn more than $1,500 per fortnight
  • any eligible casual employee who does not earn on average more than $1,500 per fortnight
  • any eligible employee who has been stood down regardless of what their previous earning amount were

Most payroll providers have updated their software to allow for the JobKeeper program.  For instructions:

  • For MYOB AccountRight, see here
  • For QuickBooks, see here
  • For Xero, see here

For other payroll provider please contact them or refer to their website.

For entities still manually recording payroll (such as closely held entities), you can disclose the relevant payments manually to the ATO after the 4th May 2020.

Please note that the JobKeeper program requires you to separately identify things such as:

  • JobKeeper top ups (where an employee receives a payrise because of the JobKeeper payment); and
  • JobKeeper fortnights

Not doing this will affect your ability to claim the JobKeeper Payment.

Under the second step of the process (the payment of the JobKeeper payment from the government), the information will be provided to the ATO as follows:

(Extract from https://www.ato.gov.au/general/jobkeeper-payment/employers/enrol-for-the-jobkeeper-payment/#ApplyfortheJobKeeperpaymentearlyMay2020)

Step 2: Identify and maintain your eligible employees

  • You or your registered tax or BAS agent can identify each eligible employee that you will claim the JobKeeper Payment for and maintain their details each month.
  • If you have STP enabled payroll software, you can identify your employees in one of the following ways:
    • Directly into your STP enabled payroll software if it is updated with JobKeeper functionality.
    • In the Business Portal if your STP payroll software is not updated with JobKeeper functionality
      • If you have 200 employees or less, log in to the Business Portal and select employee details that are prefilled from your STP pay reports.
      • If you have more than 200 employees, you can manually create a pay report, ask the ATO for a prefilled JobKeeper report, or create your own report using JobKeeper Payment Guide file specification (to be released).

 If you don't have STP enabled payroll software, you can identify your employees in one of the following ways:

    • In the Business Portal
      • If you have 40 employees or less, manually enter your eligible employees' details
      • If you have more than 40 employees, you can use the JobKeeper Payment Guide file specification (to be released) to produce your own JobKeeper report and provide it back to us by uploading it using the Business Portal Transfer file functionality, or consider moving to an STP enabled payroll solution.

 

FAQs

  1. Does the decline in turnover test need to be satisfied just once or continually?
    1. The test only needs to be satisfied once but you will need to report continually to the ATO about business performance.
  2.  The turnover test mentions GST turnover. Is this accruals or cash?
    1. If you use the cash basis to normally report GST turnover on your BAS, you can use the cash basis for comparing income or projected income in determining whether you satisfy the turnover reduction test. Alternatively if you use the cash basis in reporting your normal GST obligations, it is still open to you to use accruals for the purposes of the JobKeeper program. However, entities that normally use the accruals method to report on their BAS must use the accruals method for the purposes of the JobKeeper program.
  3. I normally report GST quarterly. Do I need to use the projected quarterly comparison option for measuring the turnover reduction test or can I use the monthly comparison?
    1. You can use any of the stated comparison periods (monthly or quarterly) allowed regardless of the tax periods you normally report under.
  4. If I am eligible as an employer do I need to nominate all eligible employees?
    1. The rules do not state this specifically but the Explanatory Statement includes a specific reference to “one in, all in”. There is some commentary in the marketplace that about the uncertainty of this interpretation. We would recommend that you follow the “one in, all in” stance.
  5. Long term Casuals -what does regular and systematic basis mean?
    1. The ATO have adopted the definition of regular and systematic contained in the Fair Work Act. Some commentators have stated that to be eligible, casuals need to have had regular and recurring shifts (on an almost permanent part time basis). We believe that the definition of “regular and systematic” refers to the premise that casual staff had a “reasonable expectation of ongoing work”.  This is a little more subjective and does allow potentially more casual staff to be eligible
  6. Do I need to pay superannuation on the JobKeeper Payment?
    1. Superannuation is only levied on those amounts normally paid to staff in the process of performing their duties. If a staff member receives an uplift because of the JobKeeper, superannuation does not need to be paid on the uplift amount (see the references to STP changes to deal with this).  If the employee has been stood down, superannuation is not payable on any of the JobKeeper payment (the employer can elect to pay it if they wish)
  7. Is the JobKeeper payment included in the calculation for payroll tax and workcover liabilities?
    1. The Victorian Government have not yet stated whether this will be the case but some other states have indicated it will not be included.
  8. I’m an eligible business participant (self employed), not an employee. Do I need to pay myself $1,500 per fortnight to be eligible for the JobKeeper payment?
    1. No you do not.
  9. I can’t afford to pay my employees to be eligible for the JobKeeper program. What can I do?
    1. You can approach your bank once you are enrolled this week and they may be able to assist. Alternatively some employers are considering requesting employees “loan back” the employer their fortnightly pay.  There are legal and employment law considerations around this so tread carefully

 

LBW Business + Wealth Advisors have dedicated staff to attend to:

  • the enrolment of your business in the JobKeeper program
  • advice in relation to STP and changes required to some employees payroll entries
  • Application for payment where STP pay systems are not utilised

Please contact your LBW representative to get assistance in any steps or processes relating to JobKeeper, or for general advice about eligibility of employers and employees

 

Information recently released from the ATO (accessible here as well) now provides some clarity about the process to access the JobKeeper Payment.  Below is a quick FAQ/Quick Reference guide for your information and also the steps to enrol and apply for the JobKeeper. Please call your LBW contact if you need any assistance in applying or enrolling for the JobKeeper Payment for your employees.

The process is a two step process.

  1. Enrol for the JobKeeper Payment (after 20 April 2020)
  2. Apply for Payment (after 4 May 2020)

JobKeeper Enrolment – Quick FAQ

Enrol online with the ATO from 20 April 2020 - Closes 31st  May

  • Turnover reduction test:
    1. GST Turnover for March 2020 with GST Turnover for March 2019
    2. Projected GST turnover for April 2020 with GST turnover for April 2019
    3. Projected GST turnover for quarter commencing April 2020 with GST turnover for quarter starting April 2019
    4. If not registered for GST, some other method or demonstrating a greater than 30% reduction
  • Once eligible for the JobKeeper, you remain eligible and are not required to re-apply, but you will have ongoing monthly reporting requirements to the ATO
  • Business owners actively engaged in business (shareholder, adult beneficiary or partner) will be entitled to the JobKeeper Payment
    1. One entitlement for each entity (assuming excluding normal employees)
    2. More information to come. No need to demonstrate a $1,500 payment to a shareholder/beneficiary to claim the JobKeeper in this scenario
  • Need to re-start or continue paying at least $1,500 per employee per fortnight
  • You will be able to pay the first and second fortnight late provided all payments are made prior 8th May at $1,500 per employee per fortnight. This concession is not flagged to exist for the May payroll payments
  • JobKeeper payments are assessable income to the business and not subject to GST
  • Superannuation – there is more information to come on this from the ATO
  • If you HAVEN’T paid $1,500 per employee per fortnight, you CANNOT claim the JobKeeper
  • Nominating Employees process
    1. BEFORE enrolling for JobKeeper, notify each eligible employee that you intend to nominate them
    2. They must agree to be nominated by you by completing the JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice and return it to you for your records (does need to go to ATO)
  • Amount of JobKeeper Payment (see table below)

Payment date

Amount per employee

May

$3,000 (for fortnights starting 30 March and 13 April)

June 

$3,000 (for fortnights starting 27 April and 11 May)

July

$3,000 (for fortnights starting 25 May and 8 June)

August

$3,000 (for fortnights starting 22 June and 6 July)

September

$4,500 (for fortnights starting 20 July, 3 August and 17 August)

October

$3,000 (for fortnights starting 31 August and 14 September)

 

Questions asked in the enrolment page of the ATO include the following

Most clients would already have completed steps 1 to 5 below, but if you haven’t please do so immediately.

 

STEP 1: Enrol for the JobKeeper payment (from 20 April onwards)

You or a registered tax professional can enrol for the JobKeeper payment:

Step 1 – Register your interest and subscribe for JobKeeper payment updates.

Step 2 – Check you and your employees meet the eligibility requirements.

Step 3 – Continue to pay at least $1,500 to each eligible employee per JobKeeper fortnight (the first JobKeeper fortnight is the period from 30 March to 12 April).

Step 4 – Notify your eligible employees that you are intending to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and check they aren’t claiming JobKeeper payment through another employer or have nominated through another business.

Step 5 – Send the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to your nominated employees to complete and return to you by the end of April if you plan to claim JobKeeper payment for April. Keep it on file and provide a copy to your registered tax agent if you are using one.

Step 6 – From 20 April 2020, you can enrol with us for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal and authenticate with myGovID. You must do this by the end of April to claim JobKeeper payments for April.

Step 7 – In the online form, provide your bank details and indicate if you are claiming an entitlement based on business participation, for example if you are a sole trader.

Step 8 – Specify the estimated number of employees who will be eligible for the first JobKeeper fortnight (30 March – 12 April) and the second JobKeeper fortnight (13 April – 26 April).

 

Note: Step 7 includes a notification that where the entity is a company, trust or partnership that ONE of shareholder, adult beneficiary or partner is nominated to receive the JobKeeper payment

You also need to ensure that employees are only receiving one JobKeeper Payment and casuals who have other permanent employment (full time or part time) are not eligible

 

STEP 2: Application for Payment from 4 May online

Apply for Payment online from 4 May 2020.  See the steps below:

Confirmation of eligible employees you will claim JobKeeper Payment for (available from 4 May 2020 onwards)

You or a registered tax agent can apply for the JobKeeper payment for your eligible employees:

Step 1 – Apply to claim the JobKeeper payment by logging in to the ATO Business PortalExternal Link

Step 2 – Ensure you have paid each eligible employee a minimum of $1,500 per JobKeeper fortnight before tax.

Step 3 – Identify your eligible employees in the application form by

  • selecting employee details that are prefilled from your STP pay reports if you report payroll information through an STP enabled payroll solution, or
  • manually entering employee details in ATO online services or the Business Portal if you do not use an STP enabled payroll solution, or
  • using a registered tax agent who will submit a report on your behalf through Online services for agents.

Step 4 – Submit the confirmation of your eligible employees online and wait for your confirmation email or SMS showing it has been received.

Step 5 – Notify your eligible employees you have nominated them.

Step 6 – We will pay you the JobKeeper payment for all eligible employees after receiving your application.

Step 7 – Each month, you will need to reconfirm that your reported eligible employees have not changed through ATO online services, the Business Portal or via your registered tax agent. This will ensure you will continue to receive the JobKeeper payments from us. You do not need to retest your reported fall in turnover, but you will need to provide some information as to your current and projected turnover. This will be done in your monthly JobKeeper Declaration report.

Step 8 – If your eligible employees change or leave your employment, you will need to notify us through your monthly JobKeeper Declaration report.

If you use the ATO Business Portal, you will need a myGovID linked to your ABN in Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM). You can find out how to set this up at ato.gov.au/mygovid

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact your LBW Business + Wealth Advisors representative