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An update on COVID-19

This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

A guide to the Government’s economic response to the Coronavirus

Looking after your business

Much of what is happening around the Coronavirus may feel uncertain. Here is a summary of the Australian Government’s economic response, the areas that have been targeted by the various stimulus packages, and some key resources to check for further information.

JobKeeper payment

Support for businesses

Supporting the flow of credit

Supporting individuals and households

Important resources

JobKeeper Payment

Jobkeeper wage subsidy

What: A “JobKeeper” wage subsidy to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus.

Eligibility:

Employees:

  • The payment will apply to full-time, part-time and casual workers, as well as sole traders.
  • Casual workers must have been with their employers for 12 months or more.
  • Employees must be on the books as at 1 March (they may have since been fired but can be reinstated)

Employers

  • Businesses with turnover under $1 billion, if they have taken a 30% revenue decrease.
  • Businesses with turnover over $1 billion, if they have taken a 50% revenue decrease.
  • The business is not subject to the Major Bank levy.
    How much: Eligible businesses will receive a flat payment equal to $1,500 per employee per fortnight for up to 6 months.

How:
1. Register your interest with the ATO
2. Administered via tax / single touch payroll (STP)system
3. If your business does not have STP, speak to your accountant

When: 1 May 2020, backdated to 1 March 2020.

Fact sheets:
Supporting businesses to retain jobs
Information for Employers
Information for Employees

Support for businesses

1.
Boosting cash flow for employers

What: Cash flow support to businesses and not-for-profits so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.

Eligibility: Businesses with turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020.

  • Eligible employers that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary and wages will receive a payment equal to 100% of the amount withheld, up to a maximum payment of $50,000.
  • Eligible employers that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $10,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax.
  • Eligible entities will also receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments they have received.

How much: Eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000 under both payments.

How: Payments to be delivered by the ATO as an automatic credit within 14 days.

When: 28 April 2020, additional payments from 21 July 2020 to October.

Fact sheet: Cash flow assistance for business

2.
Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

What: To help businesses get through a temporary period of insolvency, by temporarily providing higher thresholds and more time to respond to demands from creditors and providing temporary relief from directors’ personal insolvent trading liability.

How: ATO

Fact sheet: Providing temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

3.
Increasing the instant asset write-off

What: Lifts the threshold to $150,000 (from $30,000), and makes more businesses eligible to claim deductions for company asset, vehicle and equipment purchases.

Eligibility: Businesses with aggregate annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) per year.

When: Immediately until 30 June

Fact sheet: Delivering support for business investment

4.
Backing business investment

What: Offers businesses a time-limited, 15-month investment incentive by accelerating depreciation deductions, allowing businesses to deduct an additional 50% of the asset cost in the year of purchase. Designed to support businesses sticking with planned investments, encouraging them to bring investments forward to support short-term economic growth.

Eligibility: Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million

When: Immediately through 30 June 2021

Fact sheet: Delivering support for business investment

5.
Supporting apprentices and trainees

What: Wage assistance to help small businesses to keep their apprentices and trainees.

Eligibility: Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of the apprentice or trainee’s wage for up to 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. The subsidy will be available to small businesses employing fewer than 20 full-time employees who retain an apprentice or trainee. The apprentice or trainee must have been in training with a small business as at 1 March 2020.

How much: Up to a maximum $21,000 per eligible apprentice ($7,000 per quarter)

How: Paid directly to companies after assessment by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider

When: early April

Fact sheet: Cash flow assistance for business

6.
Severely affected regions/sectors

What: Financial support to help regions and communities most affected by the Coronavirus to recover. The stimulus includes ATO Administrative Relief for obligations on a case-by-case basis. Also provides initial support to Australian airline industry and airports up to $715 million of relief from a range of taxes and Government charges (from 1 February to 30 September).

Eligibility: Affected communities and industries including tourism, agriculture and education. Waiver of fees and charges for tourism businesses operating in Great Barrier Reef National Park and Commonwealth National Parks

When: As soon as practicable

Fact sheet: Assistance for severely affected regions and sectors

Supporting flow of credit

1. Support for immediate cash flow needs for SMEs

What: To establish a loan guarantee arrangement between the Government and participating banks to cover the immediate cash flow needs of SMEs. The Commonwealth will guarantee 50% of an eligible loan to small business impacted by the virus.

Eligibility: Banks, non-bank lenders, SMEs with less than $50 million turnover per year, must be new or existing customers, no refinancing of existing customers.

Loan Terms: Up to 3 years and granted within the next 6 months, starting 1 April 2020, repayment-free for 6 months. Unsecured, for working capital.

How much: Up to $250,000

When: Early April and available for new loans until 30 September

Fact sheet: Supporting the flow of credit

2. Quick and efficient access to credit for small business

What: Temporary exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders.

3. RBA – supporting the flow and reducing the cost of credit

What: A term funding facility for the banking system where Banks will have access to at least $90 billion in funding at a fixed interest rate of 0.25% to support households and businesses. A further easing in the cash rate to 0.25% is meant to encourage additional lending.

4. Support for non-ADI and smaller ADI lenders in the securitisation market

What: Provides the Australian Office of Financial Management with an investment capacity of $15 billion to invest in structured finance markets used by smaller lenders and non-ADIs.

5. APRA – ensuring banks are well placed to lend

What: The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority has made temporary changes to its expectations regarding bank capital ratios. The changes will support banks’ lending to customers, particularly if they wish to take advantage of the new facility being offered by the RBA.

Support for individuals and households

1. Additional child care subsidy

What: A short-term Government payment to help families experiencing significant financial stress with the cost of child care.

Eligibility: Available to families who are eligible for the Child Care Subsidy, and where someone is experiencing temporary financial hardship due to:

  • Death of a partner, or child;
  • Unexpected loss of employment, income of the individual or a partner;
  • Adversely affected by extreme circumstances or domestic violence.

How much: Entitled to receive up to 100 hours of subsidised childcare per fortnight. The subsidy will be equal to the fee charged by the child care service, up to 120% of the Child Care Subsidy hourly rate cap, whichever is lower.

How: Through Centrelink

When: Apply within six months of the date of the hardship event.

Fact sheet: Additional Child Care Subsidy

2. Income support for individuals

What: Coronavirus supplement payment and income support of $550 per fortnight

Eligibility: Both existing and new recipients of Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

When: Over six months, starting on 27 April 2020

Fact sheet: Income support for individuals

3. Payments to support households

What: Two separate tax-free $750 cash payments that will not count as income to help support confidence and domestic demand in the economy.

Eligibility: Pensioners, students, working-age welfare and social security recipients, parents, veterans and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders

When:

  1. First payment: from 31 March 2020
  2. Second payment: from 13 July 2020 (individuals also eligible for the Coronavirus supplement payment do not qualify for this second payment)

Fact sheet: Payments to support households

4. Temporary early release of superannuation

What: Individuals and sole traders, can access up to $20,000 in super tax-free.

Eligibility:

  • You are unemployed; or
  • You are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance;

Or

  • On or after 1 January 2020:
    – you were made redundant; or
    – your working hours were reduced by 20% or more; or
    – if you are a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

How much:
$10,000 in 2019-2020
$10,000 in 2020-2021
How: Applications through the ATO via www.my.gov.au

Fact sheet: Early access to superannuation

5. Temporary reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates

What: Reduces the need for account-based pensions to sell investment assets to fund minimum superannuation drawdown requirements by 50% for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years.

Eligibility: Retirees with account-based pensions

Fact sheet: Support for retirees

6. Reducing social security deeming rates

What: Lowers the social security deeming rates by 0.75% in response to the low interest rate environment.

Eligibility: Income support recipients, age pensioners

Fact sheet: Support for retirees

Important resources

Australian Government’s Economic Response:
Visit the Treasury website

Treasury’s Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit: Visit the Treasury website

Government’s specific measures for businesses:
Visit the Government’s Business website

Australian Taxation Office:
Visit the ATO website

The latest Government updates, news and response:
Visit the Government’s website

The latest health information: 
Visit the Department of Health website

Updates from the Prime Minister: 
Prime Minister of Australia website

Find out more

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