• Covid19 Economic Relief
    Updated 21/04/2020

    COVID 19 ECONOMIC RELIEF

    This document has been compiled from information disseminated by the BCC, QLD Government and Australian Taxation Office of economic relief that they have legislated and are proposing.

    BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL (BCC)

    - Waiving (excluding rates) all charges, rents, levies and permit fees effective immediately for all businesses impacted by Covid 19.
    - This will apply to all businesses and Council leases who will have a range of fees and charges waived for the next three months.
    - BCC will now expand its rates assistance so that it not only applies to owner-occupiers, but also non owner-occupiers and businesses.
    - This assistance will consist of payment plans or deferred payment agreements of up to nine months, no interest will be applied to these outstanding payments. NB All rates accounts will have to   paid when the deferment period of up to 9 months ends. Contact BCC on 133 263.

    QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT

    WORKERS & INDUSTRY
    - Up to $500 million to assist workers who lose their job or income with retraining, job-matching and other help to transition into jobs in the industries that are vital to help QLD through the crisis.
    - For further details go to COVID19ISP@treasury.qld.gov.au
    - $500 rebate on electricity bills for all QLD small and medium sized businesses that consume less than 100,000 kilowatt hours. This will be automatically applied to electricity bills.
    - Liquor license fees waived for businesses that are forced to close down.

    HOUSEHOLDS
    - $200 rebate for all Queensland households to offset the cost of water and electricity, this will be automatically applied.

    PAYROLL TAX RELIEF
    This only applies to businesses with a payroll of $1.3 million to $6.5 million.
    - A two month refund of payroll tax
    - A three month payroll tax holiday
    - Deferral of paying payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year.
    Eligibility:
    If you are an employer who pays $1.3 to $6.5 million in Australian taxable wages and has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 you may be eligible for the above. Please go to the Queensland Treasury web site to find further information, www.treasury.qld.gov.au

    AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

    SUPERANNUATION
    - Temporary early access to superannuation. This will be for those who have been significantly financially affected by Coronavirus.
    - You may be able to access up to $10,000 of your superannuation before 1 July 2020 and a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020.
    - Application is directly through the myGov website www.my.gov.au
    - applications for early access may be made from April 19, 2020.
    - these payments will be tax free
    - these payments will not affect Centrelink or Veteran’s Affairs payments.
    An applicant will need to meet certain criteria:
    - unemployed, OR
    - are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for job seekers, parenting payment, special benefit or farm household allowance, OR
    - on or after 1 January 2020, you were made redundant or had your working hours reduced by 20% or more, OR
    - are a sole trader and your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

    DRAWDOWN REQUIREMENTS
    The Government is temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50% for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years.
    .

    AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

    PAYG INSTALMENT VARIATIONS

    For non salary and wage income from businesses and investments who lodge quarterly PAYG instalment notices. If your income has or will be affected by COVID19, you may vary your PAYG instalment to more accurately represent your income. To do this follow these steps:
    - Estimate non salary and wage income and tax payable on that income
    - T8 enter non salary and wage estimated tax for the year
    - T9 enter varied amount payable for the quarter
    - T4 enter code applicable eg 23 (significant change in trading conditions)
    - 5A enter PAYG income tax instalment
    - 5B enter credit from PAYG tax instalment variation relating to payments for the September and December 2019 quarters. This is the total of the September and December payments less half the estimated tax payable for the year.
    - 9 Payment or refund amount which is either 5A-5B or 5B–5A.
    - You may lodge this either manually or electronically.
    - If you have any queries about this, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    BOOSTING CASH FLOW FOR EMPLOYERS – ATO Google – QC 61775
    - Eligible businesses include sole traders, partnerships, companies and trusts.
    - Eligible entities will be provided a tax free cash flow boost of between $10,000 and $50,000 for the quarters June and September and therefore a minimum of $20,000 and a maximum of $100,000 over the two boosts.  These will be delivered as credits in your activity statements and will generally equal the amount withheld  from wages paid to employees for these quarters.
    Eligibility:
    - Held an ABN on 12 March 2020 and continues to be active
    - Has an aggregated turnover under $50 million (generally based on a prior year turnover), and
    - Made eligible payments you are required to withhold from (even if the amount you need to withhold is zero), such as: salary and wages, directors fees, eligible retirement or termination payments, compensation payments or voluntary withholding from payments to contractors.
    - You have lodged, on or before 12 March 2020, at least one of:
    a) A 2018-19 income tax return showing that you had an amount included in your assessable income in relation to you carrying on a business, or
  • b) An activity statement or GST return for any tax period that started after 1 July 2018 and ended before 12 March 2020 showing that you made a taxable, GST free or input-taxed sale.

    HOW IT WORKS
    - Eligible businesses receive a credit equal to 100% of the withholding tax on their employees’ salary and wages up to a maximum of $50,000.
    - The minimum credit is $10,000 even if the amount withheld is zero, however you will not be eligible to receive any more cash flow boosts until your PAYG withholding exceeds $10,000 over the relevant periods.
    - You do not need to apply for the cash flow boosts. If eligible the boosts will be delivered as credits in the activity statement system from the Government (announced 28 April 2020).

    MONTHLY LODGERS
    - Will receive a credit equal to 300% of the withholding tax on their employees’ salary and wages in the March 2020 activity statement (this is to align them with quarterly lodgers).
    - Credit is available for March, April, May and June 2020 periods.
    - Eligible entities who receive these cash flow boosts will also receive additional cash flow boosts, for the periods June – September of an amount equal to the amount of the initial cash flow boosts received and these will be delivered in four instalments.

    QUARTERLY LODGERS
    - Credit is available for the quarters ended March 2020 and June 2020
    - Eligible entities who receive these cash flow boosts will also receive additional cash flow boosts, for the periods July to September of an amount equal to the amount of the initial cash flow boosts received and these will be delivered in two instalments.

    INCREASING THE INSTANT ASSET WRITE-OFF
    From 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, the instant asset write-off:
    - Threshold will be raised to $150,000 (from $30,000)
    - Covers businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million).

    PAYMENT DEFERRALS (assessed on a case by case basis)
    If you or your business has been affected by COVID-19, the ATO can work with you to defer some payments and vary instalments you have due. These include your income tax, activity statement, PAYG instalments, FBT and excise payment by up to 6 months.
    The ATO will consider remitting interest and penalties incurred after 23 January 2020.
    If having trouble paying your existing and ongoing tax liabilities, contact the ATO, low interest payment plans are available.
    ATO: Individual, sole trader, small or medium business – Emergency Support Infoline – 1800 806 218.

    WORKING FROM HOME DEDUCTION ARRANGEMENT
    In relation to working from home deductions, from 1 March 2020 a new arrangement has been announced by the ATO that will allow people to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for all their running expenses rather than needing to calculate costs for these expenses.
    Multiple people living in the same house can each claim this deduction. The requirement to have a dedicated work area has also been removed. The only record keeping requirement of the ATO for this arrangement is a diary of the number of hours worked from home. This new arrangement does not prohibit people from using their existing method where they calculate all or part of their running expenses.  This method can only be used for the period from 1 March 2020.
    The ATO will review this special arrangement for the next financial year as the COVID19 situation progresses.
    Please visit the ATOwebiste following for further information:
    https://www.ato.gov.au/General/COVID-19/Support-for-individuals-and-employees/Employees-working-from-home/

    FREE CHILDCARE INITIATIVE
    Under this plan, the government will pay 50% of the sector's fee revenue up to the existing hourly cap based on a time prior to parents withdrawing their children from care. This will apply from 6 April 2020 and this means that these services will be able to offer free education and care. Families that have terminiated their enrollments since 17th February 2020 are encouraged to re-enrol their children, this does not mean that you have to send your children to care during this time, it will mean that your place has been held for when things start to normalize and you are ready to send your children back to care.

    DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

    CORONAVIRUS SUPPLEMENT
    On 22 March 2020, a temporary Coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight to new and existing income support recipients from 27 April 2020 for six months was announced. People will receive their usual payment of $550 per fortnight plus the supplement of $550 being a total of $1,100 per fortnight. This is subject to partner income restrictions, see below.

    PARTNER INCOME RESTRICTIONS FOR WELFARE RECIPIENTS EASED
    Over the next six months the Government will ease the restrictions on the partner income threshold from $48,000 to $79,762. Therefore, you will be eligible if your partner earns less than $79,762 per annum.

    SOLE TRADERS, PARTNERSHIPS, TRUSTS AND COMPANIES
    The eligibility has been expanded from 27 April 2020 to include:
    - sole traders and self-employed people. They will be able to meet mutual obligation requirements by continuing to operate their businesses.
    - People caring for someone infected or in isolation as a result of Coronavirus.
    The government will temporarily waive, for certain payments:
    - the assets test
    - the Ordinary Waiting Period (already waived until 12 June 2020)
    - the Liquid Assets Waiting Period
    - the newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period

    For further information on this go the Department of Social Services Website – www.dss.gov.au.

    JOBKEEPER PAYMENT FOR EMPLOYEES
    The Government has passed legislation to support businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus which is defined as a drop of 30% or more relative to a comparable period 1 year ago. These businesses will be able to access a wage subsidy from the Government to help them continue to pay employees. Eligible employees will receive a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight before tax. It will be up to the employer as to whether they pay Superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the JobKeeper Payments,

    ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES
    Eligible employees include Australian Citizens, the holder of permanent visa, Protected Special Category visa holder who has been continually residing in Australia for 10 or more years, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder.

    Full time and part time employees, including stood down employees, would be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment. Casual employees who have been with their employer for at least the previous 12 months will also be eligible.

    Your employer will notify you if they are claiming this payment on your behalf. This payment will start to be issued from 1 May 2020 and will be backdated to 30 March 2020.

    SOLE TRADERS AND SELF EMPLOYED

    Will also be eligible for this payment if their business has had a decrease of 30% or more relative to a comparable period 1 year ago.
    Please see this link for more information on JobKeeper for Sole Traders:
    http://www.ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/Sole-traders-and-other-entities/

    HOW TO WORK OUT YOUR FALL IN TURNOVER
    To work out your fall in turnover,you compare either:
    - GST turnover for March 2020 with GST turnover for March 2019, or
    - projected GST turnover for April 2020 with GST turnover for April 2019, or
    -projected GST turnover for the quarter starting April 2020 with the GST turn over for the quarter starting April 2019.
    The Commissioner of Taxation has the discretion to set out alternative tests that can establish your eligibility when the turnover periods are not appropriately comparable eg your business has been in operation for less than a year.
    MONTHLY DECLARATION
    -Each month you must reconfirm your reported eligibly employees and eligible business participants through the Business Portal or via your registered tax or BAS agent.
    -If your eligible employees change or leave your employment, you will need to notify us through this monthly declaration.
    -You must also provide information as to your current and projected GST turnover.This is not a retest of your eligiblilty, but rather an indication of how your business is progressing under the JobKeeper Payment scheme.
    TO REGISTER YOUR INTEREST IN THE JOBKEEPER PAYMENT, go to link below:
    https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/?=redirected_JobKeeper

    Once you have registered your interest you will be sent updates on the Jobkeeper payment.

    TWO ECONOMIC SUPPORT PAYMENTS
    On 12 March 2020, the government announced that it would provide an Economic Support Payment of approx. $750 to Social Security and Veterans’ income support recipients, FHA recipients, FTB recipients and holders of a Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or Commonwealth Gold Card who were eligible on 12 March 2020 (extended to 13 April 2020 on 22 March 2020). A second payment of $750 will be made to people eligible in the first round as long as they DID NOT receive the Coronavirus supplement (see above) with their first payment. There is an extensive list of eligible recipients on the DSS website.

    COMMERCIAL TENANTS RENT RELIEF PACKAGE
    On 7 April 2020, the Government announced new rental waivers and deferrals for commercial tenants that have been substantially affected by COVID19 ie a 30% or greater reduction in turnover and who are eligible for the JobKeeper subsidy.  Eligible tenants must also have a turnover of $50 million or less.  Under this scheme, landlords will have to reduce lease payments proportionate to the reduction in the tenant's business turnover.  Of this proportionate reduction at least 50% must be in waivers and the remaining 50% may be in deferrals. Payment of the deferrals must be paid back over the remaining period of the lease however not less than 24 months. If there is less  than 24 months remaining on the lease, the tenant must be given at least 24 months to make up this rent. There has also been a previous announcement of a 6 month moratorium on eviciton of commercial tennats.  Scott Morrison stated "Landlords must not terminate the lease, and tenants must honour the lease."
    These arrangements will be overseen by binding mediation and a mandatory code will be rolled out in each state and territory.

    OTHER
    BANKS

    Most banks are offering a pause of up to 6 months in repayments toboth home owners and businesses affected by COV19. Please be aware that this pause of the repayments will need tobe caught up over the term of the loan which will result in an increase in repayments. Interest will also continue to accure over the 6 month period. Please contact your lender in relation to their offers.

    TELCOS
    Some telcos are offering deals on free or increased data, and contact your telco to see if they are offering any deals.


    CONTACT INFORMATION:

    MYGOV
    - Website – www.my.gov.au

    BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL
    - 133 263
    - Website – www.brisbane.qld.gov.au

    QUEENSLAND TREASURY
    - Queensland Treasury – COVID19ISP@treasury.qld.gov.au
    - Economic relief - https://www.treasury.qld.gov.au/programs-and-policies/covid19-package/
    - Web site – www.treasury.qld,gov.au
    - 1300 300 734

    DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES
    - 1300 65377
    - Web site - www.dss.gov.au
    - Department of Social Services ‘Coronavirus (COVID19) information and support – Ctrl+Click on following link:
    https://www.dss.gov.au/about-the-department/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-support

    AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE
    - Emergency Support Infoline – 1800 806 218
    - web site – www.ato.gov.au
    - Australian Taxation Office – ‘The Australian Governments economic response to Coronavirus – Ctrl+click on following link:
    https://www.ato.gov.au/General/New-legislation/The-Australian-Government-s-Economic-Response-to-Coronavirus/