Things are moving fast in this new COVID-19 world. We want to do our bit and help you stay informed, so please bookmark this page where we will be bringing together information relevant to the property industry as it happens.
The information in this blog post is current as at 12:30pm on 15 May 2020. However, it is intended as a guide only. Please make sure you stay informed as this event continues to unfold.
[13 May] In Western Australia, the City of Stirling has announced a $43.7 million package, $7 million of which has been allocated to its Business and Activation Package. That package includes measures for rent abatement, business counselling, a mastermind program and partnership opportunities. You can read more about that here.
[12 May] The New South Wales Government has announced two stages of payroll tax relief for businesses as part of its economic stimulus package to support jobs and businesses. Those with $10 million or less in wages for the 2019/20 financial will have their annual tax liability reduced by 25% . Those business will also receive another three month deferral on payroll tax, bringing the total deferral to six months. Business with more than $10 million in wages for that period now have the option of deferring payroll tax for six months. You can read more about those options here.
[9 May] The Queensland government has doubled its funding for the 12-month interest free loans available to eligible businesses under the COVID-19 Jobs Support Loan scheme — taking the total funding from $500 million to $1 billion. The additional funding has been allocated for those businesses that have already submitted their application for assistance.
[24 April] The South Australia government announced it will provide full rent relief for tenants of commercial, retail, industrial and other non-residential sites. The relief will apply from the date of closure (or significant impact) until 30 June 2020.
[20 April] The NSW government has announced it will inject more than $14 million into the Business Connect program, to assist small and medium enterprises become sustainable and increase business confidence. Finance, digital and innovation specialists and more are available to help you devise a new marketing strategy or consider new technology to increase your team’s efficiency, for example. Find out more here.
[8 April] The Northern Territory government announced a payroll tax waiver for small and medium business, with a total payroll below $7.5 million. Larger businesses will receive a deferral for six months. Note that turnover has to have dropped by at least 30 per cent.
[7 April] The Tasmania government announced that small businesses suffering significant hardship may be able to access one-off grants of $15,000. Information about the Small Business Hardship Grant is available here. The Small Business Emergency Support Grant has also been extended to provide $2,500 to eligible small businesses that did not receive funding in the first round.
[3 April] The NSW government has announced a third wave of support measures, the most significant of which is the Small Business Support Fund. Through this fund, eligible small businesses will receive grants of up to $10,000. Eligibility criteria includes a 75% decline in turnover. Applications are open until 1 June.
[31 March] The Western Australia government has announced that small businesses that use less than 50MWh per annum will receive $2,500 in credit on electricity bills. Also, payroll tax will be waived for four months for businesses with annual wages under $7.5 million.
[30 March] Today, the Federal Government announced the $130 billion JobKeeper Payment—a huge move to shore up economic certainty across the country. In a nutshell, it’s a fortnightly $1,500 per employee wage subsidy for those business who have been most impacted. Hopefully, it will save many from having to make the difficult decision to lay staff off, or significantly reduce their wages.
- Employers with a turnover of less than $1 billion will be eligible if their turnover has been reduced by more than 30%
- Employers with a turnover of $1 billion or more will be eligible if their turnover will be reduced by more than 50%
- the Federal Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight, per employee for up to 6 months
If you believe your business will be eligible, you need to make an application to the ATO. Business will be able to register from 30 March 2020, and those eligible business will receive the first payments in the first week of May. You can register for updates on the ATO’s website. The payments will continue until 27 September 2020.
[26 March] The NSW government has announced a second round of economic stimulus measures to help businesses. It includes the creation of a $1 Working for NSW fund to sustain business, among other things. This new package extends the payroll deferral to those business with payrolls of $10 million or less for an additional three months (so, six months in total). Those with payrolls of over $10 million dollars are also able to defer payroll tax for six months.
What the Australian stimulus packages mean for businesses:
To sum up:
- Massive instant asset write-offs have been introduced, effective immediately, which effectively allow you to write off assets up to $150,000 with an immediate tax deduction (rather than depreciating over time). If you need new cars, computers and tech equipment, fit-out, office furniture, or TVs, now could be the best time to act. The assets need to be purchased and in use by June 30 2020.
- The Government is also introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive, which will give businesses a 50 per cent deduction on the cost of eligible assets.
- Eligible small and medium businesses with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million, that have employees, can access grants of up to $50,000. Businesses will now also receive the grants twice, meaning businesses could be eligible to receive up to $100,000. (This is an increase to the $25,000 grant announced in the government’s first stimulus package). You can read the government’s fact sheet for more information.
- If you’re a sole trader or your turnover has been reduced by at least 20%, you could consider withdrawing $10,000 of your superannuation this financial year and another $10,000 next financial year to use as an emergency cash injection. Of course, this option is subject to hardship criteria and specific fund terms and conditions (and when making decisions on Super, you should seek financial advice to explore the best possible option for you.)
- Additionally, employees who have lost income may access supplementary payments for the next six months of $550 to $1100 a fortnight upwards with no waiting period. Importantly, you will not be asset tested. The demand in the first few hours has been so big that the MyGov website crashed.
For more information about the different types of support available, visit the government’s Coronavirus information and support for business website.
In addition, on 19 March the Reserve Bank of Australia announced a $90 billion three-year funding facility to help banks continue to lend to businesses—who in turn will spend and invest, and keep workers in jobs.
Each state government has also put new measures into place.
The Queensland Government announced an Immediate Industry Recovery Package on 24 March.
To sum up:
- This package overhauls the original payroll tax relief measure, announced on 2 March. Instead, two months’ worth of payroll tax will be immediately refunded to small and medium businesses and the next three months’ worth of payroll tax will be waived. Larger businesses (those with a payroll over $6.5 million) affected by COVID-19 will also be eligible for the two-month payroll tax refund and have their deferral extended for all of 2020.
- This means no Queensland business impacted by COVID-19 will have to make a payroll tax payment this year. Hundreds of businesses have already taken up this initial offer, and we encourage you to apply as soon as possible (noting that the refund application must be lodged before 31 May 2020).
- Small and medium businesses that consume less than 100,000 kilowatt hours will receive $500 an automatic rebate on electricity bills.
- A $500 million loan facility will be created to support businesses. Loans will be capped at $250,000, with an initial 12-month interest free period for businesses to retain staff. Applications for the scheme closed on 18 April.
- There will be some assistance for large businesses to “ensure they will be able to scale up and service the community when economic activity improves.” However, limited information is currently available and those interested are encouraged to email COVID19ISP@treasury.qld.gov.au for more details.
On 16 March, the Western Australia Government announced its own economic stimulus package, which includes an automatic one-off $17,500 grant to payroll tax-paying businesses with a payroll between $1 to 4 million.
New South Wales
It’s a similar story in New South Wales, where $450 million of the $2.3 billion coronavirus stimulus package announced on 17 March has been allocated to waive payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months. This package also brings forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million for the 2020-21 financial year.
On 21 March, The Victorian Government announced an economic survival and jobs package providing full payroll tax refunds for the current financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million. Payroll tax will also be deferred for the first three months of next financial year, for eligible small businesses.
A Business Support Fund has been set up to provide eligible small businesses was grants of $10,000. More information about eligibility and how to apply can be found here.
The City of Melbourne has also announced its own economic stimulus package, however agencies are unlikely to be eligible for any relief under those measures.
In the Northern Territory, the state government announced on 18 March that eligible businesses will also receive a $10,000 grant for upgrades, and another $10,000 if they contribute $10,000 of their own money. The Territory Labor Government also announced a $50 million Small Business Survival Fund on 23 March. Eligibility criteria and information about how to apply can be found here. Real estate business are not specifically listed, however applications will be considered on a case by case basis.
In Tasmania, small businesses (with turnovers less than $10 million) can access up to $40 million via the Small Business Interest Free Loan Scheme. Small businesses will also have their electricity bills waived for the quarter, from April.
The South Australian Government has injected an extra $650 million into its stimulus measures, taking the total package to take $1 billion. The package includes the establishment of the Business and Jobs Support Fund, which will be support affected individual businesses and industry sectors. Details of the package are not yet available so please continue to check the government’s webpage for updates.
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT Government announced a stimulus package on 20 March, which includes payroll tax deferral for eligible businesses. More information is available at the ACT’s Economic Survival Package website.
Business could be eligible to receive:
- $2,622 credit for commercial rates bills.
- A one-off $750 rebate to small businesses (reflected in the next electricity bill).
- payroll deferral. Businesses that pay up to $10 million in wages will be able to defer payroll tax for 12 months. Other affected industries will receive a one-off six-month waiver on payroll tax.
Please note that the above only outlines the current relief available for businesses. You, your family and friends may also be entitled to personal and/or household assistance, and we encourage you to check your local state government website.
Australian business impacted by COVID-19 can call the Government helpline: 13 28 46.