Available Grants September 2020

Available Grants September 2020

Available Grants September 2020

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Upcoming Grants

The following grants are available to eligible businesses affected by the July 2020 lockdown.

The full details on eligibility & funding are still to be announced.

Licensed Hospitality Business

Funding Available: up to $30,000 depending on location and capacity.

The grant will be available to licensed pubs, clubs, hotels, bars, restaurants and reception centres.

Eligible businesses will also get their liquor license fees waived until 2021.

Outdoor Hospitality Support

Funding Available: $5,000 to adapt outdoor dining spaces and entertainment areas such as the purchase of umbrellas, furniture etc.

The grant will be available to Restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs

Sole Trader Support Fund

Funding Available: $3,000 to sole traders who operate from a commercial premises or location where they are the tenant or licensee.

The grant will be available to businesses such as, retail, accommodation and food services, creative and media, hairdressing, gyms, events, education and training.

Victoria – Round 3 Business Support Fund Grants

Opening date: 18th September 2020

The Victorian Government has announced the third round of the Business Support Fund Grants.

Businesses in Victoria can access grants between $10,000 to $20,000 based on their annual payroll and the following criteria:

To be eligible you must meet the below criteria:

  • be a participant in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme
  • employ people
  • be registered with WorkSafe on 30 June 2020
  • have an annual payroll of less than $10 million in 2019-20
  • be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) as at 30 June 2020
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at 30 June 2020
  • be registered with the responsible federal or state regulator.

Available Funding;

The amount of the grant is dependent on your annual payroll as follows:

  • $10,000 for annual payroll less than $650,000
  • $15,000 for annual payroll between $650,000 to $3 million
  • $20,000 for annual payroll between $3 million to $10 million

Please contact us for further information.

Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund – VIC Only

The Victorian Government is offering grants of up to $3,000 per tenancy to eligible small private, individual and joint-owner landlords, who are facing financial hardship after reducing rent for their tenants.

Each grant amount will be equal to the amount of the rent waiver provided to the tenant, up to $3,000 per eligible tenancy

This fund will be open for applications from 21 August 2020 for eight weeks or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.

Grant Opening Date: 21 August 2020

Grant Closing Date: Eight weeks from opening or until funds are exhausted

Landlords can apply if they meet all the criteria.

  • The applicant must have total taxable landholding of less than $1 million as shown by the 2020 State Revenue Office Land Tax Assessment.
  • The applicant must be a private individual (i.e. a person) or joint landlords who are private individuals (i.e. not ownership through Self-Managed Superannuation Fund, Trust or any other incorporated entity).
  • The applicant is a landlord (or are landlords) to one or more properties where a tenant is eligible for Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme CTRS in Victoria.
  • The applicant has provided rent relief to the tenant in accordance with the current regulations (and as evidenced in the current lease agreement) that must be at least 30 percent of total rent payable, of which at least 50 percent of the rent relief is in the form of a waiver for the equivalent of a minimum three-month period: before the date of commencement of this Fund; or after the date of the commencement of this Fund.
  • The applicant must be in financial hardship, or about to be in financial hardship, due to reducing rent for the relevant CTRS-eligible tenant.

Further Reductions to Land Tax

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Victorian Government has announced further land tax relief for landlords until 31 December 2020, in line with their extension to the commercial and residential tenancy relief scheme. 

  • Landlords of residential and commercial properties who provide a 50% or more outright rent waiver of at least 3 months’ rent to eligible tenants can claim a 50% waiver of the property’s 2020 land tax and defer the remaining tax payment to 31 March 2021.
  • Owner-occupiers of commercial properties can obtain a 25% waiver of the property’s 2020 land tax and defer the remaining tax payment to 31 March 2021, if their business meets either of the following conditions;
  1. For a licensed pub, club or restaurant who has a general, full club or on-premises liquor licence:
      • The annual turnover of the premises was no greater than $50 million in either the 2018-19 or 2019-20 financial year, and
      • The premises turnover has reduced by at least 30% since March 2020.
  1. For all other businesses:
      • Annual aggregated turnover was no greater than $50 million in either the 2018-19 or 2019-20 financial year, and
      • They are eligible for and participating in, the JobKeeper Payment scheme.

Southern Border Small Business Support Grant – NSW Only

The NSW Goverment has released a grant to assist those affected by the COVID-19 restrictions.

The grant can be used to meet unavoidable operating expenses, including utilities, salaries and rent, seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business, developing the business through marketing and communications activities or other supporting activities relating to the operation of the business.

Grant Opening Date:  8th September 2020

Grant Closing Date:    18th October 2020

The grant is available in Two tiers

First Tier – $5,000.00

Criteria

  • Small Businesses suffered at least 30% decline in turnover since 8th July due to border closure.
  • Decline Test: a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent since 8 July 2020 compared to a period of at least two weeks between 30 March 2020 – 7 July 2020 inclusive.
  • Gross wages for 2019/20 financial year needs to be below $900,000
  • Annual Turnover needs to be more than $75,000

Tier 2 – $10,000

Criteria

  • Small Businesses suffered at least 75% decline in turnover since 8th July due to border closure.
  • Decline Test: a decline in turnover of at least 75 per cent since 8 July 2020 compared to a period of at least two weeks between 30 March 2020 – 7 July 2020 inclusive.
  • Gross wages for 2019/20 financial year needs to be below $900,000
  • Annual Turnover needs to be more than $75,000
  • Business should have less than 20 FTE staff

Apply for a Grant or looking more information?

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September Practice Update

September Practice Update

Practice Update – September 2020 Edition

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Superannuation Guarantee Rate Increase Update

Recently, arguments both for and against increasing the rate of compulsory superannuation guarantee (‘SG’) have continued to be tossed around!

The SG is the compulsory amount of superannuation an employer must pay into an eligible employee’s chosen super fund.

The rate of SG has been frozen at 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary wages since July 2014, but from 1 July 2021 it is due to incrementally increase (by 0.5% each financial year) until it ultimately reaches 12% in July 2025

As a result, the superannuation guarantee rate is currently set to increase to 10% from 1 July 2021.

Editor: At this stage, despite a lot of political rhetoric and media coverage, no change has been announced to change these set plans.


Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty Ends 7 September 2020

Speaking of the superannuation guarantee, time is rapidly running out for employers to apply for the SG amnesty and catch up on past unpaid super without incurring a penalty.

The ATO encourages employers to apply for the amnesty and make payments as early as they can. 

Importantly, eligible amnesty amounts paid by 7 September 2020 are tax deductible!

The ATO must receive amnesty applications by 11:59 pm (local time) on 7 September 2020

Broadly, to be eligible for the amnesty:

  • the unpaid super must be for a quarter between 1 July 1992 and 31 March 2018;
  • the shortfall cannot have already been disclosed to the ATO; and
  • the ATO cannot already be examining the shortfall.

If an employer cannot pay in full, the ATO will work with them to set up a flexible payment plan.

Superannuation guarantee payments and PRNs

Applicants will need their payment reference number (‘PRN’) to make SG amnesty payments. 

The ATO has been sending employers their PRN within 14 business days of receiving their application, however, if an amnesty application has not been lodged by mid-August, they can get their PRN:

  • from a super guarantee charge related statement issued for the same Australian Business Number; or
  • by phoning the ATO on 1800 815 886 between 8.00am and 6.00pm from Monday to Friday.

Editor: If you wish to discuss the implications of the SG amnesty and any related payment plans (or indeed anything else with respect to SG obligations and liabilities) please contact our office to discuss.

Ref: SG amnesty ends 7 September 2020, ATO website, August 3 2020

JobKeeper 2.0 – Tweaks To The ‘Decline in Turnover’ Tests

On 21 July 2020, the Government announced that the JobKeeper Payment (‘JKP’) would be extended until 28 March 2021 (i.e., for a further six months beyond its original end date of 27 September 2020). 

As a result, JKPs will now be made over two separate extension periods, being:

  • Extension period 1 – which covers the seven new JobKeeper fortnights that commence on 28 September 2020 and end on 3 January 2021; and
  • Extension period 2 – which covers the six new JobKeeper fortnights that commence on 4 January 2021 and end on 28 March 2021.

Furthermore, on 7 August 2020, the Government announced adjustments to JobKeeper 2.0 to expand the eligibility criteria for JKP, primarily in the wake of the tougher COVID-19 restrictions recently imposed in Victoria. 

These adjustments will apply nationwide, and the crucial amendments include adjustments to the proposed new ‘Decline in Turnover’ tests applicable from 28 September 2020.

More specifically, to qualify for the JKP in the two new extension periods (outlined above), businesses will now only have to demonstrate that their actual GST turnovers have decreased (in accordance with the applicable rates) in the previous quarter.

For these purposes, the applicable rate of decline in turnover required to qualify for the JKP is determined in accordance with the existing rules (e.g., 30% for entities with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less). 

Specifically, to be eligible for the JKP Extension Period 1 (i.e., from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021), businesses only need to demonstrate an applicable decline in turnover in the September 2020 quarter.

This differs from the previously announced JobKeeper 2.0, where they would have been required to show that they had suffered an applicable decline in turnover in both the June and September 2020 quarters.

To be eligible for the JKP Extension Period 2 (i.e., from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021) businesses only need to demonstrate an applicable decline in turnover in the December 2020 quarter.

Whereas under the previously announced JobKeeper 2.0, they would have been required to show that they had suffered an applicable decline in turnover in each of the June, September and December 2020 quarters.

Importantly, the dual payment rate system originally proposed in JobKeeper 2.0 will remain, with the full rate of payment decreasing from $1,500 to $1,200 per fortnight from 28 September 2020 and then to $1,000 per fortnight from 4 January 2021. 

The proposed reduced rates (being $750 from 28 September 2020 and $600 from 4 January 2021) will also remain for employees and business participants who worked fewer than 20 hours per week in the relevant period.

Ref: Extension of the JobKeeper Payment, Treasury fact sheet, 7 August 2020

Expanded Eligible Employee Definition For JobKeeper

Additional recently implemented JobKeeper changes mean more employees will qualify for JobKeeper payments from 3 August 2020.

This is primarily because:

  • the eligible employee test has been extended from 3 August 2020 to include eligible employees who were employed on 1 July 2020 (in addition to the original 1 March 2020 employment date) who are not currently nominated for the JKP by another entity; and
  • from the fortnights commencing on 3 August 2020 and 17 August 2020 (i.e., JobKeeper fortnights 10 and 11) employers will have had until 31 August 2020 to meet the ‘wage condition’ for all new eligible employees included in the JobKeeper scheme under the 1 July eligibility test.

Importantly, as a result of these recent tweaks to the JobKeeper scheme, participating employers should have provided any new eligible employees with an employee nomination form.

The onus is on employers to ensure all of their employees now eligible for JKPs as a result of the new 1 July test are given the opportunity to be included.

Ref: More employees now able to access JobKeeper, ATO media release, 19 August 2020.

Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information’s applicability to their particular circumstances.

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Extension To The JobKeeper Program

Extension To The JobKeeper Program

Extension To The JobKeeper Program

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Under the new rules commencing on the 3rd of August 2020, the definition of eligible employees was expanded to include the following:

Eligible Employees

To meet the 1 July test you must satisfy all of the following on 1 July 2020:

You were employed by the eligible employer (or another entity in their wholly owned group), either as a;

  • Non-casual employee (whether full-time, part-time or fixed term)
  • Long-term casual employee (employed on a regular and systematic basis during the 12 month period that ended 1 July) and you were not a permanent employee of any other employer.

Therefore if the employer has employees who fit within this definition, they must offer the JobKeeper payment to these employees. It’s not an option to leave them out.

Nomination forms will need to be signed and returned by the employees and top-up payments, if applicable, need to be paid by the 31st August 2020.

For more information visit; https://www.ato.gov.au/general/JobKeeper-Payment/ 

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Extension to Home Builder Renovation Grant

Extension to Home Builder Renovation Grant

Extension to Home Builder Renovation Grant

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On 4 June 2020, the Australian Government announced HomeBuilder to provide eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home, substantially renovate an existing home or buy an off-the-plan home/new home.

While the eligible contract must be signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020 (inclusive), construction need not commence prior to 31 December 2020. However, it must commence within three months of the contract date and construction cannot have commenced before 4 June 2020.

Three month extension for constuction commencement in Victoria

In light of the introduction of Stage 4 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne (effective from 2 August 2020) and Stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria (effective from 5 August 2020), the Commissioner of State Revenue will exercise his discretion under the National Partnership Agreement to provide a blanket extension of 3 months to the construction commencement requirement for the HomeBuilder Grant.

This means that all applicants for the HomeBuilder Grant in Victoria have 6 months from the signing of the eligible HomeBuilder contract, to commence construction. The Commissioner does not have discretion to grant any extensions beyond this additional 3 month extension.

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August Practice Update

August Practice Update

Practice Update – August 2020 Edition

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Extension of the JobKeeper Payment

Sadly, many Australian businesses are a long way from trending back to ‘normal’ as we approach 27 September 2020, the original date that JobKeeper was set to end.  Thankfully the government has announced an extension of the JobKeeper Payment, with additional turnover qualifications.

The JobKeeper Payment, which was originally due to run until 27 September 2020, will now continue to be available to eligible businesses (including the self-employed) and not-for-profits until 28 March 2021.

The payment rate of $1,500 per fortnight for eligible employees and business participants will be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight from 28 September 2020 and to $1,000 per fortnight from 4 January 2021.  From 28 September 2020, lower payment rates will also apply for employees and eligible business participants that worked fewer than 20 hours per week.

From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits seeking to claim the JobKeeper Payment will be required to demonstrate that they have suffered an ongoing significant decline in turnover using actual GST turnover (rather than projected GST turnover).  Businesses and not-for-profits will be required to reassess their eligibility with reference to their actual GST turnover in the June and September 2020 quarters.  They will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test in both of those quarters to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021.

From 4 January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will need to further reassess their turnover to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment. They will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test with reference to their actual GST turnover in each of the June, September and December 2020 quarters to remain eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.

To be eligible for JobKeeper Payments under the extension, businesses and not-for-profits will still need to demonstrate that they have experienced a decline in turnover of at least:

  • 50 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion;
  • 30 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less;
  • 15 per cent for Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission-registered charities (excluding schools and universities).

If a business or not-for-profit does not meet the additional turnover tests for the extension period, this does not affect their eligibility prior to 28 September 2020.

The JobKeeper Payment will continue to remain open to new recipients, provided they meet the existing eligibility requirements and the additional turnover tests during the extension period.


The extended JobKeeper Payment rates

From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, the JobKeeper Payment rates will be:

  • $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working in the business or not-for-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average, and for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
  • $750 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.

From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the JobKeeper Payment rates will be:

  • $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working in the business or not-for-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average and for business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
  • $650 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.

Businesses and not-for-profits will be required to nominate which payment rate they are claiming for each of their eligible employees (or business participants).

The JobKeeper Payment will continue to be made by the ATO to employers in arrears.  Employers will continue to be required to make payments to employees equal to, or greater than, the amount of the JobKeeper Payment (before tax), based on the payment rate that applies to each employee. This is referred to as the wage condition.

The eligibility rules for employees remain unchanged.

Additional new turnover tests

In order to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment after 27 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits will have to meet a further decline in turnover test for each of the two periods of extension, as well as meeting the other existing eligibility requirements for the JobKeeper Payment.  In order to be eligible for the first JobKeeper Payment extension period of 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has significantly fallen in the both the June quarter 2020 (April, May and June) and the September quarter 2020 (July, August, September) relative to comparable periods (generally the corresponding quarters in 2019).

In order to be eligible for the second JobKeeper Payment extension period of 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will again need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has significantly fallen in each of the June, September and December 2020 quarters relative to comparable periods (generally the corresponding quarters in 2019).

Businesses and not-for-profits will generally be able to assess eligibility based on details reported in the Business Activity Statement (BAS).  

Editor:  Please contact our office if you wish to discuss your business’ eligibility for JobKeeper payments.

80 cents per hour ‘shortcut’ method for home office expenses has been extended

Back in April 2020 the ATO announced that a ‘shortcut’ method was to be made available to use from 1 March 2020 until 30 June 2020 for individuals claiming home office expenses due to COVID-19.   The ATO has recently announced an extension of this shortcut method to also include 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020.

In summary, a taxpayer can claim a deduction of 80 cents for each hour they work from home due to COVID-19 as long as the individual is:

  • Working from home to fulfil their employment duties and not just carrying out minimal tasks such as occasionally checking emails or taking calls; and
  • Incurring additional deductible running expenses as a result of working from home.

A taxpayer does not have to have a separate or dedicated area of their home set aside for working, such as a private study.

The shortcut method rate covers all deductible running expenses such as: electricity and gas  used for heating/cooling and running electronic items used for work purposes; depreciation and repair of assets used for work purposes; work-related phone and internet costs.

Editor:  If you are working from home due to COVID-19 and have queries about what deductions you can claim, contact our office.

Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information’s applicability to their particular circumstances.

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Notify WorkSafe of COVID-19 Cases

Notify WorkSafe of COVID-19 Cases

Employers must notify WorkSafe of COVID-19 cases

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Employers are now required to notify WorkSafe immediately when they become aware a worker has received a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

The new Regulations, made under the Occupational Health & Safety Act that require employers and self-employed persons, with a management or control of a workplace to notify WorkSafe immediately after becoming aware that:

  • An employee, independant contractor, employee of the independant contractor or self-emplyed person has received a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus (COVID-19) and;
  • The employee, independant contractor, employee of the independant or self-employed person has attended the workplace within the infraction period.

 For more information and how to report a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis visit WorkSafe Victoria.

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