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Here’s our guide to the Federal and State governments’ support services for Australian small businesses during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) downturn.
There’s little predictability when you’re a small business owner and even less when a global pandemic threatens your very livelihood and, by extension, your mental health. If you’re a small business owner experiencing hardship due to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus), help is available in support services from the Federal and State governments during this stressful time.
Firstly, stay up-to-date with the latest support for Australian businesses by making regular visits to the Federal Government’s COVID-19 (coronavirus) support page.
Important news for small business is that the Federal Government is now offering, as a support service, tax-free cash flow boosts equal to the amount of PAYG tax withheld from wages and salaries from March to June 2020, delivered in instalments, with an additional boost when statements are lodged for June to September 2020.
These payments fall between $20,000 and $100,000, depending on eligibility, and will be delivered through credits in the activity statement system when business activity statements are lodged, meaning there’s no application process necessary. An increase to the instant asset write-off threshold to $150,000 is also now available.
The JobKeeper payment now exists to assist small business owners (including sole traders, partnerships, trusts, not-for-profits and charities) to keep their current staff employed, offering access to $1500 per employee per fortnight for a six-month period.
If you have an apprentice or trainee on your books, you could also be eligible for a subsidy of 50% of his or her wage up to a maximum of $21,000 per employee, paid during the nine months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.
There are additional support services for businesses struggling to pay energy bills. Also, if your business is part of the agriculture and seafood export industry, there’s help for the transport of your produce.
Small businesses and SMEs affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus) should check out the Federal Government’s relief for commercial tenants initiative. The Federal Government has introduced a mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenancies including retail, office and industrial. It applies to tenants that have an annual turnover of up to $50 million and are eligible for the JobKeeper payment.
This initiative could see a rent reduction or rent relief depending on the tenant’s decline in turnover and is designed to share the financial burden between tenants and landlords.
Here are a few additional support services introduced by state governments.