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07 April 2020

COVID-19 - Update 7th April

We know many of you are keen to learn more about the government support packages on offer for those businesses and individuals impacted by the coronavirus. Please note, that not all details regarding these packages have been released as yet, but we will aim to keep you updated as soon as new announcements or details are released.
JobKeeper - no new updates yet
After the government's announcement last week regarding the new JobKeeper payments for eligible employers, the self employed and sole traders, there has been a lot of discussion about what this will mean for businesses and how this will be rolled out, but no definitive updates have been released by the government as yet.

We do know that parliament will be voting on the package on Wednesday, and that they are continuing to work around issues for start up businesses, or those businesses that have not traded for 1 year yet, and do not have a previous period of trade to compare their current income against. Likewise for those businesses who have not seen a drop in turnover yet, but expect to do so over the coming months. 

There is also discussion around the requirement that casual employees must have been in service for at least 1 year as at 1st March, and whether this can be extended any further. 
We can confirm that all clients who are employers, sole traders, or otherwise eligible for the JobKeeper payment have been registered with the ATO as interested in applying. We do expect there will be more announcements after Wednesday's vote, so we will keep you updated as soon as possible on any new information released. 
JobSeeker - How to register for assistance with Centrelink
For those who are not eligible for JobKeeper payments through their employer or sole trader activities, you may be eligible for the JobSeeker assistance via Centrelink. 
The main points to note about the JobSeeker assistance are:
  • Asset testing will be waived during this period, however income testing will remain
  • Income testing will include your total household income, so if you and your spouse combined earn over $79,762 pa you are not currently eligible
  • If you register online for assistance now, the payments will be back dated to the point you registered, once Centrelink processes your claim. So our advice is to register ASAP
  • Even if you are only eligible for a portion of the current Centrelink Jobseeker allowance, you will be eligible for the full additional Coronavirus Supplement payment of $550 / fortnight, as long as you registered or are receiving Centrelink by 27 April
  • Centrelink assistance is not available currently to foreign students or individuals on certain visas
Please note, you cannot receive both JobKeeper payments and JobSeeker assistance, so if you are informed by your employer that you will start receiving JobKeeper, you will need to inform Centrelink to cancel your JobSeeker assistance.
100% PAYG Withholding Credit on March Quarter BAS
A reminder that those employers with an annual turnover below $50 million, who had employees prior to 12th March, will be eligible for the 100% PAYG withholding credit in the January-March quarter BAS.

The minimum payment is $10K and the maximum payment is $50,000. This means those employers who have withheld under $10,000 in the January-March quarter will receive a $10,000 credit against their March BAS. Those that have withheld over $10,000, will be credited 100% of the amount they have withheld up to the maximum of $50,000.

This is not a direct payment to your business bank account. It can result in a refund against your BAS, but this will be based on individual circumstances.

Following this, a bonus payment against your BAS lodgements may be available for the September quarter and will be based on the amount credited from the March quarter. So if you recived a credit of $50,000 against the March BAS, you would receive another credit of $50,000 in the July-September reporting period. This would bring the total package available up to $100K as announced by the government.
As the first payment will be credited after lodgement of the March quarter BAS, we would recommend you get your BAS paperwork to us as soon as possible, to take advantage of this offer from the ATO. 
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