Government Announcement – Small Business Support for COVID-19

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced further support to Australian Small Business. Whilst we are all facing extremely difficult times I am pleased to hear the following comments from the Prime Minister:

“We want to help businesses keep going as best they can and for as long as they can, or to pause instead of winding up their business. We want to ensure that when this crisis has passed Australian businesses can bounce back. Our focus is on cushioning the blow and providing hope to every Australian that we will get through this and come out the other side together. We know this will be temporary. That’s why all our actions are geared towards building a bridge, keeping more people in work, enhancing the safety net for those that aren’t and keeping businesses alive so they can get to the other side and stand up their workforce as quickly as possible. We know Australia’s more than 3 million small and medium businesses are the engine room of our economy. When they hurt, we all hurt. The next few months are going to be a difficult journey but we all have a role to play to adapt to the changes we’re facing, to cushion the impact of what is happening and to pull together so we can bounce back when we get to the other side.”


Below is a summary of the support package aimed to support Small Businesses:

Assistance to businesses to keep people in a job

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers

The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not‑for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. Under the enhanced scheme from the first package, employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (up from 50 per cent), with the maximum payment being increased from $25,000 to $50,000. In addition, the minimum payment is being increased from $2,000 to $10,000. The payment will be available from 28 April 2020. The payments are tax free, there will be no new forms and payments will flow automatically through the ATO.

Small and medium business entities, not for profits & charities with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers are eligible.

An additional payment is also being made from 28 July 2020. Eligible entities will receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments received. 

Regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

The Government will establish the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme which will support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to get access to working capital to help them get them through the impact of the coronavirus. Under the Scheme, the Government will guarantee 50 per cent of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs.

The Scheme will complement the announcement the Government has made to cut red-tape to allow SMEs to get access to credit faster. It also complements announcements made by Australian banks to support small businesses with their existing loans.

Providing temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The package also includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent. The Corporations Act 2001 will be amended to provide temporary and targeted relief for companies to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus.

This builds on the support for business and business investment provided in the first economic support package, which included:

  • increasing the instant asset write off
  • backing business investment by providing accelerated depreciation deductions
  • supporting apprentices and trainees
  • targeted support for Coronavirus-affected regions and communities

Other Government Support Provided – Support for workers and households

Coronavirus supplement

The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

The Coronavirus supplement will be paid for the next 6 months. Eligible income support recipients will receive the full amount of the $550 Coronavirus supplement on top of their payment each fortnight.

An increase of up to 5,000 staff for Services Australia will assist to support delivery of new Government measures.

Payments to support households

In addition to the $750 stimulus payment announced on 12 March 2020, the Government will provide a further $750 payment to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders, except for those who are receiving an income support payment that is eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement.

This second payment will be made automatically from 13 July 2020 to around 5 million social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. Around half of those that benefit are pensioners.

The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 to people who will have been on one of the eligible payments any time between 12 March 2020 and 13 April 2020.

Early release of superannuation

The Government will allow individuals in financial stress as a result of the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

Eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov for access of up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for another three months. They will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

Temporarily reduce superannuation minimum drawdown rates

The Government is temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for 2019-20 and 2020-21. This measure will benefit retirees by providing them with more flexibility as to how they manage their superannuation assets.

Reducing social security deeming rates

On top of the deeming rate changes made at the time of the first package, the Government is reducing the deeming rates by a further 0.25 percentage points to reflect the latest rate reductions by the RBA. As of 1 May 2020, the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent and the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent.

If you would like to discuss your situation further, please speak to your accountant via the details below or email enquiry@primefinancial.com.au

Melbourne

Brendan Brown – brendanb@primefinancial.com.au
Simone Quin – simoneq@primefinancial.com.au
Paul Minieri – paulm@primefinancial.com.au
Jade Nicholls – jaden@primefinancial.com.au
Stuart Thomson – stuartt@primefinancial.com.au

Brisbane

Matthew Smith – matts@primefinancial.com.au
John Driscoll – johnd@primefinancial.com.au
Sean Fincham – seanf@primefinancial.com.au

Sydney

John Driscoll – johnd@primefinancial.com.au
Sean Fincham – seanf@primefinancial.com.au

Please click here to read a fact sheet produced by the Australian Government with regards to cash flow assistance for small businesses.

This post is provided by Prime Accounting and Business Advisory Pty Ltd. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. This post is not a substitute for independent professional advice. We do not warrant the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information or material in this post. All information is subject to change without notice. We and each party providing material displayed in this post disclaim liability to all persons or organisations in relation to any action(s) taken on the basis of currency or accuracy of the information or material, or any loss or damage suffered in connection with that information or material. You should make your own enquiries before entering into any transaction on the basis of information or material in this post. Please ensure you contact us to discuss your particular circumstances and how the information provided applies to your situation.

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