Business Assistance

5 steps businesses can take
In the midst of managing the business impacts of the crisis, here are 5 things you might want to think about.

  1. Make sure you are following health and safety guidance from the Department of Health.
  2. Communicate what health and safety measures you are taking in your business to your customers and partners.
  3. The Department of Health has launched a national campaign to inform all Australians about the coronavirus. They have developed a range of resources for businesses to use, find out more here.
  4. The Australian, State and Territory Governments have announced a series of measures to support businesses and individuals during this difficult time. Find out more here.
  5. Look after your mental health and reach out if you need help.

Tenancy Protection Measures

The AHA has made representations to Governments at both a state and national level, highlighting the issue of the vulnerability of leasehold tenants in venues in the current circumstances.

We understand that the state and federal Government are working together towards the implementation of a range of measures preventing landlords evicting tenants from both residential and commercial leases if those tenants can identify the coronavirus crisis as the source of their financial stress.

We will provide advice on any announcements as they come to hand.

Helpline for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
From today, the Morrison Government’s Business Hotline – 13 28 46 – will be expanded to provide specialist advisers and extended hours to support small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operations at the www.business.gov.au 13 28 46 Contact Centre will increase from five days per week to seven days per week, and provide an additional two hours a day of support outside standard operating hours for the first month, answering calls from 7.00 am to 11.00pm AEST.

The Government is rolling out comprehensive, targeted assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we want businesses who are looking for information to be supported. During these challenging times businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 need readily available access to advice so they can fully understand the assistance available to them and their employees. To read the media release on the helpline, click here.

For more information on the assistance available to businesses please go to www.business.gov.au.

Please also go to https://www.australia.gov.au. This site will link you to the latest COVID-19 news, updates and advice from Australian Government Agencies.

Financial Support Information
The Australian Government has established a website where businesses can find critical information regarding financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the new government support for Australian businesses. This includes information around increasing the instant asset write-off, boosting cash flow for employers and measures to support apprentices and trainees.

The NSW Government today announced its own stimulus and support package to complement the above. The package includes $450 million to waive payroll tax for the next three months for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million. There will also be $80 million to axe a range of fees and charges for small businesses. Further information will be provided as it comes to hand.

Early Access to Superannuation
The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Read more here in the Government fact sheet.

Tax Deductible Gifts
We have received queries about providing stood down employees (who are not otherwise entitled to pay) with some form of gift (e.g. an Eftpos gift Card) to support them during any period of closure.

A gift to an employee is a tax deduction to the employer and is not subject to superannuation and would not incur any additional payroll tax or workers compensation insurance. Using the gift card example, this would be considered “cash” and there is no GST that can be claimed.

That said, the provision of a gift to an employee is a fringe benefit and could be subject to fringe benefits tax. There is an exemption to fringe benefits tax for minor benefits which are defined as infrequent with a value of less than $300, hence if a member decided to do this for an employee a value of say $250 would be prudent.

You should contact your accountant for specific professional advice in these circumstances.

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