Strategem | COVID-19 Support Updates

Keeping you up to date with COVID-19 support packages

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As we continue to see heightened restrictions put into place to stop the spread of COVID-19 outbreak, we will continue to bring you updates from the Government in regards to what support packages you may be eligible for.

It’s been a challenging time for both businesses owners and employees who have been impacted by the coronavirus. Our team are here to provide you with the support you need in ensuring you get the financial assistance you are eligible to.

Just like we did at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we will update out blog with announcements from Government ensuring you receive the most up to date information.

If you have any questions or would like any assistance, our Accountants & Advisors are here to provide the support you need.

UPDATE: Tuesday, 21 July – Government announces extension of JobKeeper Payment Scheme

The Government today announced that the JobKeeper Payment Scheme will be extended beyond September.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the scheme would be extended until March 2021 however changes to the payment amounts will see a decrease in the fortnightly rates.

The payment subsidy for full-time workers will be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight, and part-time workers will receive a lower rate of $750. The final quarter will see a further reduction in rates with full-time workers receiving $1,000 per fortnight and part-time workers will receive $650.

To continue receiving the JobKeeper scheme, businesses will have to pass a turnover test to ensure eligibility. Businesses with a turnover of up to $1billion are required to show a 30 per cent drop, while businesses with more than $1billion are required to show a 50 per cent decline.

Companies will face a renewed eligibility test of turnover in October.

In addition to changes to the JobKeeper Payment Scheme, those receiving the JobSeeker payments will see their payments cut back to $800 a fortnight from September.

Scott Morrison stated “In the second phase which will be at the end of September, we will be moving to a higher rate of job search”.

“We Will be reintroducing the assets test for eligibility for those payments and we’ll be reintroducing assets waiting period at that time”.

As of August 4, the Government will be requiring those on the dole to to connect with employment services and search for jobs at least four times a month, with penalties kicking in for those who refuse a role.

Extra support announced to help businesses impacted by the latest lockdown

With heightened COVID-19 restrictions continuing to be enforced within Victoria, the Victorian Government have responded by announcing a $534 million support package for businesses impacted by the latest lockdown.

The package includes:

  • A $30 million fund for hospitality businesses
  • A $26 million mental health support package for small business
  • A $40 million fund to help regional tourism businesses to cover refunds and marketing
  • $20 million for small businesses in Melbourne’s CBD
  • $5,000 grants to be made available for 80,000 eligible businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire.

The new business support package allows businesses to benefit from extended payroll tax deferral, with eligible businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million having the option to defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020-21 financial year.

Grants available for 80,000 eligible Melbourne businesses

The support fund recently announced by Government includes access to $5,000 for 80,000 eligible businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire.

Businesses can apply if they meet the following criteria:

  • operate a business located in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire
  • 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 $3 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis
  • 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.

The grants can be used to help provide support cover the following:

  • meeting business costs, including utilities, salaries or rent
  • seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning
  • developing the business through marketing and communications activities
  • any other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.

Applications for the grants close on 19 August 2020. To read more and to see if your business is eligible to apply visit: https://www.business.vic.gov.au/…/bus…/business-support-fund

Government commits $36 million toward mental health

Further to the support package, Treasurer Tim Pallas stated the Government was waiting “with baited breath” to see whether the Federal Government would extend the JobKeeper payments.

He said more information was likely on July 23, which would inform the State Government about what additional support measures were required.

“This is us saying we’re here with you all the way through a very traumatic and distressing time for all Victorians,” Treasurer, Tim Pallas

The Government will also invest $36 million towards mental health support and mentoring for business owners and operators, including sole traders doing it tough because of the pandemic.

Getting your Tax organised this tax time

We understand this tax season looks a little different to previous years. Our staff are still available to help you complete your tax return. To protect the health of our staff, and our clients, we are currently not booking any face-to-face appointments.

We are offering phone and online Zoom appointments to all clients, including for tax appointments.

For clients who need to get documents to our Accountants or Advisors we are encouraging you to use our Secure Online Client Portal which allows the safe transfer of documents and also allows for electronic signings.

We appreciate your understanding of the above measures and we look forward to being able to support you through this tax season, and through these unprecedented times.

Our staff are continuing to work from home but remain available to provide you with the support you need. To make an appointment with an Accountant to complete your tax return, please phone our office on (03) 5445 4777.

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