COVID-19 Business Update – JobKeeper, tax time and more

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.

Next phase of JobKeeper to come after September

PM Scott Morrison confirmed today that there will be a “further phase” of JobKeeper payments following this September when the scheme is due to end. No more details have been announced yet, but we will keep you updated when we know more.

VIC-NSW Border Closed for the First Time in 100 Years

The border between Australia’s two most populous states closed this week for an indefinite period as authorities strive to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne. This decision marks the first time the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been shut in 100 years.

COVID-19 Restrictions Guide for Each State

Since the government announced a three-stage plan in May to ease restrictions across the country, Australians have been slowly emerging from COVID-19 lockdowns. However, from midnight on 8 July, Melbourne and Mitchell shire will return to a stage three lockdown for six weeks. We are thinking of everyone affected by this and urge you to get in touch if you have any questions about your business.

As COVID-19 restrictions vary across the different parts of Australia, it can get confusing for some. This guide will help you navigate through lockdown rules, including how far you can travel, what types of businesses are open, and guidelines on social gatherings for each state.

Businesses Showing Resilience in the Face of Adversity

Businesses have taken a hit over the previous months due to COVID-19, but some innovative companies in Australia found the silver lining. Below are some of the most creative ways businesses adapted to this unprecedented crisis:

  • An events management agency launched a community project involving 500 sewers now providing hundreds of frontline healthcare workers with scrubs and personal protective equipment.
  • A Surry Hills-based jewellery designer opens up her workroom and helps people repair broken jewellery or even redesign a new piece altogether using metal from previously owned jewellery.
  • A denim company has opened new production facilities in Cambodia where other fashion brands could come to have their garments made in the same sustainable practices that have made the brand a pioneer.

You can read their inspiring stories here. If you want to talk about your specific situation, please get in touch with us and we’ll help you work out a strategic plan to come through stronger than ever and build a successful future-proof business.

Do you have more questions this tax time?

This financial year is set to be like we’ve never seen before, so we appreciate your support and patience. We also understand that most people are more questions than normal this year, so we’re here to help. We can help with questions “Do I have to pay tax on JobKeeper” and “What can I claim when I’m working from home” – so please get in touch.

Boosting Your Digital Capabilities

Small businesses across Australia can access individual support to grow their digital capabilities through the Australian Small Business Advisory Services Digital Solutions. This program offers small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time employees and sole traders with high quality advice on a range of digital solutions to meet their business needs at a subsidised rate. More information can be found here. However, if you want your own dedicated business advisor at a reasonable rate, please get in touch with us.

Second Round of Cash Flow Boosts

If your business has received initial cash flow boosts, you’ll automatically receive additional cash flow boosts when you lodge your activity statements for each monthly or quarterly period from June to September 2020. The amount will be equal to the total amount of initial cash flow boosts you received and will be split in either two or four installments, depending on your reporting period.

If you lodge:

  • quarterly – you will receive 50% of your total initial cash flow boosts for each activity statement
  • monthly – you will receive 25% of your total initial cash flow boosts for each activity statement

You can find more information here, or alternatively, you may contact us so we can discuss your concerns.

State grants and support programs

Along with national assistance, each state and territory has announced various grants and assistance packages which you may be eligible for. You can find a roundup of these grants on the Government’s Business website. Alternatively, you can also contact us so we can discuss which options are most suitable for your business based on your eligibility and

ATO Tax Time Toolkit

The ATO’s Tax Time Toolkit has some useful guides for small businesses on topics such as: home-based business expenses, motor vehicle expenses, travel expenses and pausing or permanently closing your business due to Coronavirus. Ask us if you have any questions.

Minimum Wage Increase

The Fair Work Commission has announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages. This will apply to all award wages and the increase will start on 3 different dates for different groups.

Group 1 Awards – from 1 July 2020

  • Frontline Heath Care & Social Assistance Workers
  • Teachers and Child Care
  • Other Essential Services

Group 2 Awards – from 1 November 2020

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • A range of other industries

Group 3 Awards – from 1 February 2021

  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Arts and Recreation Services
  • Aviation
  • Retail
  • Tourism

You can find the complete list of awards in each group here.

For those not covered by an award, the new national minimum wage will be $753.80 per week or $19.84 per hour. This applies from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2020. If you’re not sure which award applies or if you have any questions, get in touch with us.

Instant Asset Write-Off Expanded

The Instant Asset Write-off has been extended to 31 December 2020, which means Australian businesses with less than $500 million annual turnover will have more time to take advantage of the write-off and invest in assets to support their business. This government initiative is designed to help the economy reopen and boost economic growth. The instant asset write-off applies on a per asset basis, so eligible businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets provided they each cost less than $150,000.

You can find more information on which assets can you claim as an immediate deduction here, or contact us so we can walk you through the different thresholds, exclusions, and limits.

If you need a registered agent to assist, drop us a message.

COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

SafeWork Australia has put together useful guidelines for a range of industries. The guidelines provide clarification on WHS laws, workers’ rights, risk assessments, hygiene, emergency plans and more.

What’s next?

We’ll keep you updated if anything changes but now we’ll shift to helping you get a plan in place for the future. Please get in touch to discuss what’s next for your business.
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