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The Commonwealth, State and Territory governments have introduced a range of stimulus measures to assist businesses and workers during this challenging time. We outline below some of the key announcements.
The 2020 Federal Budget will now be delivered on Tuesday, 6 October 2020. It was originally scheduled to be delivered on 12 May 2020, but has been delayed to allow the Commonwealth Government time to assess the impact of COVID-19 and the current stimulus package.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is in the process of implementing a series of administrative measures to assist businesses experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including allowing businesses:
We note that employers are still required to meet their ongoing superannuation guarantee obligations for their employees.
The assistance measures will not be automatically applied so businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic should contact the ATO to request assistance on the Emergency Support Infoline (1800 806 218).
From 12 March 2020, the instant asset write-off:
The changes apply to new or second hand assets first used or installed ready for use between 12 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. The instant asset write-off applies on a per asset basis so multiple assets can be written-off. The aim of the changes is to provide cash flow benefits to businesses that are investing during this difficult period.
The Commonwealth Government is introducing a temporary (15 month) investment incentive for businesses with an aggregate turnover of below $500 million. A deduction of 50% of an eligible asset will apply (with the existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost).
Eligible assets include new assets that can be depreciated under Division 40 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) (ITAA) (ie plant, equipment and specified intangible assets). It does not apply to second-hand Division 40 assets or buildings and other capital works depreciable under Division 43 of the ITAA. The incentive applies to assets first used or installed by 30 June 2021.
The Commonwealth 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. To be eligible the entities must have an aggregate annual turnover under $50 million (based on prior year turnover).
Eligible employers that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary/wages will receive a payment equal to 100% of the amount withheld up to a maximum payment of $50,000. Those employers who are not required to withhold tax will receive a minimum payment of $10,000.
The payment is tax-free and will be delivered as an automatic credit in the taxpayer’s BAS from 28 April 2020. It will therefore be necessary for businesses to prepare and lodge a BAS for the GST period ending 31 March 2020.
An additional payment may also be made in the July – October 2020 BAS period. Eligible entities will receive a further payment, meaning that they will receive a total of at least $20,000 and up to $100,000 under both payments.
Payments are available to active eligible employers established before 12 March 2020 and eligible charities registered with the ACNC (regardless of when registration occurs).
More information regarding the timing of payments
The following payroll tax measures are being introduced to support businesses affected by COVID-19:
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory
Other state taxation measures
Tasmania has announced, among other things:
Businesses with outstanding quarterly bills for 2019-2020 will be able to defer payments for up to 6 months.
For 2020-2021 Land Tax Transitional Fund relief will be increased from 50% to 100% based on existing relief criteria guidelines. Transitional relief is available for taxpayers who have an increase in their land tax assessment as a result of changes in aggregation of land owned as at 16 October 2019. To be eligible for the relief, the increase in land tax must be greater than $2,500 and less than $102,500.
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