We’ve updated this article on Tuesday 24 March to include the additional updates recently announced by the federal government.
We’ve also written a separate update on the JobKeeper scheme, announced on Monday 30 March. Check it out here.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government have announced a range of handouts targeted at various Australians to try and stimulate the economy. We’ve dug a little deeper into each of the measures to figure out exactly what is on offer, if you need to apply, and how the payments will be made if you are eligible.
Apprentice support has been a topical part of the package – so if you’re currently undertaking an apprenticeship you might be wondering if you’ll be receiving a payment.
Who will get the $750 household stimulus payments?
Low-income Australians who are currently on government income support or hold an eligible concession card will receive the payment. Check out the full list here.
It includes those on Newstart or Youth Allowance payments, so if you’re currently on either of these you’ll be getting $750 deposited into your bank account from 31st March. Nice!
The government also announced a second $750 payment for those receiving the age pension, a carers allowance or family tax benefit and Commonwealth senior card holders. If you’re eligible, the payment will be made automatically from 13th July.
Will I get the $750 payment if I’m an apprentice, but don’t receive government support payments?
Unfortunately not. The government has focused most of the package on measures to support businesses who have apprentices, rather than individuals. The package is only for low-income earners who receive government support or are on an eligible concession card. Check out the full list again, here.
So, what will business owners who have an apprentice get?
The government have announced a fund to help business owners keep their apprentices employed. A payment of 50% of your apprentice’s wage from 1 January – 30 September 2020 will be available. Employers will be able to register for this subsidy from early April through an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider, such as MEGT.
You can read more about the subsidy on page 3 of this fact sheet.
What about business owners who employ staff that aren’t apprentices?
The government has again upped the benefit to businesses who have an annual turnover of less than $50 million and employ workers. There is now between $20,000 and $100,000 on offer to help businesses with cash flow so they can keep paying rent, bills and staff.
Eligible businesses that withhold tax to the ATO on their employee’s wages will receive 100% (up from 50%) of the amount withheld, up to $50k (up from $25k). Businesses that pay wages but aren’t required to withhold tax will receive a payment of $10k (up from $2k).
To clarify, that’s 100% of your PAYG withholding not 100% of your total wage expenses.
Payments will be made as a credit in any business activity statement (BAS) lodged from 28 April. Read more about the updated scheme, here.
If you employ staff AND apprentices, you will be eligible for both payments!
Anything for sole traders?
If your income or hours have been cut by 20% or more due to the coronavirus, you’ll be able to access up to $10,000 of your superannuation tax-free in both the 2019-2020 and 2020-21 financial years.
You’ll need to apply through myGov – just head to the ATO section and confirm that you meet the eligibility.
If you’re making less than $1,075 a fortnight because of the coronavirus effects on your business then you might be able to get JobSeeker payments from Centrelink. As a sole trader, you’d also be eligible for coronavirus supplement of $550 a fortnight for the next six months on top of the standard payment.
What’s the instant asset write-off?
The instant asset write-off is the government’s way of encouraging small businesses to invest in big-ticket items. It allows businesses to increase their immediate cash flow by paying less tax. It’s a bit complex so we wrote another post about it here.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has also said it will provide payment deferrals and faster access to GST refunds to businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. For more information or for support you can contact the ATO Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218.
Anything at state levels?
Yes – the NSW, WA, QLD and SA governments have all announced their own state-level packages however at this stage, they lack a lot of specific detail.
We’ll be sure to keep updating everyone once there is more practical advice at hand.