Last updated: 24 March 2020
The Australian government has responded to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic with a series of Federal and State stimulus packages to address its impact on families and businesses.
We've put together a list to summarise the announcements that may affect you.
Second Economic Stimulus Package | 22 March 2020
- Boost in cash flow for small and medium businesses: A tax-free cash payment of a minimum of $20,000 (up from $2,000) to a maximum of $100,000 (up from $25,000) will be paid to eligible businesses with a turnover under $50 million. Eligible businesses that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary and wages will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent (up from 50 per cent) of the amount withheld. Eligible businesses that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $20,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax. The payment will flow automatically through the ATO from 28 April 2020.
- Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme for businesses: The Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital. SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans. Loans must be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday, a maximum total size of $250,000 per borrower and in the form of unsecured finance.
*For the full media release on 22 March 2020, click here.
*For more details on the update to 'Boosting cash flow for employers' on 22 March 2020, click here.
*For more details on the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, click here.
First Economic Stimulus Package | 12 March 2020
- Bigger tax write offs for small businesses: Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) can claim a tax deduction for spending on assets up to $150,000 (up from $30,000) before 30 June 2020, as part of the instant asset write-off scheme
- Cash flow assistance for small businesses: Cash flow boost of $2,000 to $25,000 for small businesses with less than $50 million in turnover. Note - under the Second Economic Stimulus Package announced on 22 March 2020 the minimum payment was increased to $20,000 and the maximum was increased to $100,000.
- Faster depreciation for small businesses: Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct an additional 50 per cent of the assets cost in the year of purchase up to 30 June 2021
- Wage subsidies for apprentices: Employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to nine months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020
*For the full media release on 12 March 2020, click here.
New South Wales
Economic Stimulus Package Stage Two | 27 March 2020
- Working for NSW fund: Creation of a $1 billion Working for NSW fund to sustain businesses, create new jobs and retrain employees. The fund will comprise of $750 million in new funding as well as the $250 million announced with the first NSW economic package (17 March 2020)
- Additional payroll tax deferral: Businesses with payrolls of $10 million or less received a three month waiver on payroll tax as part of the first NSW economic package (17 March 2020). These businesses will now get an additional three month deferral on payroll tax. For businesses with payrolls greater than $10 million, payroll tax will be deferred for six months
*For the full media release on 27 March 2020, click here.
Health Boost and Economic Stimulus | 17 March 2020
- Payroll tax waived: Businesses that have less than $10 million in staff costs will have their payroll taxes waived for the rest of the financial year, saving businesses a quarter of their annual payroll tax bill in financial year 2019-20
- Payroll tax threshold increase: Payroll tax threshold will be raised to $1 million in the financial year 2020-21
- Fees and charges waived for small businesses: Other tax cuts include $80 million to waive fees and charges for small businesses, including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies.
*For the full media release on 17 March 2020, click here.
Economic Survival and Jobs Package to Support Businesses and Jobs | 21 March 2020
- Payroll tax refunds: The Government will provide full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium businesses with payroll of less than $3 million
- Payroll tax deferral: Small and medium businesses with payroll of less than $3 million will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020-21 financial year until 1 January 2021
*For the full media release on 21 March 2020, click here.
COVID-19 Economic Relief Package | 19 March 2020
- Payroll tax relief: All small and medium businesses with payroll up to $6.5 million will be eligible for a two month refund of payroll tax and a three month payroll tax holiday. Larger businesses affected by COVID-19 will also be eligible for the two month payroll tax refund.
- Payroll tax deferral: The same businesses will also be able to defer all payroll tax payments for the rest of 2020.
- Low-interest loan facility: Queensland businesses will also have access to a new $500 million loan facility, offering low-interest loans of up to $250,000 for carry on finance with an initial 12-month interest free period. The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority is currently accepting expressions of interest for the loans
*For more details on the COVID-19 Economic Relief Package, click here.
COVID-19 Economic and Health Relief Package | 31 March 2020
- Additional stimulus for Western Australian businesses: $114 million in additional measures to support small and medium businesses
- One-off grant for businesses: Businesses with a payroll between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500 to assist them to manage the impacts of COVID-19. It's expected that 7,400 businesses will benefit from the grant
- Payroll tax waived: Payroll tax will be waived for four months to 30 June 2020 for small and medium businesses with annual wages up to $7.5 million in 2019-20, delivering around $165 million in relief to around 10,700 businesses. This payroll tax waiver announcement replaces the payroll tax deferral already announced
- Fast-tracked additional payroll tax relief for small businesses: $1 million payroll tax threshold brought forward by six months to 1 July 2020
- Reduced electricity bills for small businesses: Electricity bills for around 95,000 small businesses will be reduced, with a one-off $2,500 credit available for Synergy and Horizon Power customers consuming less than 50 megawatt hours per year
- Licence fees waived for small and medium businesses: $100.4 million has been allocated to waive a wide range of licence fees for small and medium businesses in COVID-19 impacted industries for the next 12 months
- Interest-free payment arrangement and late payment penalties waived: Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for an interest-free payment arrangement and for late payment penalties to be waived for payroll tax, transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax
- No power or water disconnections due to late payments: No small businesses facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 will face power or water disconnections due to late payments and no interest will be charged on deferred bill payments until September
*For the full media release on 31 March 2020, click here.
COVID-19 Economic Response | 16 March 2020
- One-off grant for businesses: Businesses with a payroll of between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500
- Deferred payroll tax for small businesses: Small businesses which pay less than $7.5 million in taxable wages each year can apply to defer their payroll tax payment to 21 July 2020
- Payroll tax exemption: $1 million payroll tax threshold brought forward by 6 months to 1 July 2020
*For the full media release on 16 March 2020, click here.
Second Social & Economic Package | 26 March 2020
- Waived fees and charges for small businesses: The Government will freeze, waive or cap fees and charges for small businesses. Water and electricity bills will be waived for the first quarterly bill received after 1 April 2020. Electricity prices will be capped and water prices will be frozen for the next financial year. The roads component of motor tax and vehicle registration will be waived where the business has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 measures. Land tax for 2020-21 will be waived for commercial property owners financially impacted by COVID-19 (land tax must be paid by the business owner).
- Extension to the payroll tax waivers: The Government will extend the previously announced (18 March 2020) payroll tax waivers for the hospitality, tourism and seafood sectors and for businesses with payrolls less than $5 million impacted by COVID-19. This measure is to ensure the affected businesses pay no payroll tax for financial year 2019-20 and will be delivered through a combination of payroll tax refunds and waivers.
- Increase to the Small Business Interest Free Loan Scheme: Scheme will be increased from $20 million to $50 million and is available for businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million.
- Small Business Grants Program: A new $40 million program with $20 million set aside for emergency grant support and $20 million for larger grant payments.
- Digital Ready for Business Program: The new program will be boosted with $150,000 to assist businesses who want to take their business online.
- Business continuity advice: $750,000 in funding made available for businesses to seek cash flow and continuity advice, including a $50,000 grant to the Small Business Council of Tasmania. A further $200,000 will be provided to the Tasmanian Hospitality Association to provide business continuity and cash flow advice, increasing the funding available for this initiative to $250,000.
- Rural Financial Counselling: A further $200,000 will be provided to the Rural Business Tasmania for the extension of its Rural Financial Counselling service.
- Support for local Chambers of Commerce: $100,000 to support local Chambers of Commerce as they assist member businesses manage the impacts of COVID-19.
*For the full fact sheet released on 26 March 2020, click here.
Tasmanian Support & Stimulus Package | 18 March 2020
- Waived payroll tax liabilities: Payroll tax liabilities will be waived for hospitality, tourism and seafood industry businesses. Other businesses with payrolls of up to $5 million will be able to apply to have their payroll tax waived for April to June 2020.
- Small Business Grants Program: $5,000 grants for businesses taking on new apprentices or trainees in the tourism, hospitality, building and construction, and manufacturing industries. Funding for the measure has been brought forward.
*For the fact sheet released on 18 March 2020, click here.
Coronavirus Stimulus Package | 18 March 2020
- Home renovations: Owners of residential and investment properties will receive a $6,000 grant for renovations if they contribute $2,000 of their own money. Or a $4,000 grant if they spend $1,000 of their own money
- Business upgrades: Eligible businesses will get an initial $10,000 grant for upgrades, and another $10,000 if they contribute $10,000 of their own money. Business owners will be able to spend their grant on upgrades or equipment if purchased from an eligible Northern Territory businesses