Regular updates: Financial Relief and Government’s Economic Response to Coronavirus COVID-19 – – Simplified and much more. For full details, contact us for information relevant to you. Or speak with your accountant.
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UPDATED 18 April 2020
JobKeeper legislation is now law and in process by the ATO. The details are being worked out on the fly in a fast moving format.
JobKeeper is a subsidy paid to businesses to subsidise the cost of employee wages. It is not an unemployment benefit. Unemployment benefits are obtained via Services Australia (Centrelink). Therefore you can ask your employees to work for the JobKeeper allowance. Employees who fail to follow reasonable directions to work may be dealt with according to current Fair Work legislation and dismissal procedures. JobKeeper is not in addition to wages unless the wages are under the threshold.
There are many questions around stand-down, wages, PAYG, and entitlements; our information on this page is evolving, in summary format, and generic, so do seek professional advice from BAS Agent Bookkeepers and Accountants.
Treasury and the ATO have specific timing, processes and compliance rules around assistance packages. JobKeeper is paid to employers AFTER they have paid employees – not before. Employers must pay the employees before claiming the JobKeeper subsidy. How you fund the cost of wages is up to you. The government has no clear directive other than banks have been instructed to offer support. The timing of the Cash Boost (via BAS lodgements) will overlap with JobKeeper and may be beneficial in the overall management of cash flow.
There are windows of timing that need to be followed if your business is taking up JobKeeper. Here’s what to do:
- REGISTER Register your business interest in JobKeeper NOW
- ELIGIBILITY Work out if your business is eligible here
What is GST turnover? We are glad you asked! The ATO has made a page here
- ELIGIBILITY Work out if employees are eligible here
- SIGN Issue employees with an ATO JobKeeper employee nomination notice NOW
Keep forms on file for 5 years. There will be a different process for business participants eg: directors, partnerships etc – yet to be determined.
- PAY Pay employees $1500 per fortnight from eligibility date beginning 30 March 2020 to 27 September 2020. More here. PAYG must be deducted. Super not required (choice). Ask your bookkeeper to give specific instructions on how to do correct payroll categories (see our note below) and split ordinary hours with JobKeeper top ups. To obtain the cash back from the ATO you must have already paid employees JobKeeper in the prior month. The ATO have allowed April JobKeeper payments to be back payed to employees provided employees have received $3,000 per employee before 30 April 2020. Then the ATO will send you the cash refund in May.
The ATO will gather specific evidence that payments have been made to employees on time and in full by using STP, BAS lodgements, employee data, alternative systems and may take further action to demand financial records if they deem the business has undertaken scheming or falsifying of information.
- ENROL Monday 20th April, is the opening of official business enrolment to JobKeeper via MyGov or your bookkeeper / accountant’s ATO Online service portal. More instructions released on that date.
- CLAIM Monday 4th May onward: You or a registered bookkeeper / accountant can apply for the JobKeeper cash payment. This will be done via the ATO Business Portal or agent’s portal. There will be a monthly reporting process required. More instructions to be released.
Our recommendation is that you wait until at least Monday 20 April before backpaying JobKeeper. Do make sure you have topped up and paid any April back pay by 30 April. This will allow for more administrative instructions to be released by the ATO. Also, payroll software providers such as Xero, MYOB, Quickbooks, FoundU, Deputy, Tanda are implementing new payroll features and categories that align with specific ATO instructions. Each payroll fortnight has a specific code that aligns with ATO compliance and will be connected to software STP. If you have already paid JobKeeper to employees you may need to do a payroll adjustment. We strongly suggest you use the JobKeeper software processes when they are released in the coming days.
Keep in mind; if you pay your employees in error, the Fair Work rules apply to clawing back the payments. If you make errors in the analysis and execution of the data, the ATO will question, delay, or halt, any payments you think are due to you.
We understand the time frames seem confusing, however this is complex Federal legislation that is being developed on the run, so you will experience some turbulence on the ride!
Who can give advice?
As per the Federal Register of Legislation; only BAS Agent Bookkeepers and Tax Agent Accountants registered with the Tax Practitioners Board are compliant and can give you specific advice on COVID-19 stimulus. Contact your professional adviser for specific advice for your circumstances. Alternatively, look to your leading industry associations for guidance, then cross-reference with your BAS Agent Bookkeeper or Accountant.
Restaurant Bookkeepers Australia and Numbers Australia Pty Ltd are Tax Practitioner’s Board registered BAS Agents and compliant.
Clients of Numbers Australia Pty Ltd and Restaurant Bookkeepers Australia will receive personalised and specific service, information and documents, to assist their businesses in this process. Including preparation and lodgement of applications, ongoing compliance documents and payroll supervision and guidance.
Ph: 1300 043 327 or email via our website here
UPDATED 30 MARCH 2020
JOB KEEPER PACKAGE
The latest Government relief announcement 30 Mar: $1500 / fortnight Job Keeper package backdated to 1 March. Eligible businesses or sole traders with revenue decrease of 30% or more will receive a flat $1500 per eligible employee to be handled via business’ payroll and Single Touch Payroll.
Purpose is to keep people employed and take pressure off Centrelink. Payments will start flowing in May 2020.
You need to register your interest on the ATO website here. The latest Treasury detailed fact sheets are available here (they are updated often so check the release dates on the documents and read them regularly)
Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if:
• their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover will be reduced by more than
30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
• their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than
50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
• the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.
The employer must have been in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020,
and confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged in order to receive JobKeeper Payments.
Not-for-profit entities (including charities) and self-employed individuals (businesses without employees)
that meet the turnover tests that apply for businesses are eligible to apply for JobKeeper Payments.
Employees will be eligible for the subsidy if:
Eligible employees are employees who:
• are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
• were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020;
• are full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than
12 months as at 1 March 2020);
Last updated: 30 March 2020 2
• are at least 16 years of age;
• are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a
non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10
years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder; and
• are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.
If your employees receive the JobKeeper Payment, this may affect their eligibility for payments from
Services Australia as they must report their JobKeeper Payment as income.
Full details will be known when legislation is passed down to businesses. We will update you with further instructions on this page.
Note: Job Seeker is a different arrangement which is via Centrelink. Job Keeper is an arrangement via employers.
Restaurant and Catering Association has released and excellent information sheet here
BOOSTING CASH FOR EMPLOYERS
At the moment, the most awaited cash benefit for business is the Australian Government’s Boosting Cash For Employers measure. The cash benefits are significant and simple to obtain. There are other benefits or options at many levels; Australian Government, State Government, Local Government, Fair Work, Centrelink, Banks., landlords, electricity suppliers. So do check with each one.
The Cash Boost is tax free and GST free. It will be coded in accounting software as tax free income.
The Federal Government is providing small and medium businesses and not-for-profits (that employ people) with a minimum payment of $20,000 up to $100,000. This will be calculated on the PAYG component of the activity statements and delivered over rounds (tranches).
Tranche / Round 1: Businesses will receive 100% of PAYG Withholding for the March to June BAS. Businesses will receive a minimum of $10,000 (up to a maximum of $50,000)
Quarterly lodgers: refunds will be calculated on the total of the PAYG on the Jan-Mar BAS and the Apr-Jun BAS. Payments will be calculated 28 April and 28 July.
Monthly lodgers: refunds will be calculated on the total of the March PAYG. The March PAYG total will be multiplied by 300% to normalise the quarter. Payments will be calculated 21 April, May, June, July, August, September, October.
Tranche / Round 2 (Additional Payment): Businesses will receive 100% of the benefit received in round 1. The total of round 1 and 2 will be capped at $100,000.
Tranche / Round 3 The 3rd round released 30 March is the Job Keeper payments – see above.
For round 1 and 2: If you use a BAS Agent bookkeeper, you don’t need to do anything. After the bookkeeper lodges the March activity statement, the ATO will calculate your entitlement based on the PAYG component and if you are eligible.
You only have to lodge your usual cycle of activity statements. The ATO will do the rest automatically.
The ATO will deliver a credit to the entity Integrated Client Account upon lodgement of the activity statements. Where this places the entity in a refund position, the ATO will deliver the refund within 14 days to your bank accounts. Remember to advise your bookkeeper to register your business bank account at the ATO.
For round 3 Job Keeper – the employer will manage the payments through payroll and Single Touch Payroll. Details are still to be clarified.
You still need to pay GST and Superannuation obligations or any other debt or shortfall in the BAS system. Talk to your BAS Agent Bookkeeper to arrange a payment deferral or payment plan for to keep you moving forward. The ATO is currently being very considerate with businesses – particularly if you have a good history.
Eligibility: Small and medium sized business entities and NFPs with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers will be eligible. Eligibility will generally be based on prior year turnover. The payments will only be available to active eligible employers established prior to 12 March 2020. However, charities which are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission will be eligible regardless of when they were registered, subject to meeting other eligibility requirements. To qualify for the additional payment, the entity must continue to be active.
Eligibility for Job Keeper: Read the fact sheet supplied in the link at the top of this post.
Scheming: The ATO will be using necessary audit procedures to identify business owners with an intent to scheme or defraud the system.
For quarterly Activity Statement lodgers; The first round will be paid from 28 April, the second round will be paid from 28 July.
For monthly Activity Statement lodgers, 21 April, 21 May, 22 June, 21 July.
Quarterly lodgers will be eligible to receive the additional payment for the quarters ending June 2020 and
September 2020. Each additional payment will be equal to half of their total initial Boosting Cash Flow for
Employers payment (up to a total of $50,000).
- Jan- Mar $10,000 + Apr-Jun $1,000 = refund $22,000
- Jan-Mar $4,000 + Apr-Jun $1,000 = refund $20,000
- Jan-Mar $9,000 + Apr-Jun $3,000 = refund $24,000
- Jan-Mar $1,000 + Apr-Jun $$500 = refund $20,000
- Mar $8,000 + Apr $1,000 + May $1,000 + June $1,000 = $54,000
- Mar $7,000 + Apr $2,000 + May $1,000 + June $3,000 = $54,000
- Mar $11,000 + Apr $2,000 + May $1,000 + June $3,000 = $78,000
Australian Government Treasury Fact sheet here
UPDATED 21 MARCH 2020 This is an evolving post as circumstances change. So check back often.
PAYROLL TAX TEMPORARILY DEFERRED / REDUCED
The VIC Government has announced today 21 March that it will wipe payroll tax for the financial year 1 July 19 to 30 June 20.
It is tipped that other states may consider a similar relief.
The NSW Government has announced relief for businesses with a payroll of less than $10 million. The annual payroll tax liability will be reduced by 25% when you lodge the annual reconciliation which is due by 28 July. No payment for the months of March, April or May 2020 will be required.
The QLD Government has announced the ability to apply for a relief package on Payroll Tax. If approved, your deferral will apply from the next return that is due. You won’t need to pay payroll tax returns before 31 July 2020 but you will need to continue lodging returns. You must apply for the deferral here
Please note: payroll tax is not PAYG Withholding which you pay on the BAS. Payroll tax is a state and territory tax assessed on the total payroll cost of a business. It is paid by the business, not deducted from employee wages. Each state has difference cut off limits to be required to pay the tax. Most smaller restaurants and cafes are under the threshold and don’t pay Payroll Tax. You will certainly know if you fall into that category.
THE FOUR METRE RULE – Fact Sheet download
Restaurant and Catering Australia has created a fact sheet to explain the new 4 metre distance rule. Accounced Friday 20 March, the Federal Government stated that in a given occupied space, there must be no more than one person per four square metres of ground space. Effective immediately. Download the PDF fact sheet > INDOOR-GATHERING-BAN-FACT-SHEET-FRI-MARCH-20, < to get the details on the new ruling and bans on gatherings.
UPDATED 19 MARCH 2020 This is an evolving post as circumstances change. So check back often.
Here’s a list of business financial benefits we have found to assist with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. They vary by local and state governments so contact your local institution.
As stated by the ATO: On 12 March 2020, the Government announced its economic response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Subject to passage of legislation, they will implement a series of administrative measures to further assist Australians experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
ATO: A Larger Instant Asset Write Off.
Currently the Instant Asset Write Off (IAWO) is set at $30,000 and was meant to revert down to $1,000 after 30 June 2020.
Due to coronavirus, the government has increased the Instant Asset Write Off to $150,000. This only applies to (new or 2nd hand) assets purchased and ready for use from 12 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. According to the ATO, legislative changes are required before it can take effect.
What does this mean? It means that when you buy an asset (eg: new dishwasher $3,000) the full amount is claimable as a depreciation expense on the Profit and Loss statement. This means your P&L will show less profit. Tax is usually applied to profit so this can be seen as a good thing to reduce tax.
Under normal circumstances, if the IAWO level was set at $1000 you couldn’t claim the full $3000 as an expense. The accountant would gradually write off the expense over a set number of years applicable to the life of the asset.
However, the new IAWO level of $150,000 means larger assets can be depreciated immediately.
A lot of food businesses are struggling to make any profit so there may not be any direct benefit. Don’t buy an asset if you don’t have the cash flow to achieve it. That applies to a direct purchase or a loan. Do your sums on return versus cost and if is there value in making the purchase.
Discuss with your accountant to check if there are income tax advantages to your overall business and personal tax structure. You may be better off keeping the money in the bank.
ATO: Cash Back via the BAS
Businesses will be eligible for a cash rebate on the BAS from $2,000 to $25,000. It’s intended as a temporary cash flow boost for small and medium businesses that employ staff. It’s estimated to benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people.
There are conditions and points to note.
- Businesses with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million are eligible. Generally based on prior year turnover.
- Must employ workers that pay PAYG (normal payroll employees).
- The payment amount will be calculated based on the PAYG you pay for employees’ salary and wages. You will receive a payment equal to 50% of the amount of PAYG withheld up to a maximum payment of $25,000
- The payment will be tax free.
- Remission of interest and penalties incurred on or after 23 Jan 2020.
- The payment will be a credit on the activity statement system – also known as your Integrated Client Account – ICA. Ask your BAS Agent bookkeeper for a statement of this account.
- If you have a BAS debt with the ATO, the credit will reduce the debt.
- If the rebate places you in a refund position, the ATO will issue a refund to your bank account within 14 days.
- Quarterly lodgers will be eligible to receive the payment for the quarters ending March 2020 and June 2020.
- The activity statements must still be lodged on time.
- Quarterly lodgers will be eligible to receive the payment for the quarters ending March 2020 and June 2020.
- Monthly lodgers will be eligible for months of March, April, May , June 2020.
ATO: Repayment plan leniency
If your ATO BAS debt is too tough right now, the ATO is showing generous leniency to some clients. Ask your BAS Agent or Accountant to contact them or contact the ATO yourself to negotiate a smoother payment plan.
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT : Apprentices and Trainees
The Government is supporting small business to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible
employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to
9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an
apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Fees Waived Announced Thur 19 March 2020.
Brisbane City Council ( here) and Melbourne City Council (here) have announced a relief package on fees and charges. Select fees will be waived until at least 30 June 2020. Businesses that have paid these fees since 1 March will have them refunded. Special consideration has been given to hospitality.
BCC Council fees waived
The banks are loosening their grip ever so slightly. Some of these changes are subject to conditions and individual circumstances so speak to your business banker. We think the banks can do more so start talking to your bank and build a relationship – it can help. Don’t assume you will automatically get the bank benefits. Ask about restructuring, repayment deferrals, interest decreases and waiving fees.
19 Mar 20; The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut interest rates to an all time low cash rate 0.25% which impacts bank lending.
These are some changes by NAB, CBA, Westpac, that may be useful:
- NAB: Unsecured fast loans increased to $100,000. Increase in daily banking transfer limits to free up cash movement.
- NAB: Deferral of business loan repayments up to 3 months.
- NAB: Extension of business loan term by up to 3 months.
- CBA: reducing rates on business loans by 25 basis points.
- CBA: increasing trading hours for commercial lending to speed up business loans.
- CBA: deferring payments and waiving fees for 90 days on loans and overdrafts.
- CBA: waiving merchant terminal fees on CBA terminals for 90 days.
- CBA: deferring repayment on vehicle and equipment finance loans.
- Westpac: Fee free redraws
- Westpac: Business Loan deferred repayments up to 3 months
- Westpac: Option to extend Business Loan term by up to 3 months
- Westpac: Restructuring and consolidating loans
- Westpac: Access to term deposit funds without reduction in interest rate
- Westpac: Deferred payments for Business Credit Cards
We understand the food businesses may be struggling right now and not feel the benefits from those listed here. There will be rolling changes to legislation and obligations so keep checking in with your BAS Agent Bookkeeper or Accountant to know what you can take advantage of.
Jump over to our other page for some offers by other related businesses and where to find information.
For bushfires or drought relief, contact the numbers listed on the ATO page here
Restaurant Bookkeepers Australia is a cloud focused business model which means our team can work from remote locations anywhere for any business. However, we take your health and our health very seriously. All work will continue as usual unless otherwise advised, but we will avoid any client facing interaction unless via tele-conference until further notice. We can easily take on new clients so drop us a line and we will show you how to get started remotely.