Parliament resumes on 23 March and is expected to pass the necessary bills to grant these concessions, however only when the detail is known can we give you an accurate picture of how these concessions will occur – however these were the announcements made by the Prime Minister.
1. Instant asset write-off extended and increased to $150k
- The instant asset write-off threshold will be increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and
- expanded to include access for businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500m (up from $50m) until 30 June 2020.
- Through to 30 June 2021 Businesses with a turnover of less than $500m will be able to deduct an additional 50% of the asset cost in the year of purchase.
- These measures start on 12 March 2020.
2. Cash flow assistance payments for SMEs
- A Boost Cash Flow for Employers of up to $25,000 (with a minimum payment of $2,000).
- The payment will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50m
- that employ staff, between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020.
- The payment will be tax free.
- Businesses will receive payments of 50% of their PAYG withholding shown on their BAS or IAS from 28 April 2020 and delivered as a credit in their BAS or IAS form.
- Small businesses eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% 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.
3. Household stimulus payment of $750 for pensioners
- A one-off $750 stimulus payment will be made to pensioners, social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.
- Payments will be made from 31 March 2020
- The payment will be tax free and not count as income for Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.
- There will be 1 payment per eligible recipient. If a person qualifies for the one-off payment in multiple ways, they will only receive 1 payment.
4. ATO relief
On 12 March 2020, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announced a series of administrative concessions to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19, which include:
- deferring by up to 4 months the payment of tax amounts due through the BAS (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, FBT assessments and excise by affected businesses;
- allowing affected businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting to get quicker access to any GST refunds;
- allowing affected businesses to vary PAYG instalment amounts to zero for the April 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters;
- remitting any interest and penalties, incurred by affected businesses on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities; and
- allowing affected businesses to enter into low-interest payment plans for their existing and ongoing tax liabilities.
The ATO assistance is not automatic, taxpayers must first contact the ATO to request assistance, and if eligible, the ATO will tailor the assistance package for the relevant taxpayer.