COVID-19 Business Update – 20 August 2020
We hope you and your family are doing well. Read on for this week’s update, there is a lot to unpack!
Cashflow Boost and JobKeeper Audits
The ATO has announced that it will be actively conducting audits on the Cashflow Boost and JobKeeper scheme.
If you receive contact from the ATO to review your JobKeeper eligibility, you will be required to provide documentation as proof that you meet the eligibility criteria. This may include:
- Bank statements
- Tax invoices
- Profit & loss statements
- Employee details and contracts
- Application of turnover test
- Superannuation payments
Meanwhile, if the ATO would like to review your eligibility for the Cashflow Boost, you will be required to supply the following documentation:
- Bank statements
- Employee data and information
- Updated Single Touch Payroll Reporting
- Tax invoices
- Written communication between stakeholders to substantiate changes in payments
At this point, the ATO has not yet outlined the JobKeeper audit penalties. However, based on other audits, they are expected to be significant. If you have any concerns, please get in touch.
JobKeeper Changes Coming in September
You probably heard the announcement that JobKeeper will be extended from September through to March next year, with some changes.
On 7th August 2020, the government announced that the eligibility requirements will be changed so:
- Employers will only need to show one quarter of turnover decline to be eligible for payments in the quarters ending December 2020 and March 2021.
- Employers will be able to claim payments for eligible employees hired on or before 1st July 2020 (previously 1st March 2020).
- Employers can take into account the hours worked by an employee in the lead up to either 1st March 2020 or 1st July 2020 when determining the payment rate during the extension periods.
Please be aware there are more details to come.
JobKeeper Adjustments for Eligible Employees
The ATO has released guidance on the changes to the timing of an eligible employee.
From JobKeeper fortnights commencing 3rd August, the key date for eligible employees has changed to 1 July. In the past, an employee had to be on the books as of the 1st of March in order to be eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy. This change is to allow for businesses that started opening up and taking on new employees after March.
Any full time or part time worker as of 1 July or any casual employee with over 12 months regular and consistent service of a business is an eligible employee for JobKeeper purposes, and must be included in the JobKeeper scheme provided they meet the criteria on the ATO nomination form.
Full time or part employees who commenced work after 1 March and before 1 July will now be eligible. However, there are also several other categories of employees who might become eligible under this change over this time frame:
- Casuals who with the extended date now meet the 12 months service requirement;
- Employees who turned 18;
- Employees who meet the Visa requirements.
All eligible employees must be provided the nomination notice by this Friday 21st August.
JobKeeper Key Dates
The ATO’s website has an up-to-date listing of JobKeeper Key Dates including the enrolment deadline for new eligible employees.
The next phase of JobKeeper will start at the end of September at a reduced rate of $1200 per fortnight for full-time workers and those working for more than 20 hours per week, from $1500 per fortnight previously. Those working for less than 20 hours a week will receive $750 per fortnight.
From 4th January 2021 the payments will further decrease to $1000 per fortnight for full-time workers, and to $650 per fortnight for those working less than 20 hours per week.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
TPAR Reports Lodgement
Just a reminder that your TPAR (Taxable Payments Annual Report) is due on the 28th August 2020. The TPAR currently needs to be lodged by businesses in the following industries:
This year there are changes as to which businesses need to report. Business in the following industries will need to lodge a TPAR: Building and construction, Cleaning services, Courier services, Road freight services, Information technology services, Security, Investigation or surveillance and/or mixed services (one or more of the services listed).
If you require some guidance, feel free to get in touch with us.
Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty
The Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty was introduced in March 2020 to allow employers to disclose and pay previously unpaid Super Guarantee Charges that they owe their employees from 1 July 1992 to 31 March 2018.
The benefits of the amnesty include:
- Tax deductions for payments of the Superannuation Guarantee Charge
- No administrative penalty of $20 per employee
- No Part 7 penalties (which could otherwise be 200% of the SG Charge owing).
Employers need to apply for the amnesty by 7 September 2020. You can find more information on the ATO website.
Paying your employees’ super is a very important part of being an employer. So if you would like to discuss this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Early Access to Super
The Government has extended the deadline for cash-strapped Australians to dip into their super to make ends meet with the early access superannuation scheme extended until 31 December.
The original scheme to allow cash to be drawn out of retirement funds permitted $10,000 before 1 July and a further $10,000 after that.
1 in 3 Businesses Have Gone Cashless
Data from the latest report by payments company Spare showed that Australian businesses have experienced an increase in cashless payments during the pandemic.
In recent months, one in three businesses have turned cashless – accepting 95% or more transactions through debit or credit cards.
Support for Victorian businesses
To support businesses impacted by restrictions in Victoria, one-off grants are available to eligible businesses under the Business Support Fund. These include:
- $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in recognition of longer time under restrictions
- $5,000 for employing businesses in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire)
Businesses who have already received a Business Support Fund – Expansion grant, or have applied for one, do not need to re-apply. Eligible applicants will automatically receive this additional allocation.
You can find more details here or contact us if you have any questions.
Shop Local to Kickstart Economic Recovery
Local small businesses are a vital part of our economy and the communities they represent. According to the World Bank Group, small- and medium-sized businesses account for about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide.
While the government is trying its best to protect the economy, there are many ways people can do their part and support local small businesses. Here are ways you can help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Purchase gift cards from your local stores.
- Shop online, but keep it local.
- Order takeaway food and drinks from your local restaurants.
- Be a little more generous than usual when giving tips.
- Leave positive reviews online and promote them on social media.
- Postpone instead of cancelling.
- Join online classes if local businesses offer this option to follow social restrictions.
Take Online Payments Safely
The pandemic has significantly changed our lives including the way we shop and make payments. As e-commerce and online payments increasingly gain popularity, it is important for small businesses to adapt.
As a responsible business owner, you must ensure that your customers’ data are protected to gain their trust. This article from Entrepreneur shares some security tips when accepting online payments.
- Choose a secure eCommerce platform and processor.
- Educate yourself and your employees.
- Verify the transaction and more.
When customers trust you, they will continue supporting your business. Ultimately, this will benefit your bottom line.
Avoiding COVID-19 Online Scams
Recently, there has been a significant increase in COVID-19-related online scams that steal your personal data, impersonate authorities, offer fraudulent medical goods and services, and make fake requests for charitable donations. Below are some tips from Google Safety Center to keep you from falling victim to these scams.
- Know how scammers may reach you– Aside from emails, they may also use text messages, automated calls, and malicious websites.
- Check trusted sources directly– Scammers may pose as trusted and authoritative sources. So directly visit reliable sources instead to get the latest factual information.
- Be cautious of requests for personal or financial information, pause and evaluate before sharing– Do not provide confidential information such as logins, bank details, and addresses to suspicious or unverified sources. Donate directly through non-profits.
- Double-check links and email addresses before clicking– Fake links imitate established websites by adding extra random letters and numbers or words, so be extra careful and check before you click.
- Search to see if it’s been reported– Copy and paste the email address, phone number, or suspicious portion of the message on your search engine to check if it has already been reported.
- Add an extra layer of security to your account– Add two-factor authentications to your accounts for extra protection online.
Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended
The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. The second phase will kick off on October 1 with some changes.
If you need help to access these loans or you want to find out if you are eligible, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.
Instant Asset Write-Off available til December
The Instant Asset Write-off is available until 31 December 2020, which means Australian businesses (who meet the eligibility requirements) can invest in assets to support their business. The instant asset write-off applies on a per asset basis, so eligible businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets provided they each cost less than $150,000.
You can find more information on which assets can you claim as an immediate deduction here, or contact us so we can walk you through the different thresholds, exclusions, and limits.
Get in touch
Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.