Vic COVID Support + JobKeeper Update

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Vic COVID Support + JobKeeper Update

We thank all our clients for their patience during these uncertain times.Over the weekend, the Victorian Government announced a support package for businesses and along with these details we also have a JobKeeper update.

Victorian Government Assistance

We note that all Victorian Government assistance can be found on the Government’s website at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/financial-support-coronavirus-covid-19.

With the lock down extended and our road map out of lock downs being longer than anyone had anticipated, it’s a relief that the Government has finally acknowledged that it needs to support businesses and individuals that are suffering – and has announced the following assistance.

We note that limited information is available at this point, so please keep an eye on the Victorian Government website (https://www.business.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19/business-support/coronavirus-business-information) for full details.

Business Support Fund

Round 3 of the BSF has been announced which includes grants of up to $20,000 for businesses effected by the lock down. Rounds 1 and 2 were open to businesses receiving JobKeeper and employed staff, so we expect round 3 to have the same conditions. Keep an eye on the BSF web page at https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-support-package.

It is expected that applications will be open by the end of the week.

Hospitality Business Grant

With hospitality being hit particularly hard, grants of up to $30,000 are available. Again more details to come soon.

Waiving Liquor Licence Fees

The Government is waiving liquor licence fees until the end of 2021. We don’t believe there is an application process for this – it should just automatically occur (we image you will still need to go through the usual renewal process).

Ski Fields Grants

With ski fields being seasonal and shut down for the entirety of their season, belated grants of up to $20,000 are available for businesses in the Alpine region.

Payroll Tax Relief

The Government is extending payroll tax relief for businesses with a payroll under $10mil, “deferring” payroll tax for the 2021 financial year. We note the use of the word “deferral” in the Government announcement (instead of waiver), and suspect that payroll tax will still be due at a later point in time.

Stamp Duty Reduction

Buyers of commercial and industrial property in regional areas will receive a 50% reduction in stamp duty from 1 January 2021.

Vacant Residential Land Tax Exemption

The extra land tax that applies to vacant residential properties will be waived for properties vacant in 2020.

Grants to Shift to Online Sales

Grants of undisclosed amounts will be available to businesses to help them migrate across to digital sales platforms to help enable online sales. Probably 6 months too late, but it will no doubt be useful for those businesses that have not been able to make the shift yet.

Sole Traders

Support is coming soon for sole traders, so keep an eye out on the Government’s support web page detailed at the start of this email.

COVID Safe Plan

When businesses reopen, they are required to have a COVID safe plan. Head to https://www.business.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-safe-business/creating-a-covid-safe-workplace to read more and design yours.

We believe there is a small grant coming to help businesses implement theirs – again keep an eye on the Government website.

FairWork Amendments Continue

Way back in March / April the Government amended the FairWork rules to give employers more flexibility (such as requiring staff to work different days, locations, etc). These changes were scheduled to end in September.

These rules have been extended until March for the following employers:

  • Those that are receiving JobKeeper
  • Those that did receive JobKeeper in September but are not eligible for payments from October due to not having a 30% drop in turnover, but do have a drop in turnover of 10% or more

To continue to apply the amended FairWork rules where your turnover drop is between 10% and 30% (i.e. you no longer qualify for JobKeeper).

JobKeeper Update

Most aspects of the JobKeeper extension have been finalised, but the following items are still unknown:

  • The process to register for the JobKeeper extension;
  • Time-frames to register for the JobKeeper extension (given it is based on actual turnover, this may not be known for weeks after the end of September) and whether back payments will be allowed; and
  • Details of alternate turnover tests.

The ATO have a great web page that is a timeline of all updates and is worth keeping an eye on at https://www.ato.gov.au/general/jobkeeper-payment/in-detail/jobkeeper—timeline-of-content-updates/. Details for the above (plus any other changes) will appear here.

Registering for the JobKeeper Extension

We are hearing that businesses will need to re-enrol for the JobKeeper extension, and we expect that this will be done via the existing JobKeeper area of MyGov and the ATO Business Portal.

Measuring Turnover

“Turnover” is pretty much defined as the sales figure that goes on your BAS, so when comparing the September quarter’s turnover to the prior year, you can pretty much just use your BAS reports.

We note that given the definition of turnover, it will be really easy for the ATO to find those businesses that did not have a 30% drop simply by comparing BAS’s.

Summary of JobKeeper Rules

This is pretty much a repeat of our previous email, but we through it was worth outlining again.

Now Until 27 September

If the business had a drop in turnover of 30% or more in any month from March until September (when compared to that same month last year), the business is eligible for JobKeeper until 27 September.

Employees may be eligible if they were employed at 1 July and were permanent or long term casual. All employees, regardless of hours worked receive the same $1,500 per fortnight minimum wage guarantee.

28 September to 3 January (Extension Period #1)

Businesses that suffered a 30% drop in turnover for the July to September quarter are eligible for JobKeeper from 28 September to 3 January. We note that it is not a requirement that you were already getting JobKeeper to get the extension (i.e. you could first become eligible at the end of September and get paid the JobKeeper Extension).

Employees may be eligible if they were employed at 1 July and were permanent or long term casual.

Employees and business owners that worked 20 hours or more per week on average during February or June (whichever works out higher) may be eligible for a $1,200 per fortnight minimum wage guarantee. Those under 20 hours may be eligible for $750 per fortnight.

Some businesses will be able to continue applying the relaxed FairWork rules.

4 January to 28 March (Extension Period #2)

Businesses that suffered a 30% drop in turnover for the October to December quarter are eligible for JobKeeper from 4 January to 28 March. Again, you could first become eligible for JobKeeper here and receive only JobKeeper Extension #2.

Employees may be eligible if they were employed at 1 July and were permanent or long term casual.

Employees and business owners that worked 20 hours or more per week on average during February or June (whichever works out higher) may be eligible for a $1,000 per fortnight minimum wage guarantee. Those under 20 hours may be eligible for $650 per fortnight.

Some businesses will be able to continue applying the relaxed FairWork rules.

All the Other Requirements

All of the other requirements continue on unchanged. This means things like:

  • Employees can only receive JobKeeper from one employer;
  • Casuals cannot get JobKeeper if they have a permanent job elsewhere;
  • Alternative turnover tests may be available;
  • Requirement to hold an ABN;
  • Employees must be paid any JobKeeper top up amounts in the normal pay (i.e. JobKeeper is still a reimbursement scheme;
  • Under 18’s need to be “independent”;
  • Employees need to be Australian residents or holders of a nominated Visa;
  • Employees cannot be receiving Government parental pay or Workcover;
  • And so on

We are Here to Help

We are only a phone call or email away should you have any questions.

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