COVID-19 Update – Financial support available to you

If you are anything like me you’ve probably had enough of the terms ‘unprecedented’ and ‘uncertain’ when it comes to the description of the worldwide COVID-19 situation, so let’s just get it out there first up, I know it’s overwhelming. As a business owner myself, I’m living it! We are all in this together, so where to now and what support is available to you?
 
Just know, whether you are a business owner, sole trader or hold a mortgage for your own home or investment property, the government and banks have released a number of financial support packages and broader stimulus measures to assist those experiencing or pre-empting financial difficulty.
 
I’m going to be straight up with you, the announcements are coming through thick and fast, from the government (National and State) and then of course individual banks, and much of the detail is yet to be confirmed. Following is a brief summary of what we know now but please consider this as general and subject to change.
 
For more information on what measures are available to assist you to manage your expenses or mortgage, or for businesses, to keep your business viable and set you up so you are well placed on the other side of this event, call your GFG Finance Consultant direct or at the office on 07 3899 2866.
 
The number one thing to do at the moment is stay calm and know help is at hand.
 
Here’s what I know now:
 

Banking Financial Relief Packages – Small Business & Individuals

Australian banks, have committed to an industry-wide relief package to support customers experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19. Options may differ from lender to lender but include:
 

  • An opportunity to defer scheduled loan repayments (including interest only) on a case-by-case basis
  • Existing loan rearranging (for example, principal and interest to interest only) with the waiver of establishment fees
  • Waive early withdrawal fees for customers wishing to withdraw from term deposits and/or Farm Management Deposits
  • Working capital assistance
  • No interest rate increases

 
For more information on how your bank can help, CLICK HERE for a list of direct bank contacts.
 

Government Initiatives

In addition to the following, predominantly national initiatives, there are a number of state-based support measures available for business including government grants, low interest loans and payroll tax relief. I’m happy to point you in the right direction for more information on measures suitable to your situation, just give me a call.
 

SME Business

Increasing the instant asset write-off
An increase in the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020.

Backing business investment
The introduction of a time-limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.
 
Boosting cash flow for employers
This measure will provide up to $25,000 back to small and medium-sized businesses, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses. The payment will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff. The payment will be tax-free.
 
Staff retention support
Not-for-profits and small businesses with a turnover under $50 million may receive a tax-free cash payment of up to $100,000 to help them retain staff and continue operating.

Supporting 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 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.
 
Assistance for severely affected regions
The Government has set aside $1 billion to support those regions and communities that have been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the Coronavirus, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education. It will also include additional assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets or supply chains. Targeted measures will also be developed to further promote domestic tourism. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is also providing administrative relief for some tax obligations for people affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis.
 
Support for tourism operators and hospitality providers (Qld)
The Queensland Government has proposed fees and charges relief for tourism operators and hospitality providers including:

Individuals/Households

Stimulus payments
The Government will provide a one-off $750 payment to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. There will be one payment per eligible recipient. For example, if a person qualifies for the one-off payment in multiple ways, they will only receive one payment. The payment will be tax-free and will not count as income for Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.
 
If you’re not eligible to receive the coronavirus supplement, you could still be able to claim a $750 stimulus payment.
 
The payment will be made automatically from July 13 to about 5 million Australians, including those receiving the age pension, a carers allowance or family tax benefit and Commonwealth senior card holders.
 

Casuals and sole traders

If you’ve found yourself affected by the economic downturn, you’ll be able to access a “coronavirus supplement” of $550 a fortnight for the next six months.

That’s on top of other benefits — so if you’re already receiving payments through Jobseeker (formerly known as Newstart), you can claim both.

Sole traders and casual workers who are currently making less than $1,075 a fortnight will be eligible to receive the full supplement.
 

Superannuation Changes

Additionally, individuals struggling as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak will also be able to access some of their super early.
 
Eligible Aussies will be able to access up to $10,000 in 2019-20, and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.
To take advantage of the offer, you will need to apply online through myGov before July 1.
 
The government is also temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for 2019-20 and 2020-21.
 
If you’d like  to talk through current options available to help you manage your business or personal finance commitments here and now, please give us a call on 07 3899 2866 or click here to email us.

From the entire GFG team, we wish you and your family health and good vibes here and now!