Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19

Kelvin Smith
Apr 21, 2020
Here News & Updates
minute read

FAQ Sections:

1.     Here Business & Wealth updates

2.     Information for businesses

3.     JobKeeper payments

4.     Information for individuals

5.    Factsheets / Useful references & links

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Here Business & Wealth updates

How can Here Business & Wealth help me?

We’re offering Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and/or an advice service to our clients.

The BCP addresses the following key areas:

  1. Cashflow
  2. Asset protection
  3. Banks and funding
  4. Management team planning
  5. Your employees
  6. Customers and suppliers
  7. Mental health support

For more information on this service, please chat to us or refer here to learn more.

Are you still available to work on my affairs?

We have 100% capacity. Our cloud technologies mean we can continue providing you with assistance.

We have shifted to remote working, but we have access to all the same tools we’ve always used to assist you. We understand this is a trying time. We’re here to help, so please reach out and discuss your circumstances with us.

How do I get full access to the government stimulus?

It is critical that you obtain professional accounting and taxation advice in order to access the full cash benefits you are entitled to.

Now is the time to consider:

  • JobKeeper Work Plan - The ATO has specific actions that must take place within tight timeframes for an employer to receive the JobKeeper payment. If you are en eligible employer, with eligible employees, our work plan assists you to meet the ATO deadlines in order to receive the maximum benefits.
  • BAS lodgements  – So you will receive your “Cash Boost” from the Government (you must lodge your March 2020 BAS to receive this).
  • Applications for Loan Funding to provide short term working capital from [State Government / Banks] at no or low interest rates – The Government / Banks require up to date Financial Statements, Tax Returns, financial data and A&L Statements to approve these loans.
  • Bank Assistance - Putting a hold on business and home loan repayments – Banks need up to date Financial Statements and A&L Statements to approve this.
  • FBT Return for any business Fringe Benefits – If you don’t lodge an FBT Return for the year ended 31 March 2020, the ATO can go back an unlimited number of years to audit you for FBT items. If you lodge an FBT return. The ATO is limited to going back only 3 years. Lodging an FBT Return “de-risks” your business. Complete the FBT Questionnaire.
  • Tax Planning for 2020 – Seeing 2020 will almost certainly be a 'lower profits year', we’ll be able to advise you on the best way of allocating your income to family members and your business entities to give you the best tax outcome. 
  • Business Continuity Planning - Cash Flow and Strategy Planning for when your business starts up again. 

When helping you in the above work areas, we can estimate the amount you will get back as a credit against your Activity Statement or as a cash refund.

How soon can you get started on my work?

Many of our clients are wanting their work done ASAP to receive the stimulus payments, to have bank loan repayments put on hold and to prepare Government loan applications. We are doing our work as fairly as possible and have decided on a 'first paid, first complete' system.

We’ll send you an invoice for an upfront payment, and as soon as we receive your payment (plus payment for any outstanding invoices), we’ll get started on your work as soon as we can (bearing in mind our first paid, first complete system).

What payment options/terms are available?

Here Business & Wealth has a payment arrangement with QuickFee (similar to Afterpay/ZipPay) where we'll get paid immediately for our work, and you can pay off your QuickFee account over a 6 or 12-month period. This allows us to get started on your work immediately and enables you to spread the cost over a period of time that suits you.

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Information for businesses

What government assistance is available to businesses?

  • Wage Subsidy Scheme
    A tax free payment worth 100% of the tax that SME businesses withhold from their employee salaries up to a maximum of $100,000. A minimum of $20,000 will be received by businesses even if they are not required to withhold tax.
  • Apprentice/Trainee Support
    A wage subsidy of 50% for up to 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.
  • JobKeeper Payments
    The JobKeeper payments will be paid to businesses that have experienced a downturn of more than 30% (50% for businesses over $1bn). Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly subsidy payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020. The first payments will be made on 1 May 2020. More details can be found below and you can enrol for the JobKeeper scheme on the ATO website.
  • SME Guarantee Scheme
    The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 50% to SME lenders for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital.
  • The Australian Banking Association
    The ABA has announced that Australian Banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses for 6 months.
  • Instant Asset Write-Off
    An increase in the Instant Asset Write-Off from $30,000 to $150,000 for eligible assets installed or ready for use by 30 June 2020.
  • Payroll Tax Assistance (WA State Government)
    In the form of a $17,500 one off payment for businesses with a turnover of between $1m - $4m through to the deferral of any payroll tax payments until 21 July 2020 for businesses with taxable wages of less than $7.5m.
  • Accelerated Depreciation
    For assets acquired up to 30 June 2021 whereby 50% of the cost of the eligible asset will be deducted upon installation and the balance written off under existing rules.
  • Temporary Insolvency Relief (ASIC)
    Directors will be temporarily relieved of their duty to prevent insolvent trading with respect to any debts incurred in the ordinary course of business for a period of 6 months. Cases of dishonesty and fraud will still be subject to criminal penalties.

Refer to our recent article about the $189b Govt Stimulus Package for more information.

What State Government (WA) assistance is being provided?

  • $607 million stimulus package to support WA households and small businesses in the wake of COVID-19
  • $402 million to freeze household fees and charges until at least July 1, 2021
  • Freeze will apply to entire 'household basket', including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, emergency services levy and public transport fares
  • Energy Assistance Payment (EAP) doubled to $600 to support vulnerable Western Australians, including pensioner
  • $114 million in additional measures to support small businesses
  • Small businesses that pay payroll tax will receive a one-off grant of $17,500 (as per above 'Payroll Tax Assistance' under the previous question)
  • $1 million payroll tax threshold brought forward by six months to July 1, 2020
  • Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can defer payroll tax payments until July 21, 2020
  • Building on $760 million announced in the past few months to stimulate economy
  • Stimulus measures made possible due to McGowan Government's responsible financial management and strong budget surplus

For more, refer to the WA State Government website.

What is the eligibility criteria for the government stimulus?

  • You must be in business
  • PAYGW Registered
  • ABN Registered
  • An employer, or registered as employer
  • Lodging Activity Statements (BAS and IAS)

WARNING – Employers must be established before 12 March 2020. The payments will only be available to active eligible employers (who held an ABN) as at 12 March 2020.

How do I access the government stimulus?

This will be done automatically when lodging your March BAS as the ATO will automatically credit the PAYGW based on whether you are monthly or quarterly reporter.

What can I do about my existing bank facilities?

It’s best to get on the front foot with your bank to see what you can do with your existing loan facilities. Each of the banks have their own offerings on how to help.

Can I pause my mortgage payments?

The big four banks have all announced that their customers will be able to pause mortgage payments - refer to our loan freeze factsheet.

I need to borrow more money, can you help me with this?

We are working with a non-bank lender who can provide up to a $100,000 line of credit with no set up or establishment fees. Please chat to us for more details.

What should I do about cash flow?

Chat to us, we can help you prepare a cash flow outlining how cash will be impacted by revenue drops of X%.

Is my business insolvent?

This has to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Am I entitled to both the business and the individual stimulus payments at the same time?

Yes, if you are an active eligible employer who held an ABN as at 12 March 2020 you may be eligible for both business and individual stimulus payments. Please get in touch so we can advise you on your specific circumstances.

What happens to my business if I get sick and am admitted to hospital?

If you have to self-quarantine and/or are admitted to hospital and you don’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA), no-one aside from you will be able to make important business and financial decisions on your behalf.

We strongly recommend you have an up to date EPOA and Will, and that your family know where they are stored.

We’ve teamed up with a firm of solicitors who we have worked closely with for many years to offer you a fast and easy way to get these documents prepared, get in touch for more information.

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JobKeeper Payments

What is the eligibility criteria for businesses?

  • 1 March 2020, you carried on a business in Australia.
  • You employed at least one eligible employee on 1 March 2020.
  • Your business has faced a 30% fall in turnover (for an aggregated turnover of$1 billion or less
  • Your business had an ABN on 12 March 202
  • Your business lodged, on or before 12 March 2020, a 2018–19 income tax return showing that it had an amount included in its assessable income in relation to it carrying on a business; or an activity statement or GST return for any tax period that started after 1 July 2018 and ended before 12 March 2020 showing that it made a taxable, GST-free or input-taxed sale.
  • Note: A discretion to give further time after 12 March 2020 may apply in limited circumstances.

How do I enrol my business for JobKeeper payments?

You can enrol on the ATO website.

The ATO has specific actions that must take place within tight timeframes for an employer to receive the JobKeeper payment. We've listed the actions that we can assist you with on our JobKeeper Work Plan page.

How do I nominate my employees for JobKeeper?

Before you enrol to receive JobKeeper payments, you need to notify each eligible employee that you intend to nominate them.

You must tell those employees that you have nominated them as an eligible employee. They must agree to be nominated by you by completing the JobKeeper employee nomination notice and returning it to you for your records.

The nomination form does not need to be provided to the ATO however employers are required to keep a copy of the completed form as part of their record keeping obligations under the law.

Is there a safety net for sole traders and how do I access funds for living expenses and ongoing bills?

  1. Sole traders may be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment if their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 30% or more, assuming a turnover of less than $1 billion.
  2. If your income reduces by 20% you will be eligible to early access of super benefits - up to $20K.
  3. If your income reduces to $0 - apply to Centrelink for Jobseekers payments (you can only access Jobkeeper payments OR Jobseeker payments, you cannot access both at the same time).

For more information on support for sole traders, read the Australian Government Factsheet.

What are the JobKeeper rules for the self-employed and other types of businesses?

  • Self employed: People who are self-employed will be eligible for the payment provided they meet certain criteria.
  • Self employed and have another job: An individual can only receive JobKeeper Payments from one source. However, if you are eligible for a JobKeeper Payment, you can also receive income from other sources including another job.
  • Partnership: One partner can be nominated to receive a JobKeeper Payment along with any eligible employees, noting a partner cannot be an employee.
  • Trust: A trusts can receive JobKeeper payments for any eligible employees. Where beneficiaries of a trust only receive distributions, rather than being paid salary and wages for work done, one individual beneficiary (that is, not a corporate beneficiary) can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment.
  • Company: An eligible business can nominate only one director to receive the payment, as well as any eligible employees. Only one person in a director capacity may receive the payment and that individual may not receive the payment as an employee.
  • Shareholder: An eligible business that pays shareholders that provide labour in the form of dividends will only be able to nominate one shareholder to receive the JobKeeper Payment.
  • Landlords that are not registered as a business: Only businesses with employees or self-employed people are eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.

Are employees that are on paid or unpaid leave (including maternity/paternity leave) eligible for the JobKeeper payments?

Yes, unless they are currently in receipt of Government Paid Parental Leave or Dad and Partner Pay. If your business is an are an eligible employer and the employee is also eligible, they will receive the payment whether working, on leave, or have been stood down.

Are employees that have been stood down (or are on long term leave) eligible for JobKeeper payments?

Employees who have been stood down from work under the Fair Work Act 2009 without pay may still be eligible employees as long as they were in your employment and met the eligibility criteria on 1 March 2020.

You will need to have paid them at least the minimum amount of $1,500 for each fortnight you claim for, to receive the JobKeeper payment.

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Information for individuals

What government assistance is available to individuals?

  • $550 Coronavirus Supplement payment (fortnightly)
    Commencing 27 April. This payment will be taxable and will extend from currently registered social security recipients to Sole Traders, job seekers and casual employees plus those persons caring for someone infected or isolated.
  • $750 Economic Support payment
    To various social security recipients. A second payment will also be provided so long as the Coronavirus Supplement payment is NOT received. These payments will be made on 31 March and 13 July respectively.
  • Access to Superannuation
    Individuals under financial duress will have access of up to $10,000 for the 2019-20 financial year and up to $10,000 for the 2020-21 financial year. Financial duress will encompass the unemployed, people made redundant or have their working hours reduced by 20% or more. Sole traders that have their businesses suspended or turnover reduced by 20% will also be eligible.

    For more information on the new rules regarding access to superannuation, refer to our COVID-19 Superannuation Factsheet.

What happens if I get sick and am admitted to hospital?

If you have to self-quarantine or are admitted to hospital and you don’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA), no-one aside from you will be able to make important financial decisions on your behalf.

We strongly recommend you have an up to date EPOA and Will, and that your family know where they are stored.

We’ve teamed up with a firm of solicitors who we have worked closely with for many years to offer you a fast and easy way to get these documents prepared, get in touch for more information.

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Factsheets/ Useful References & Links

Factsheets
References & Links
Article by
Kelvin Smith
As Director and co-founder of Here Business & Wealth, Kelvin works closely with individuals and business owners to provide the best possible guidance and advice relevant to their specific needs.

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