Coronavirus (Covid - 19) Important Information

In light of the recent developments around the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) and the uncertainty we are all facing day today, we felt it important to assure you that we expect no major interruptions to the services that we provide to you. This page will be updated regularly with important information.

LAST UPDATE 01:27 SATURDAY 11 APRIL 2020 

 

 

Team Precision

 

What measures have we taken to manage the Coronavrus emergency?

 

As of 12 March, Precision has implemented the following measures:

  • We are following the recommendations of the Australian Department of Health, the advice of The Federal Government, The Department of Education, Skills and Employment, and The NSW Government  and have implemented the practice of social distancing. As a result, all meetings unless specifically discussed prior to the appointment will be conducted via Zoom, Skype, Facetime or other means;
  • Team Members are not working from our office;
  • We are refraining from direct personal contact such as handshaking, high fives and fist bumps. This measure is adopted to reduce transmission and minimise exposure to possible illness;
  • Any Team Member that has experienced any symptoms, or has been in contact with anyone who has experienced any symptoms will be required to self isolate;

At Precision, we will remain flexible and ready to adapt to any changes that may be recommended or mandated by either The Federal or State Governments. The health and safety of our Team Members, Clients and Network Partners is as always our highest priority. As American Author Robert Byrne said, “Everything is in a state of flux, including the status quo.” However, for Team Precision we are up to the challenge and ready to go.

 

Our cloud systems mean that you can always be in contact if you need us

 

While many of us don’t know if we’ll be working from our office or working from our homes in coming weeks, at Precision, we have invested heavily in the latest technology over the past years. In fact, our systems are award winning, and this means we can keep assisting you no matter what may happen. Whether there is a lockdown, shutdown etc, we will be able to help you.

All members of our team are able to work remotely and have access to all the technology systems and tools they use daily to assist our clients. Most of our clients may not know this but for the last eighteen months, Kelly has been working from home 40% of the time. So we have complete confidence in our systems.

Please keep emailing or phoning when you need us, and we will be here to help you!

 

Good advice is needed now more than ever

 

The situation surrounding the Coronavirus is in constant motion but rest assured we are on top of the information that is coming out of The Federal Government in Canberra and The State Government in Sydney. If you have any general queries, requests for bookings for meetings or requests for documents, please feel free to contact us at reception@ptam.com.au or 1300 007 826. We can schedule Zoom, Skype, Facetime meetings as well as staying in touch via traditional means.

 

Government Stimulus Measures

 

On 23 March 2020, The Federal Government’s coronavirus economic stimulus package – This includes $17.6 billion for the Government’s first economic stimulus package, $90 billion from the RBA and $15 billion from the Government to deliver easier access to finance, and $66.1 billion – was passed by the Federal government unanimously.

In separate legislation, the government set aside a further $40 billion for urgent and unforeseen spending associated with the pandemic, likely to cause a recession. The packages have been marketed as a measure to protect the economy by maintaining confidence, supporting investment and keeping people in their jobs. The key tax measures include:

 

Support for workers and households

 

Coronavirus supplement

 

The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight.  This will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

The Coronavirus supplement will be paid for the next 6 months. Eligible income support recipients will receive the full amount of the $550 Coronavirus supplement on top of their payment each fortnight.

You will receive access if you’re:

  • a permanent employee who has been stood down or lost your job;
  • a sole trader, self-employed, a casual or contract workers who meet the income tests as a result of the economic downturn due to the Coronavirus;
  • caring for someone who’s affected by coronavirus.
 
Asset testing from 27 April will be waived for 6 months, except for Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit. You can’t access employer entitlements, such as annual leave or sick leave, or income protection insurance at the same time as getting JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance for job seekers. The Coronavirus supplement will commence from 27 April 2020. Expanded access for payments and faster claims processing will commence from 25 March 2020.
 
More information can be found here. To register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment – Coronavirus (COVID-19) follow this link and instructions here.
 
 

Payments to support households

 

The Government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. Around half of those that benefit are pensioners.

These payments will support households to manage the economic impact of the Coronavirus:
 
• The first payment (announced on 12 March 2020) will be available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders at any time from 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020 inclusive;
• The second payment (announced on 22 March 2020) will be available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders on 10 July 2020.
 
A person can be eligible to receive both the first and second support payment. However, they can only receive one $750 payment in each round of payments, even if they qualify in each round of the payments in multiple ways.
 
The payment will be exempt from taxation and will not count as income for the purposes of Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and veteran payments. Payments will be made by Services Australia or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
 

For more information and eligibility for the first and second payment click here.

 

Early release of superannuation

 

The Government will allow individuals in financial stress as a result of the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

Eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov for access of up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for another three months. They will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

To see if you are eligible and for more Info, click here.

 

Temporary reduction of superannuation minimum drawdown rates

 

The Government is temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for 2019-20 and 2020-21. This measure will benefit retirees by providing them with more flexibility as to how they manage their superannuation assets.

For more infomation on this measure, click here.

 

Reducing social security deeming rates

 

On top of the deeming rate changes made at the time of the first package, the Government is reducing the deeming rates by a further 0.25 percentage points to reflect the latest rate reductions by the RBA. As of 1 May 2020, the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent and the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent.

More information can be found here.

 

Assistance to business to keep people in a job

 

JobKeeper Payment

 

If your business has been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus you will be able to access a wages subsidy to continue paying your employees. Under the JobKeeper program, you will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of six months. This assistance will help you keep staff and will help you restart when the crisis is over.

Subsequently, eligible employers will be able to apply for the scheme by means of an online application. The first payment will be received by employers from the ATO in the first week of May. Eligible employers will need to identify eligible employees for JobKeeper Payments and must provide monthly updates to the ATO. Participating employers will be required to ensure eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax and notify each employee that they have been nominated as an eligible employee for the employer to receive the payment.

It is expected that more information will be provided about applying for the JobKeeper Payment, for businesses with employees and for the self-employed, on the ATO’s website.

Further information is available here:

 

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers

 

The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not‑for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000.  These payments will help businesses’ and not-for-profits’ cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.

Under the enhanced scheme, employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (up from 50 per cent), with the maximum payment being increased from $25,000 to $50,000. In addition, the minimum payment is being increased from $2,000 to $10,000. The payment will be available from 28 April 2020.

The payments are tax free, there will be no new forms and payments will flow automatically through the ATO.

Small and medium business entities with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers are eligible. NFPs entities, including charities, with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers will now also be eligible. This will support employment at a time where NFPs are facing increasing demand for services. To qualify for the additional payment, the entity must continue to be active.

• The payment will be delivered by the ATO as an automatic credit in the activity statement system from 28 April 2020 upon employers lodging eligible upcoming activity statements;
• Eligible employers that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary and wages will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of the amount withheld, up to a maximum payment of $50,000;
• Eligible employers that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $10,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax;
• The payments will only be available to active eligible employers established prior to 12 March 2020. However, charities which are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission will be eligible regardless of when they were registered, subject to meeting other eligibility requirements. This recognises that new charities may be established in response to the Coronavirus pandemic;
 
For monthly activity statement lodgers, the additional payments will be delivered as an automatic credit in the activity statement system. This will be equal to a quarter of their total initial Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payment following the lodgment of their June 2020, July 2020, August 2020 and September 2020 activity statements (up to a total of $50,000).
 
For quarterly activity statement lodgers the additional payments will be delivered as an automatic credit in the activity statement system. This will be equal to half of their total initial Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payment following the lodgment of their June 2020 and September 2020 activity statements (up to a total of $50,000).
 
The minimum payment will be applied to the entities’ first lodgment. An additional payment is also being made from 28 July 2020. Eligible entities will receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments received. This means that eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000 under both payments.

 

More information can be found here.

 

Regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business

 

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

 

The Government will establish the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme which will support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to get access to working capital to help them get them through the impact of the coronavirus.

Under the Scheme, the Government will guarantee 50 per cent of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs.

The Scheme will enhance lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit, supporting many otherwise viable SMEs to access vital additional funding to get through the impact of Coronavirus.

The Scheme will be available for new loans made by participating lenders until 30 September 2020.

The Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:

  • SMEs, including sole traders, with a turnover of up to $50 million;
  • Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower;
  • Loans will be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday;
  • Unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan.

The decision on whether to extend credit, and management of the loan, will remain with the lender.

 

Providing temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

 

The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The package also includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent.  The Corporations Act 2001 will be amended to provide temporary and targeted relief for companies to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus.

This builds on the support for business and business investment provided in our first economic support package, which included:

  • increasing the instant asset write off
  • backing business investment by providing accelerated depreciation deductions
  • supporting apprentices and trainees
  • targeted support for Coronavirus-affected regions and communities

 

Instant Asset Write-Off

 

The Government is increasing 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.

The Instant Asset Write-Off is due to revert to $1,000 for small businesses (turnover less than $10 million) from 1 July 2020. This proposal applies from announcement until 30 June 2020, for new or second-hand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe.

Further information can be found here.

 

Accelerated Depreciation

 

The Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short-term, by accelerating depreciation deductions.

The key features of the incentive are:
 
• benefit — deduction of 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;
• eligible businesses — businesses with aggregated turnover below $500 million; and
• eligible assets — new assets that can be depreciated under Division 40 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (i.e. plant, equipment and specified intangible assets, such as patents) acquired after announcement and first used or installed by 30 June 2021. Does not apply to second-hand Division 40 assets, or buildings and other capital works depreciable under Division 43.
 
Applies to eligible assets acquired after announcement and first used or installed by 30 June 2021.
 
 
 
 

Apprentice Wage Subsidies

 

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’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 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. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).

The subsidy will be available to small businesses employing fewer than 20 full-time employees who retain an apprentice or trainee. The apprentice or trainee must have been in training with a small business as at 1 March 2020.

Employers of any size and Group Training Organisations that re-engage an eligible out-of-trade apprentice or trainee will be eligible for the subsidy.
 
Employers will be able to access the subsidy after an eligibility assessment is undertaken by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider. Employers can register for the subsidy from early April 2020. Final claims for payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020.
 

 

Other Measures

 

• Administrative relief from the ATO for some tax obligations for people affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, the ATO is setting up a temporary shop front in Cairns within the next few weeks with dedicated staff specialising in assisting small business and is currently considering further temporary ‘shop fronts’ and face-to-face options.

• Assistance to severely affected regions – The Government has also committed to set aside $1 billion to support 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. This will include:

– The waiver of fees and charges for tourism businesses that operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the waiver of entry fees for Commonwealth National Parks.

– The provision of additional assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets or supply chains.

– Further targeted measures to further promote domestic tourism.

 

Important Links

 

Australian Government https://www.australia.gov.au/

Australian Government Treasury https://treasury.gov.au/

Australian Government Department of Health https://www.health.gov.au/

Australian Taxation Office https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Dealing-with-disasters/In-detail/Specific-disasters/COVID-19/

New South Wales Government https://www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au/get-help/covid-19-coronavirus-information-small-business-owners

Victorian Government https://www.vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria

Australian Capital Territory https://apps.treasury.act.gov.au/budget/covid-19-economic-survival-package

Tasmanian Government https://www.business.tas.gov.au/home

Queensland Government https://www.qld.gov.au/about/industry-recovery

Northern Territory Government https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/

South Australian Government https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/business-and-trade/running-a-business/preparing-a-business-continuity-plan

Western Australian Government https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/coronavirus-covid-19-western-australian-government-response

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