Coronavirus information and support for small businesses
The following information has been collated from various Australian government sources. Direct links to the original source are provided for additional information. (Information updated on 23rd March 2020)
Information included on this page:
- Statements from the Prime Minister
- Guidance from the Federal Government
- Guidance from the Federal Health Department
- Banks Relief Package
- Cash Flow
- Apprentices and Trainees
- Instant Asset Write-Off (IAWO)
- Backing Business Investment (BBI)
- Income Support
- Early access to superannuation
- Supporting the flow of credit
- Financially Distressed Businesses
- Employer and Business Obligations
- Assistance for Affected Regions, Communities and Industries
- Assistance and Events
- Information by State/Territory
Stay up-to-date with the latest facts from the Federal Government
Stay up-to-date with the latest statements from the Prime Minister
Federal Health Department
Stay up-to-date with the latest facts from the Federal Health Department
Banks announce Small Business Relief Package
Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.
Tax-free boost for employers
The following payment is open for small to medium businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million.
Help is available to cover the costs of employee wages and salaries equal to 50 per cent of PAYG withheld for businesses that withhold tax, with a minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $25,000 over six months.
Businesses that pay salary and wages but are not required to withhold tax will also receive the minimum payment of $2,000.
This will be a tax free payment, benefiting around 690,000 businesses employing 7.8 million people.
Apprentices and Trainees
The following payment is available for businesses employing fewer than 20 full-time employees who retail an apprentice or trainee, or, where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer.
Eligible businesses will receive 50% of an apprentice or trainee’s wage. For each apprentice or trainee, the Government will provide up to $7,000 in wage assistance per quarter (up to a maximum of $21,000).
This will support up to 70,000 small businesses employing around 117,000 apprentices.
Instant Asset Write-Off (IAWO)
Increasing the threshold
The following is available for businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million).
The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000. The threshold applies on a per asset basis, so eligible businesses can immediately write‑off multiple assets.
This applies from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, for new or second‑hand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe.
Expanding the threshold will mean an additional 5,300 businesses who employ around 1.9 million Australians will be able to access the IAWO for the first time.
Backing Business Investment (BBI)
The following is available for businesses with an aggregated turnover below $500 million and purchasing certain new depreciable assets.
A time limited 15 month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions.
This applies to eligible assets acquired from 12 March 2020 and first used or installed by 30 June 2021.
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 supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories. These changes will apply for the next six months and will not be income tested.
Early access to superannuation
Individuals affected by the coronavirus can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. You will be able to apply for early release of your superannuation from mid-April 2020.
Supporting the flow of credit
The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will provide support for these businesses. Under the Scheme, the Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to small and medium enterprise (SME) lenders for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital. This will enhance these lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit, which will result in SMEs being able to access additional funding to help support them through the upcoming months.
Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
There is a temporary increase to 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.
Your obligations, tax support and who to contact
Find out how to meet your employer and business obligations and isolation requirements if you’re affected by the coronavirus.
Health and safety
As an employer, you’re required to ensure the health and safety of your workers. Find out the latest information with regards to workplace laws, health alerts and resources.
Super guarantee payments
During this time you still need to meet your super guarantee obligations for your employees. Read more here – Employers affected by disaster.
Additionally, if you haven’t paid the right amount of super guarantee (SG) to your workers, the SG amnesty is the time to come forward. If you disclose your SG shortfalls during the amnesty, you can rectify past unpaid SG without incurring charges or penalties. Read more here – SG amnesty: the right time to do the right thing.
ATO administrative relief – Relief for certain tax obligations (similar to relief provided following the bushfires) for taxpayers affected by the coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. All taxpayers affected by the coronavirus outbreak can contact the ATO for assistance.
Payment deferrals – If you have been affected by the coronavirus, the ATO can work with you to defer some payments and vary instalments you have due.
Monthly GST credits – Businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle may elect to change their GST reporting and payment to monthly, to get quicker access to GST refunds you are entitled to. You can only change from the start of a quarter, so a change now will take effect from 1 April 2020.
Pay as you go instalments – If you’re a quarterly pay as you go (PAYG) instalments payer you can vary your PAYG instalments on your activity statement for the March 2020 quarter. You can do this by lodging a revised activity statement before your instalment is due and before you lodge your income tax return for the year. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment rate or amount can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.
Remitting interest and penalties – Where your business is affected by the coronavirus, the ATO will consider remitting interest and penalties applied to tax liabilities incurred after 23 January 2020.
Low interest payment plans – If your business has been affected by the coronavirus and you need help to pay your existing and ongoing tax liabilities, you can contact the ATO to discuss entering a low interest payment plan.
Who can I contact?
Call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 if you’re seeking information on novel coronavirus. The information line is available Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, Saturdays from 8am to 5pm, and Sundays from 9am to 5pm.
Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries
The following is available for 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.
The Government has set aside an initial $1 billion allocation that will be provided through existing or newly established Government programs.
Assistance and Events
State and territory information
Find the latest coronavirus information, grants, events and support in your state and territory.