COVID-19 or Coronavirus is a respiratory virus strain that is similar to the flu which has created devastating impact on the Australian and global economy. With Coronavirus recently being classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, the impact of this crisis is sure to spread further before it is contained. However, the Australian Government is taking action to ensure that the Australian economy holds strong throughout this crisis with the below economic response expected to affect 99% of small businesses and, as such, many Australians. These proposed incentives are expected to be brought before parliament for approval on 23 March 2020, with the incentives legislated by 31 March 2020.
Proposed Business Incentives Snapshot
|Incentive||Date/s of Effect|
|Increasing the instant asset write off to $150,000 and changing the turnover threshold to $500 million||Assets acquired from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020|
|Accelerated depreciation deductions for new eligible depreciable assets (50% in the first 12 months)||Eligible assets acquired from 12 March 2020 with first use or installed for first use by 30 June 2021|
|Refunds of 50% of PAYG withheld from wages||
Covers amounts withheld from 1 January 2020 until 30 June 2020
|Wage assistance for apprentices and trainees (50% reimbursement)||1 January 2020 until 30 September 2020|
Business Investment Support
Until 30 June 2020, the instant asset write-off scheme has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded to include businesses with turnovers of less than $500 million, meaning that some assets may be able to be instantly written off in your business.
There has also been an injection into business investments by providing a time limited 15-month investment incentive with an acceleration of depreciating deductions. If your business has a turnover of less than $500 million, you will be able to deduct an additional 50% of the asset cost in the year of purchase. This incentive be for new depreciating assets only which are first used or installed ready for use by the incentive end date of 30 June 2021. Existing depreciating rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.
Cash Flow Assistance to Small and Medium Size Businesses Employers
If your business has a turnover of less than $50 million, the Government is intending to help with a cash flow boost by refunding 50% of the Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYGW) amounts within 14 days of lodging an activity statement. These incentives range from a minimum payment of $2,000 to a maximum payment of $25,000 and will be eligible for PAYG amounts from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2020. These incentives are tax free and includes all months and quarters for the period.
There is also an additional incentive for businesses with paid apprentices or trainees, with 50% of their wages up to an amount of $21,000 for up to a nine-month period between 1 January 2020 and 30 September 2020. Furthermore, where a business is not able to retain an apprentice or trainee, the subsidy will then be available to the new employee of that employee.
Other Incentives Proposed
Outside of the small and medium business landscape, the Government is also offing a one-off $750 stimulus payment will be made to income support recipients and eligible concession card holders, such as pensioners, those on social security and veterans and assistance for those disproportionately affected by the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic (such as those in the tourism and education industries).