• COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

    Resources and Updates

At Synectic, our aim is to do everything we can to support our clients to navigate through the COVID-19 crisis. We understand that the financial crisis will be as real as the health crisis for many people. Thankfully, both state and federal governments have provided unprecedented support, with a raft of stimulus, grants and tax relief available.

To assist you to navigate through these measures we have collated the key information and resources below.

Get in touch so we can help identify the support available to you. We’re here to help!

Key Resources

Expand the topics below to find the COVID-19 support information you need.

Recent announcements

JobKeeper alternative turnover tests

04.05.2020

The ATO have released further detail on the alternative tests under which a business may qualify for JobKeeper. The further clarity provided confirms our preliminary view that these tests will open up eligibility for some businesses who may not otherwise be eligible.

With the ATO extending the deadlines for enrolment to 31 May (see below: Extension of time, 28.04.2020), we suggest that clients who have experienced a downturn, or expect to in coming months,  review eligibility under these alternative tests.

However, we note the alternative tests are not simple and we recommend all clients who believe they may be eligible to contact their Synectic manager to discuss further.

For more information see: Alternative test


Extension of time

28.04.2020

In what will be a welcome relief for many clients, businesses have been given extra time to back-pay employees to ensure JobKeeper eligibility from the start of April. Businesses now have up to 8th May to back-pay employees the minimum $1,500 per fortnight for the first two fortnights in April.

Enrollment for JobKeeper has also been extended to 31st May, as previously announced.

For more information see: ATO – JobKeeper Payment


JobKeeper turnover questions addressed

28.04.2020

The ATO has released additional FAQ’s which address a number of questions that businesses may have, including:

  • What if my decline in turnover is not caused by COVID-19?
  • What happens if my actual fall in turnover is not as low as I predicted and ends up being less than 30% ?

Get the answers here: Employers frequently asked questions – turnover


Relief for commercial tenants

09.04.2020

The Government has announced a range of measures to help commercial renters. This includes a temporary hold on evictions and a mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenancies to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by coronavirus.

This code applies to tenants that are:

  • a small to medium sized business with an annual turnover of up to $50 million
  • eligible for the JobKeeper Payment

The principles include that:

  • landlords must not terminate leases for non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 pandemic (or reasonable recovery period)
  • tenants must stay committed to their lease terms (subject to amendments)
  • landlords must offer reductions in rent (as waivers or deferrals) based on the tenant’s reduction in trade during COVID-19
  • benefits that owners get for their properties (e.g. reduced charges, land tax, deferred loan payments) should be passed on to the tenant (in the appropriate proportion)

For more details see: Relief for tenants

JobKeeper Payments

JobKeeper Payment for employers and sole traders

  • This assistance will go to companies, including not-for-profits, which experience, or will experience, either:
    • 30% fall in turnover (for an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less);
    • 50% fall in turnover (for an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion); or
    • 15% fall in turnover (for ACNC-registered charities other than universities and schools).
  • The ‘decline in turnover’ test needs to be satisfied for one test period, with a test period being either any month from March to October, or a quarter commencing 1 April or 1 July.
  • Once you qualify based on a decline in one month or quarter, you remain eligible and do not need to keep testing turnover in following months.
  • Turnover can be calculated based on actual or projected turnover and how you choose to calculate your fall in turnover is not dependent on whether you report a quarterly or monthly BAS.
  • The employer must have employed eligible employees by 1 March 2020 and confirm that each eligible employee is still employed.
  • Employees who were stood down or made redundant will need to be reinstated by their employers to qualify for the payment.
  • The subsidy will be available from 30 March to 27 September, with first payments to be paid in early May.
  • The Apprentice 50% wage subsidy is available from 1 January to 31 March 2020, but businesses will not be eligible from 1 April 2020 if receiving the JobKeeper Payment.

> Employers and sole traders – find out more

Sole traders and self-employed people

Sole traders and self-employed peoplle operating through a trust, company or partnership:

  • Can qualify, but only for one eligible business participant (EBP), e.g. one partner, one trust beneficiary or one director.
  • Can claim JobKeeper for other eligible employees in addition to the EBP
  • The entity will receive the payment, not the individual.

Sole traders and other entities

JobKeeper Payment for employees

  • Eligible people will be full-time, part-time, sole-traders and casual employees who have been with their employers for longer than 12 months and are at least 16 years of age.
  • New Zealand employees on the 444 visa will be eligible.
  • Temporary visa holders will be ineligible.
  • Employees that have applied for the JobSeeker Payment will need to notify their employers as an employee will only benefit from either, but not both, of the wage subsidy schemes.

> Employees – find out more

Alternative tests

The ATO have released alternative tests that may be used to calculate a fall in turnover for certain businesses where there is not an appropriate comparison period under the basic year-on-year test.

There are seven circumstances identified where the alternative test may apply, including new businesses that have recently started, businesses involved in acquisitions or restructures, businesses with significant growth or lumpy income, and those adversely impacted by natural disasters. Sole traders or partnerships impacted by an absence from work due to sickness or other reasons in the comparison period may also qualify.

It is clear these tests will broaden the eligibility to include many businesses which would not have otherwise qualified. However, the alternative tests are not simple so we recommend all clients who believe they may be eligible under the alternative tests to contact their Synectic manager to discuss further.

> Alternative tests

Eligibility

If you are in doubt regarding eligibility, please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.

> Details on eligibility criteria

How to apply

Employers can enrol and apply for the JobKeeper Payment via the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) from 20 April. There a number of steps involved and you should take care to ensure all steps are closely followed.

> Steps to enrol and apply for JobKeeper Payment

Importantly, we wish to highlight a few elements that we feel require extra emphasis.

Communicating with your employees and ensuring they complete their obligations will be critical to ensure you are ready for the first payment. All eligible employees will need to complete the JobKeeper employee nomination notice and return it to you by the end of April if you intend to claim JobKeeper Payment for April.

The ATO process has 3 actions that every eligible employer must take:

  • Register your interest – do so now at JobKeeper register your interest if you have not already completed this;
  • Enrol with the ATO via the Business Portal and authenticate with mvGovID (available from 20 April);
  • Apply with the ATO and confirm the number of eligible employees via the ATO Business Portal (available from 4 May).

JobKeeper Payment FAQs

> Frequently Asked Questions

> View the fact sheet

We recommend clients review this material and contact us to clarify how, or if, your business may benefit from this measure.

Support for sole traders, businesses and companies

Boosting cash flow for employers

Through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Government will provide tax-free temporary cash flow boosts of between $20,000 and $100,000 to eligible small and medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations that employ staff. This will be delivered through credits in the activity statement system, when eligible businesses lodge their activity statements.

> Eligibility, timing and how to apply

Assistance to help pay the wages of apprentices or trainees

If you employ an apprentice or trainee you may be eligible for a wage subsidy of 50% of their wage, paid from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.

> Eligibility, timing and how to apply

The increased instant asset write-off

The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and access expanded to include businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). 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 time frame.

> Eligibility, timing and how to apply

Backing Business Investment (BBI) – Accelerated depreciation for investment

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.

> Eligibility, timing and how to apply

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

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. This includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, and providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide temporary and targeted relief from provisions of the Act.

> Relief elements and how to apply

Government-backed loans

A small-to-medium enterprise (SME) business loan guarantee scheme:

  • The government will provide a guarantee of 50% to eligible lenders of unsecured loans to be used for working capital.
  • Maximum loan facility of $250,000 per borrower.
  • Term of up to three years, with initial six-month repayment holiday.
  • For businesses with turnover up to $50 million (interestingly, not specified as group-wide turnover).
  • Subject to lenders’ credit assessment processes, with the expectation of looking through this short-term difficult period.
  • The scheme is to support $40 billion of lending (ie, $20 billion guaranteed).

> Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

ATO support and tax payment deferrals

A series of payment deferral concessions for businesses directly impacted by COVD-19:

  • Deferring, by up to 4 months, the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise duty.
  • Allowing businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get faster access to GST refunds they may be entitled to.
  • Allowing businesses to vary PAYG instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. These businesses can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.
  • Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities.
  • Allowing affected businesses to enter into low-interest payment plans for their existing and ongoing tax liabilities.

> Lodgment or payment, change your GST reporting cycle, vary your PAYG instalments

Relief for tenants

The Government has announced a range of measures to help renters and commercial tenants, including:

  • a temporary hold on evictions for commercial and residential tenants in financial distress, and
  • a mandatory Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and not-for-profit (NFP) organisations affected by coronavirus.

The Code outlines a set of good-faith leasing principles for commercial tenancies, including:

  • retail
  • office
  • industrial

> Learn about the code and leasing principals

> Read the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principals during COVID-19

Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries

An initial $1 billion support fund to provide assistance to industries and regions severely affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.

> Eligibility, timing and more information

International Freight Assistance Mechanism

$110 million will help exporters get their high-quality produce into key overseas markets. Return flights will bring back items critical to the ongoing health response. This includes vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment.

> Eligible produce, destination countries and how to express your interest

Tasmanian Government support for business

Payroll Tax concessions

A Payroll Tax waiver will be available to businesses in the hospitality, tourism and seafood industries, and will apply for the last four months of the 2019-20 financial year. Other businesses with payrolls of up to $5 million will also be able to apply for a waiver, but eligibility will be based on how significantly the virus has affected business.

> Fact sheet

Business Support Loan Scheme

Loans from $20,000 up to $250,000 are available to assist eligible businesses for the purpose of supporting business continuity, viability and sustainability during COVID-19.

Submissions close at 4pm, 30 June 2020.

> Eligibility

> Fact sheet

> Read the guidelines

> Apply

Business vehicle registration relief

To support significantly impacted Tasmanian small businesses, business vehicle registration savings and deferrals are now available.

> Eligibility and applications

> Fact sheet

Tasmania Land Tax relief

Land Tax will be waived for commercial property for the 2020-21 financial year, where the business owner:

  • is liable for the land tax; and
  • can demonstrate that their business operations have been affected by COVID-19.

‘Commercial property’ refers to property classified as such for government valuation purposes.

> Fact sheet

Cultural and Creative Industries stimulus package

New funding of $1.5 million and new operational measures of over $2 million to support Tasmania’s cultural sector.

> Relief, eligibility and applications

Fisheries assistance

Various fisheries fees and licence relief initiatives are being made available.

> Relief, eligibility and applications

Small Business Emergency Support Grant

To assist affected small businesses in the identified severely-impacted industries (seafood, tourism and accommodation, retail, hospitality, arts and entertainment, fitness) grants of $2,500 are available through the Department of State Growth as one-off emergency support payments.

Submissions close at midnight, 4 May 2020.

> Eligibility

> Apply

Small Business Hardship Grant

Grants of $15 000 will be made available for small businesses in the identified severely-impacted industries.

Submissions close at midnight, 4 May 2020.

> Eligibility 

> Apply

Business Continuity Grant

One-off grants of up to $750 are available to assist small business fight the economic impact of COVID-19.

These grants will support Tasmanian businesses to engage the services of a suitably qualified person, including your accountant, to advise on how to survive the economic impact of COVID-19 crisis.

Submissions close at 1am, 4 May 2020.

> Fact sheet

> Apply

Utilities support

Coronavirus assistance for your utilities bills

As the pandemic continues to evolve, many Australians will find themselves facing financial difficulties now or in the weeks to come. Your utility bills are one of those things that may cause you more financial stress during this frantic period.

Most utility providers have some sort of financial hardship program in place in order to make this financial burden more manageable for you, with some having come out with more specific responses in relation to COVID-19.

> TasNetworks

> Aurora

> TasWater

> Telstra

> Optus

Workplace relations

Fair Work Ombudsman

Information regarding workplace entitlements and obligations if you are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • flexible work and alternative work arrangements
  • paid and unpaid leave
  • standing down employees
  • ending employment
  • business bankruptcy
  • health and safety during coronavirus

> Learn about COVID-19 and Australian workplace laws

Safe Work Australia

Information on COVID-19 and work health and safety, including

  • preparing workplaces and workers
  • minimising risks
  • working from home
  • mental health
  • workers’ compensation

> Learn about COVID-19 and work health and safety

Superannuation Guarantee Obligations

The law does not allow the ATO to extend the due date to pay the super guarantee contributions for your employees.

  • You will need to lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) statement and pay the charge.
  • If required, you may be able to discuss entering into a payment plan.

> Missed and late payments

Free workplace relations advice

The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) will provide free advice to support businesses affected by COVID-19 to manage their obligations in relation to industrial relations issues as part of the Tasmanian Government’s Stimulus Package. Issues may include:

  • workplace health and safety
  • employment obligations
  • workers compensation
  • changing workforce requirements

Call the TCCI Business Hotline 1300 559 112 for more information

Banks

Australian banks have announced they will provide assistance in various ways, including the deferral of loan repayments for 98% of all businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.

Types of assistance will depend on individual circumstances, but may include:

  • deferral of scheduled loan repayments,
  • waiving fees and charges,
  • debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable.

If you have not been contacted by your bank already, we encourage you to reach out to see what support may be available to you.

> Read FAQs and check your bank’s relief offering

Superannuation

Early release of superannuation

Eligible people can withdraw up to $20,000 from their superannuation on compassionate grounds over the 2020 and 2021 financial years. A maximum of $10,000 in each of the 2020 and 2021 financial years is allowed under the rules. The payment from a superannuation fund is tax free.

People are eligible to make the withdrawals if:

  • they are unemployed,
  • they are eligible to receive any of the payments which make them eligible to receive the Coronavirus Supplement,
  • on or after 1 January 2020 they were made redundant, or their working hours were reduced by 20% or more, or they were a sole trader and their business was suspended or turnover reduced by 20% or more.

Applications for these withdrawals can be made from mid-April 2020, through MyGov, and must be made before 1 July 2020.

> About early access to super

There will be a different process for people with a self-managed superannuation fund. As at 7 April 2020 we await further guidance to be published by the Australian Taxation Office.

Reduction of minimum drawdown requirements

The minimum drawdown requirements for superannuation have been reduced by 50% for the 2020 and 2021 financial years. This has been done in recognition that it may be significantly detrimental to investment balances during this time if investments have to be sold to meet the normal minimum drawdown requirements.

> About the measure

Investor and market updates

Market review and economic outlook

Markets in review, impact on sectors, outlook and portfolios

> Quarterly update March 2020 | released 16 April 2020

> Monthly update April 2020 | released 1 April 2020

Investor resources

  • Coronavirus – plenty of misses but a few hits
    The list of businesses knocked by coronavirus is long, but some may emerge stronger than before.  > Read more
  • Five charts on investing to keep in mind in rough times
    Successful investing can be really difficult in times like the present, with immense uncertainty around the impact of coronavirus on the outlook. These five charts focus on critical aspects of investing that are insightful in times of market stress.  > Read more

Individuals and households

The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians to support them through the Coronavirus.

This assistance includes:

  • income support payments
  • payments to support households
  • reducing social security deeming rates

> Stimulus payments to support growth

Working from home expenses rules

The tax office has announced special arrangements this year affecting those working from home due to the coronavirus crisis.

> Expenses you can claim and records to keep

Mental health support

Help for people affected by coronavirus

The impact of COVID-19 on businesses is devastating and the toll it is taking on people’s mental health is serious. It’s important that you and your employees get the right emotional support.

> Coronavirus and mental health support

Beyond Blue

Looking after your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential. Beyond Blue are available to help you and your employees through a range of mental wellbeing advice and strategies.

> How to seek support during this time

COVID-19

Updates from Synectic

COVID-19 JobKeeper Updates

Important JobKeeper Updates

17 April, 2020 / in News / by synecticgroup

Recent ATO information has served to broaden JobKeeper eligibility for some businesses and extend deadlines, opening pathways for more businesses to potentially benefit from the subsidy.

Read more >

Synectic | JobKeeper - Important Updates Click here to view online JobKeeper - Important Updates

JobKeeper – Important Updates

17 April, 2020 / in News / by synecticgroup

The roll-out of the JobKeeper program continues at a rapid pace. Is your business ready for the JobKeeper Subsidy? Read our latest update to see what you must be doing now.

Read more >

COVID-19 Investment Markets and Economic Updates

Investment Markets and Economic Updates

16 April, 2020 / in News / by synecticgroup

We have updated our COVID-19 Updates and Resources page to include some key insights into investment markets and economic conditions. This will be particularly relevant to our investor and financial planning clients. Read our newsletter to see the latest articles of interest.

Read more >

COVID-19 JobKeeper Payment update

COVID-19 JobKeeper Payment update

06 April, 2020 / in News / by synecticgroup

The JobKeeper Payment looks to be a saviour for many businesses and thousands of jobs. Read our latest update to see how the payment might help your business.

Read more >

COVID-19 JobKeeper Payments

COVID-19 JobKeeper Payments

31 March, 2020 / in News / by synecticgroup

The third coronavirus support package is a $130 billion economic injection designed to save jobs for the next 6 months. Businesses may be entitled to receive a fortnightly wage subsidy of $1,500 per employee. The Government expects up to 6 million people will benefit.

Here’s what to do now.

Read more >

COVID-19 Stimulus & Support Update

COVID-19 Stimulus & Support Update

24 March, 2020 / in News / by synecticgroup

This summary focuses on the second round of stimulus measures to support both business and individuals as a result of COVID-19. We also outline key concessions announced to date by major banks and provide a brief update on state government announcements.

Read more >

COVID-19 Economic stimulus package: key points for your business

COVID-19 Economic stimulus package: key points for your business

19 March, 2020 / in News / by synecticgroup

In this summary, we address the key economic stimulus measures announced to date to support the economy in the wake of the impact of COVID-19, including Federal and Tasmanian state government and ATO support.

Read more >

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