Second stimulus package announced – March 23, 2020

The Australian Government has announced a second stimulus package as we continue to fight COVID-19.

The $66 billion dollar coronavirus stimulus provides relief for small businesses, casuals and welfare recipients.

Following the government’s first stimulus package less than 2 weeks ago, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said “we now expect the economic shock to be deeper, wider and longer.” Below is a summary of the measures announced by the Treasury, but please reach out if you have a question.

Support for Businesses

Cash flow for employers

Eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profits that employ people, can receive a minimum payment of $20,000. These payments will help businesses and not-for-profits with vital cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and keep their staff.

Small and medium-sized business entities with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers are eligible. NFPs, including charities, with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers will now also be eligible.

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The economic impacts of the Coronavirus could see many businesses temporarily face financial distress. These businesses need a safety net to make sure they can continue normal business once the crisis has passed. This measure is designed to help.

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, and providing temporary flexibility and targeted relief from provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis.

It’s now easier to get finance

If you need to take out a short term loan to meet cashflow needs over the coming months, you may be able to get a loan (up to $250,000) with no repayments for 6 months. The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme means 50% of any new unsecured short term loan for SMEs is guaranteed by the government. There’s a maximum total loan size of $250,000 per borrower, the loans are up to 3 years, with no repayments for 6 months. The government will encourage lenders to provide drawdown style facilities (like overdraft) where interest is only paid on what you use. This commences early April 2020 and be available for new loans until September 30 2020.

More info here

Increasing the instant asset write-off

If you were thinking of buying assets for your business, you can accelerate the depreciation of them to reduce your taxable income.

The Government has changed limits so this now applies to assets costing less than $150,000. The threshold is applied on a per-asset basis, so eligible businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets. It’s available to businesses with annual turnover under $500 million and applies to new or second-hand assets first used or installed for use between March 12 2020 to June 30 2020.

Backing business investment

The Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions.
This measure means businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million can deduct 50% of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset cost.

Supporting apprentices and trainees

The Government is trying to help small businesses keep their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.

Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).

Find out more here.

Support from banks

Many banks are now offering hardship assistance packages and support measures for businesses. This assistance could include

  • Deferred loan payments
  • Waived fees and charges
  • Help with debt consolidation
  • Waived penalties for early withdrawal of a term deposit, or
  • Deferring upcoming credit card payments and increased emergency limits.

It varies from bank to bank, so get in touch with yours to find out more.

Support for households and individuals

Income Support

For those who meet the expanded eligibility criteria, they will receive a new time-limited Coronavirus supplement income support payment paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This will be paid to both existing and new recipients of JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

Payments to support pensioners, carers, veterans

The Government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 and the second payment will be made from 13 July 2020.

Temporary early release of superannuation

The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

Temporarily reducing 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 holding these products by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.

More measures can be found here.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

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