Stimulus Benefits Announced March 2020

Hey! We’re so happy to see you here.

You have found our official collection of all the info we have to share on the Stimulus Packages Announced in March 2020.

Please keep in mind that the news and media have been talking about the Stimulus since early March, but nothing was signed into law until the last week of March. Our team has been working around the clock to compile all this info for you an easy to read format, complete with links to official government sources. 

If you are after some light bed time reading, or want to pass the time in isolation, you can access all 235 pages of Explanatory Memorandum here.

5 Categories of Support Available

  • Cash Boost Payment

  • Apprentices & Trainees

  • JobKeeper Wage Subsidy

  • Insolvency

  • Director Liability

  • Income Support

  • Coronavirus Supplement

  • Access Superannuation

  • JobKeeper Wage Subsidy

  • Govt Backed Loans

  • Flexible Lending

  • Vary PAYG Installments

  • Interest & Penalties Lifted

  • Debt Deferral

But First, Are You Ok?

Before I deep dive into the stimulus of 2020, it is important to check in with the reality that our world (as we know it) including daily routines, working arrangements, etc, has just been flipped on its head.

2020, what the hell mate?!

It’s understandable you may be feeling anxious, sad, angry, or overwhelmed. We all will find ourselves feeling these very human emotions at some point over the next several months. So if you are, please reach out to someone like a friend, or Beyond Blue or Lifeline.

And use some of the average 5.5 hours you spend on your mobile a day for good – and send a voice note or DM and check in on your Mates. Small business friends. Work Colleagues. Family members. And especially the Healthcare workers on the front lines and those diagnosed and suffering from COVID19.

JobKeeper Snapshot

Snapshot of what is available – Jobseeker v Jobkeeper

Eligible Employee – if you are still employed by your employer, determine if they are going to apply for Jobkeeper on your behalf – if so, you will receive a minimum payment of $1500/fnt BEFORE Tax

Ineligible Employee – ie you are a casual employee or started with your employer after 1 March 2020 – apply for Jobseeker if you have no income or had a loss of hours connected with CoVid-19 – ie cafe workers – remember the income test is still in place,so if your partner earns over $79k, you will not be eligible

Self-employed/soletrader – if you are eligible – ie have lodged your 2019 tax return or a BAS since 1 July 2018 – 12 March 2020 – and your income has reduced by at least 30% – you can apply for Jobkeeper and you will receive a payment of $1500/fnt

Partnership – Only one partner can be nominated to receive a JobKeeper Payment along with any eligible employees, noting a partner cannot be an employee. You may be asked to provide your ABN and a single Tax File Number for the eligible recipient of the JobKeeper Payment, and a declaration of business activity.

Businesses trading via a Trust – Where beneficiaries of a trust only receive distributions, rather than being paid salary and wages for work done, one individual beneficiary (that is, not a corporate beneficiary) can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment.

Businesses trading via a Company – An eligible business can nominate only one director to receive the payment, as well as any eligible employees. Only one person in a director capacity may receive the payment and that individual may not receive the payment as an employee.

Remember – if you run your business via a Trust or Company and have paid yourself a wage – if you are eligible – all employees, including beneficiaries and directors who were paid via a wage, will be eligible for Jobkeeper.

If you are joint directors, partners or beneficiaries – if one of you is eligible for Jobkeeper, the other may still be eligible for Jobseeker – my advice is for one of you to apply for Jobkeeper and the other for Jobseeker and see how you go.

Support for Employers

Cash Boost Payment $20k to 100k

Who is Eligible for the Cash Boost Payment?

You must meet 3 requirements:

  1. If your ABN was registered for PAYG Withholding (PAYGW) prior to 13/3/20,
  2. AND you paid wages in the March 2020 BAS return,
  3. AND you have previously lodged a BAS or Tax Return between 2018 and 12/3/20.

How do I Claim the Cash Boost Payment?

Lodge Your March 2020 BAS Return with Wages reported (although the actual PAYG Withholding can be zero). Once your BAS is process by the ATO, they will issue a credit to you account within 14 days for the amount of the payment you are eligible.

Oh, if only I knew a kick ass accountant who could help me with this boringAF paperwork. Oh Haiii! It me here –  Book In Your BAS on our Website Here.

Once you lodge your March 2020 BAS Return (preferably with us, just sayin) the ATO will automatically issue a credit to your ATO account of $10,000 buckaroos or more if the PAYG Withholding in the BAS is higher than $10k. The max credit issued is $50k here. You get the $10k credit even if you don’t actually withhold only tax from wages in the March 2020 BAS, but you must have some wages reported!

The same Cash Boost Payment above will happen again in your quarterly June 2020 BAS, with the max credit on offer being $100k, as long as you continue to operate your business. You do not have to have any wages reported in the June 2020 BAS. If you receive the Cash Book Payment in the March 2020 BAS, then you will be eligible to get the second payment automatically.

Are You a Monthly BAS Lodger?

The same concepts above apply to your March 2020 BAS, but you will get credits in your April, May and June BAS returns as well. The Cash Boost Payment is maxed out at $100k.

Okay, How Much $$ Will I Get?

You will get a minimum of $20k (but a max of $100k) ATO credit, equal to 100% of the PAYG Withholding reported in the March and June 2020 BAS Returns.

When Will the Cash Boost Payment be Paid?

It is split into 3 payments. The first one is 14 Days after the March 2020 BAS return is processed by the ATO, and the second 14 days after the June 2020 BAS is processed, and the third is 14 days after the September 2020 BAS is processed by the ATO.

The cash boost payment will not be paid before the BAS lodgement due date, so lodging your BAS early will not mean you get the cash flow boost early.

Reality Check: If you are on a previous payment plan with the ATO or owe them any kind of money, this Cash Boost Payment will simply reduce your ATO debt, unless it has been deferred. But if you are one of those annoying financially responsible people who hate debt and paid all their past ATO monies on time, then your ATO account may result in a Credit balance after the Cash Book Payment is applied, and then you can request the ATO to transfer this credit into your bank account. Now give a round of applause to “past you” for making decision that has “present you” winning!

Apprentices & Trainees 50% Wages Reimbursement

Who is Eligible for the Wage Subsidy?

If you meet these 2 criteria:

  1. Have less than 20 employees
  2. AND employed an eligible apprentice or trainee as of 1/3/20

Okay, How Much $$ Will I Get?

A subsidy of 50% of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the nine months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.
The maximum wage subsidy over the nine-month period will be $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee. Aren’t you glad you put them on the books when your accountant told you to?

How do I Claim the Wage Subsidy?

We don’t know exactly yet. More details will be released in Early April.

When Will the Subsidy be Paid?

We don’t know yet, but it will be in instalments. We will update with more details as they become available.

JobKeeper Wage Subsidy

Who is Eligible for the JobKeeper Wage Subsidy?

To receive the JobKeeper Payment, employers must:

• Register an intention to apply on the ATO website and assess that they have or will experience the
required turnover decline.
• Provide information to the ATO on eligible employees. This includes information on the number of
eligible employees engaged as at 1 March 2020 and those currently employed by the business
(including those stood down or rehired). For most businesses, the ATO will use Single Touch Payroll
data to pre-populate the employee details for the business.
• Ensure that each eligible employee receives at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). For
employees that were already receiving this amount from the employer then their income will not
change. For employees that have been receiving less than this amount, the employer will need to top
up the payment to the employee up to $1,500, before tax. And for those employees earning more
than this amount, the employer is able to provide them with a top-up.
• Notify all eligible employees that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment.
• Continue to provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis, including the number of eligible
employees employed by the business.

How do I Claim the JobKeeper Wage Subsidy Payment?

for all Businesses Who Have Employees:

Initially, employers can register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from
30 March 2020.
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.
It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of
the JobKeeper Payment.

 for all Businesses Without Employees:

Businesses without employees, such as the self-employed, can register their interest in applying for
JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020.
Businesses without employees will need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate an individual to
receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number and provide a declaration as to recent
business activity.
People who are self-employed will need to provide a monthly update to the ATO to declare their continued
eligibility for the payments. Payment will be made monthly to the individual’s bank account.

Okay, How Much $$ Will I Get?

You will get $1,500 per fortnight.

Can I get Both JobKeeper and JobSeeker?

Nope. No double dipping allowed!

When Will the Subsidy be Paid?

The first payment will be made in early May 2020, with these payments backdated to 1/3/20.

Looking for Official Government Sites on Support Available for Employers?

Read More on the Australian Government’s website here.

Read More about the JobKeeper Wage Subsidy

Support for Companies & Pty Ltds

Delayed Forced Insolvency By a Creditor

What’s this all about?

Companies are not allowed to trade if they are insolvent. If a creditor issues a statutory demand for an outstanding debt owed to them by a company, and the company does not respond within a certain period of time, the company can be forced into liquidation.

Ok, so What are the New Temporary Rules?

A creditor used to be able to issue a statutory demand if they were owed $2k, but that is temporarily increased to $20k.

Also, a company previously had 21 days to reply to a demand letter. Now that has been increased to 6 months.

How Long Does This Last For?

For 6 months from when the Stimulus was passed, so until September 2020.

Directors Not Personally Liable For Company Debts

What’s this all about?

Companies are not allowed to trade if they don’t have funds or resources to pay their debts. Usually, Directors are personally liable if a company is trading insolvently, and a creditor who is owed money by the Company, can seek to recover it from the Director.

This temporary relief covers debts incurred in the ordinary operation of the business. Debts are still payable by the company, this only means that Director’s personal assets are safe (for now).

How Long Does This Last For?

For 6 months from when the Stimulus was passed, so until September 2020.

Looking for Official Government Sites on Support Available for Companies?

Read More on the Australian Government’s website here.

Support for Sole Traders

JobKeeper Wage Subsidy

Who is Eligible for the JobKeeper Wage Subsidy?

To receive the JobKeeper Payment, employers must:

• Register an intention to apply on the ATO website and assess that they have or will experience the
required turnover decline.
• Provide information to the ATO on eligible employees. This includes information on the number of
eligible employees engaged as at 1 March 2020 and those currently employed by the business
(including those stood down or rehired). For most businesses, the ATO will use Single Touch Payroll
data to pre-populate the employee details for the business.
• Ensure that each eligible employee receives at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). For
employees that were already receiving this amount from the employer then their income will not
change. For employees that have been receiving less than this amount, the employer will need to top
up the payment to the employee up to $1,500, before tax. And for those employees earning more
than this amount, the employer is able to provide them with a top-up.
• Notify all eligible employees that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment.
• Continue to provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis, including the number of eligible
employees employed by the business.

How do I Claim the JobKeeper Wage Subsidy Payment?

for all Businesses Who Have Employees:

Initially, employers can register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from
30 March 2020.
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.
It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of
the JobKeeper Payment.

 for all Businesses Without Employees:

Businesses without employees, such as the self-employed, can register their interest in applying for
JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020.
Businesses without employees will need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate an individual to
receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number and provide a declaration as to recent
business activity.
People who are self-employed will need to provide a monthly update to the ATO to declare their continued
eligibility for the payments. Payment will be made monthly to the individual’s bank account.

Okay, How Much $$ Will I Get?

You will get $1,500 per fortnight.

Can I get Both JobKeeper and JobSeeker?

Nope. No double dipping allowed!

When Will the Subsidy be Paid?

The first payment will be made in early May 2020, with these payments backdated to 1/3/20.

Access to Income Support

Who is Eligible to Access Jobseeker Payments?

To access this benefit is available to:

  • sole traders
  • the self‑employed
  • casual workers
  • contract workers who meet the income tests as a result of the economic downturn due to the Coronavirus. This could also include a person required to care for someone who is affected by the Coronavirus.

What Did They Change to Make Jobseeker Easier to Access?

There are several ways they relaxed the eligibility criteria. Here is a list:

  • No asset test
  • No waiting periods
  • Sole traders can now apply

    Does my Partner’s Income Affect the Amount I Will Get?

    Yes. The amount of income your partner or spouse make, in additional to the number of kids you have will impact the exact amount you will receive. The amount of spousal income allowed before benefits were impacted was previously $49k but has been lifted to $79k.

How do I Apply for This Payment?

Go to Centrelink’s website and lodge an Intent to Claim. Someone from Centrelink will get in touch with you to help process your application.

When Will the Payments Start to be Paid?

Payments will start from 27/4/20, unless you are already on Jobseeker payments.

Is there Anything Else I Need to Know?

Sole traders must continue to operate their business to continue to receive payments. If you are unable to trade at all, think of it as putting your business on pause vs shutting it down completely. Keep your ABN and business bank accounts open.

$550 Coronavirus Supplement

Who is Eligible to Get the Coronavirus Supplement?

To access this benefit is available to those who are receiving:

  • Jobseeker Payment (and all payments progressively transitioning to JobSeeker Payment; those currently receiving Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Wife Pension)
  • Youth Allowance Jobseeker
  • Parenting Payment (Partnered and Single)
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Special Benefit recipients

How do I Apply for This?

You don’t need to apply. If you are entitled to receive it, it will be paid automatically to you by Centrelink.

When Will the $550 be Paid?

Payments will start from 27/4/20, and will continue fortnightly as long as you continue to be eligible.

Will I Get the Entire $550?

Yep! You get either all of it or none of it.

Access $20k of Your Super Early

Who is Eligible to Access Their Super?

To access this benefit you must meet ONE of the following criteria:

  • you’re unemployed
  • you’re eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowanc
  • on or after 1/1/20, you were made redundant
  • on or after 1/1/20, your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more
  • if you’re a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more on or after 1/1/20

How do I Apply for This?

Log into your MyGov Account, and Go to the ATO section and request it. The ATO will process your application and coordinate with your super fund to get the money in your hands.

What’s the Deadline to Apply?

You must apply for the first payment via MyGov before 1/7/20. If you apply for a first payment, you will be able to apply for another within 3 months.

When Will the Super be Paid?

Up to $10k of your super can be requested prior to 1/7/20, and if you submit one request, then you can submit another request for up to $10k in approximately 3 months.

Reality Check: Consult your finance professional before taking on this option, and consider the long term costs of pulling money out of your super early. The power of growing Super is how it is sitting in investments that make money for you while you are sleeping over a period of time. By pulling out money while the markets are at one of their lowest points, you will be setting back the growth of your super exponentially.

Looking for Official Government Sites on More About Support Available for Sole Traders?

Read More on the Australian Government’s website here.

Read More about the JobKeeper Wage Subsidy here.

Cash Flow Support for All Businesses

Partially Secured Loan Up to $250k

Who is Eligible for This Kind of Loan?

Usually in tough times the last thing banks will do is give you finance, but now it is now easier for businesses to get finance. So, if you are looking to take out a short-term loan to meet cashflow needs over the coming months, here’s some important information to consider:

• 50% of any new unsecured short-term loan for SMEs is guaranteed by the government
• maximum total loan size of $250K per borrower
• loans of up to 3 years, with an initial 6-month repayment holiday
• government will encourage lenders to provide draw down style facilities (like overdraft) where interest is only paid on what you use
• commences early April 2020 and be available for new loans until Sep 30, 2020

How Do I Apply for the Loan?

Apply directly with your bank or finance lender.

When Can I Apply for the Loan?

From Early April 2020 through to 30/9/20.

Reality Check: Consult you finance professional to help you decide if borrowing is a good option to you. Remember, this is not free money, and eventually you will need to repay the loan. Please consider the likelihood you will be able to pay it back when the repayments start.

Banks Lending A Hand

How Are Banks Being Flexible?

If you have debt with your bank and are worried about making repayments, then reach out to them and as what options they have available for you. The banks are acknowledging the hardships that small businesses are facing and are starting to provide support including:


• deferring loan payments
• waiving fees and charges
• helping with debt consolidation
• waiving penalties for early withdrawal of a term deposit, or
• deferring upcoming credit card payments and increasing emergency limits

Looking for Official Government Sites on Cash Flow Support Available?

Read More on the Australian Government’s website here.

Support from the ATO

The ATO is offering up all the goodies to help small business owners: Reversed Interest and Penalties. Flexible Payments. PAYG I Refunds, and PAYG W Credits. Their #1 priority is keeping cash flowing both in and out of individuals and businesses’s hands, as well as keep Australians employed and working.

Monthly BAS Option for Quarterly BAS Lodgers
This is helpful if you usually get refunds when lodging your BAS. The ATO will also allow quarterly GST reporting businesses to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds.

March & June 2020 PAYG Instalments Varied to Zero
Businesses will be allowed to vary pay-as-you-go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. This isn’t erasing tax debt, but instead is deferring payment. So keep in mind, you will still owe money to the ATO, but they will allow you to pay it to them later – after you lodge your tax return.

Interest and Penalties Remitted
The ATO will also look to remit any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities, and allow affected businesses to pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low-interest payment plans.

Unlike the bushfire relief measures, which applied automatically to particular geographic areas, assistance measures for those impacted by COVID-19 will not be automatically implemented.

Delay in Making Payments – As Long as You Ask First
The ATO will include up to a four-month deferral of the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement, including PAYG instalments, income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise.

Want to Chat with the ATO?
Businesses can contact the ATO on its 1800 806 218 Emergency Support Infoline to discuss their situation.

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