COVID-19 Disaster Payment
If a state public health order for COVID-19 adversely affects you, Services Australia provides a support payment.
You are eligible if:
- you can’t attend work and have lost income because of COVID-19 restrictions
- you can't access appropriate paid leave entitlements from your employer
- you’re not receiving an income support payment, a state or territory pandemic payment, Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or state small business payment for the same period.
The payment is:
- $750 each week if you have lost 20 hours or more of work a week, or
- $450 each week if you have lost between 8 and 20 hours of work.
Once a state or territory reaches 70 per cent full vaccination, the automatic renewal will end, and individuals will have to reapply each week that a Commonwealth Hotspot remains in place. For NSW, this is 11 October, for Victoria it’s 21 October and for the ACT it was 1 October.
Where a Commonwealth Hotspot remains in place and a state or territory reaches 80 per cent full vaccination, the payment will be reduced to:
- Week one after reaching 80 per cent fully vaccinated - a flat payment of $450 for those who have lost more than eight hours of work, while those on income support will receive $100.
- Week two after reaching 80 per cent fully vaccinated - a flat payment of $320 for those who have lost more than eight hours of work, while the payment will end for those on income support.
- Week three after reaching 80 per cent fully vaccinated – the payment stops.
NSW reached the 80 per cent fully vaccinated target on18 October, Victoria will reach it around 29 October and ACT reached it on 19 October.
This payment will not be subject to income tax.
Bank support for Australian customers
Business and home loan customers impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns across Australia are encouraged to contact their bank to see what support may be available.
Re-confirming eligibility for JobSaver and Micro Business Grants
To re-confirm whether your decline in turnover is still down 30 per cent or more each fortnight, you have the following options:
- If your business is closed, select 'yes' on the confirmation screen. You are not required to perform a decline in turnover calculation.
- If your business continues to trade, you can choose one of the following to determine your comparison period for your decline in turnover calculation:
- If your initial comparison period was in 2019 or 2020, use the same year but the same corresponding fortnight as the current fortnight, or
- If your initial comparison period was in 2019 or 2020, use the same comparison period that you used in your initial application, or
- If you used 12 June to 25 June 2021 as your initial comparison period, use that same period.
You will receive your payment within five business days of reconfirming your eligibility. You can delay your reconfirmation or reconfirm multiple fortnights in one go. Your MyServiceNSW Business Profile will show you the fortnights for which confirmation is still required.
There has been confusion around whether JobSaver recipients need to re-confirm for the 13 September to 26 September fortnight and the 27 September to 10 October fortnight as the payment will be made automatically. Service NSW has confirmed that JobSaver recipients must re-confirm their eligibility for both fortnights.
If they don’t re-confirm their eligibility, while they will automatically receive the payment for that fortnight, they won’t be able re-confirm their eligibility for subsequent fortnights, and will not receive payments for those fortnights.
Service NSW is asking recipients who are no longer eligible to declare as such. If it is subsequently found that a business received JobSaver when they were not eligible, the NSW Government may recover that payment.
We understand that if you declare to Service NSW that you are ineligible in a fortnight until 10 October and you become eligible again in a subsequent fortnight, you will need to contact Service NSW directly to be re-admitted. Once you are out, you will not receive reminder emails.
If you declare you are ineligible for any fortnight from 11 October, you will continue to receive reminder emails, hence you will be able to ‘re-enter’ JobSaver without having to call Service NSW.
Read the Services NSW website for further information on re-confirming your eligibility for the JobSaver payment or re-confirming your eligibility for the COVID-19 micro-business grant.
Applications for the JobSaver payment are now closed, although applications from charities in the social support and animal welfare sectors remain open.
From 10 October to 24 October, eligible employers in Sydney, Central Coast, Wollongong, Shellharbour and Blue Mountains will receive a payment of up to 30 per cent of their NSW weekly payroll. The minimum weekly payment will be $1125 and the maximum payment will be $75,000. For non-employing businesses the weekly payment will be $750, paid fortnightly. For businesses outside of those areas, this rate of payment will continue until 31 October.
From 24 October, eligible employers in Sydney, Central Coast, Wollongong, Shellharbour and Blue Mountains will receive a payment of up to 15 per cent of their NSW weekly payroll. The minimum weekly payment will be $562.50 and the maximum payment will be $37,500. For non-employing businesses the weekly payment will be $375, paid fortnightly.
For eligible employers outside of Sydney, Central Coast, Wollongong, Shellharbour and Blue Mountains, the payment will change to 15 per cent of weekly payroll on 31 October.
All payments will stop on 30 November.
CPA Australia's guidance on the NSW JobSaver payment
Grants for micro business
Applications for the Microbusiness grant have now closed.
Businesses and not-for-profit organisations with an aggregated annual turnover between $30,000 and $75,000 that experience a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent due to COVID-19 restrictions will be eligible for a $1500 payment each fortnight until 29 October. After that date, recipients will receive $750 per fortnight until 30 November, when all payments will stop. The final payment will cover 28 November to 30 November.
Hardship review panel
If your business or not-for-profit organisation isn’t eligible for the 2021 COVID-19 business grant, COVID-19 micro-business grant or JobSaver payment, or if your application has been refused, you may still be able to access such support payments by making an application to the COVID-19 business hardship review panel.
Applicants must demonstrate they are experiencing financial hardship as a result of a NSW public health order. To do so, they need to provide proof that:
- their business is at imminent risk of closure
- they’re unable to pay for operating costs, such as rent or worker-related expenses, and/or
- they’re forced to reduce employee headcount.
Find out more and apply on the Service NSW website.
Payroll tax concessions
Entities paying Australian wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30 per cent decline in turnover will receive a 50 per cent payroll tax deduction.
Any business with any payroll tax payments due from July 2021 to December 2021, can delay payment until 14 January 2022.
Commercial tenancy changes
The NSW Government has re-introduced rent relief for commercial and retail tenants with a turnover of up to $50 million who qualify for the COVID-19 Microbusiness grant, COVID-19 Business Grant or JobSaver Payment.
Landlords are required to provide eligible businesses rent relief in proportion with their tenant's decline in turnover (inclusive of COVID-19 business grants, but otherwise undefined). Of the rent relief provided, at least 50 per cent must be in the form a waiver, and the balance a deferral.
Tenants should provide evidence of their decline in turnover to their landlord to help them calculate the appropriate rent reduction. Evidence could include an Accountant's Letter.
Landlords will also be prohibited from evicting or locking out a tenant for certain breaches of the lease unless they have first renegotiated rent and attempted mediation.
If you are asked to prepare a statement under this scheme, we recommend you use the attached template and disclaimer. This template has been developed from APES 315 Compilation of Financial Information.
Land tax relief
Land tax relief has been announced for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2021. The relief will be a reduction in the 2021 tax payable on the parcel of land where rent relief has been given to the tenant who occupies that land.
The land tax reduction will be the lesser of:
- the amount of rent reduction provided to an eligible tenant for any period between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021, or
- 100 per cent of the 2021 land tax attributable to the parcel of land leased to that tenant.
Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund
The Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund provides grants of up to $3000 per month per retail or commercial lease to eligible landlords who may experience hardship as a result of reducing rent for their tenant(s).
The grant will be equal to the value of the rent waiver provided to the tenant in each month from August 2021, to a maximum of $3000 per month per eligible tenancy.
To be eligible, the landlord must:
- have not claimed any land tax relief for rent reductions between 1 July and 31 December 2021
- be a landowner or trustee with total taxable land holdings of less than $5 million (as at 31 December 2020
- have gross rental income as their primary source of income (gross rental income being more than 50 per cent of total assessable income) for the 2019-20 financial year.
Other restart assistance
Summer Holiday Stock Guarantee
Hospitality and retail businesses with an annual turnover of between $75,000 to $50 million will be able to apply for a grant of up to $20,000 to compensate for loss of perishable stock, or claim $10,000 for reduced capacity to sell non-perishable items, if they’re forced to close their doors between 1 December 2021 to 31 January 2022, due to a public health order.
Alfresco Restart Package
Grants of $5000 for hospitality businesses to get their outdoor dining ventures in a park or public space off the ground.
Business Cost Assistance Payment [updated 25 October 2021]
Businesses that successfully applied for the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two (from the May/June 2021 lockdown) will automatically receive a top-up payment of $2800 per week of lockdown until 2 September. From 2 September to 29 October, eligible businesses across Victoria will automatically receive the equivalent of:
- $2800 a week for businesses with an annual payroll below $650,000
- $5600 a week for businesses with an annual payroll of $650,000 to $3 million
- $8400 for businesses with an annual payroll of $3 million to $10 million.
Businesses in a smaller range of industries that remain closed or heavily restricted after 29 October remain eligible for these payments until 13 November. The exception being non-employing business – they will be eligible for $1000 per week payment instead of $2800.
Businesses that are eligible for this program will also receive an additional:
- $5000 if they remain impacted by capacity limits from 28 July, including gyms, cafes, restaurants and hairdressers
- $2000 if they are in the Melbourne CBD.
Construction businesses with a worksite located in metropolitan Melbourne, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire will be entitled to a one-off payment of:
- $2000 for non-employing sole traders
- $2800 for businesses with an annual payroll of up to $650,000
- $5600 for an annual payroll of $650,000 to $3 million
- $8400 for an annual payroll of $3 million to $10 million.
Find out more. Applications close 9 November 2021.
Under the COVIDSafe Outdoor Activation Vouchers, Victorian businesses, community organisations, not-for-profits and trader associations will be eligible for $2000 grants when they spend at least that amount to support initiatives such as outdoor hospitality, street trading and entertainment.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021
Businesses that successfully applied for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 (from the May/June 2021 lockdown) will automatically receive payments until 29 October of:
- $5000 per week for venues with capacity of up to 99 patrons
- $10,000 per week for venues with capacity of 100 to 499 patrons
- $20,000 per week with capacity of 500+ patrons.
Eligible venues in the Melbourne CBD will receive an additional $2000.
Commercial tenancy relief scheme
Commercial landlords in Victoria are required to provide rent relief that matches their tenants' fall in turnover where the tenant has:
- an annual turnover under $50 million, and
- experienced a decline in turnover (defined as GST turnover) of at least 30 per cent for three consecutive months between 1 April and 30 September 2021, compared to the same period in 2019 (or an agreed alternative).
At least half of the decline must be waived, with the remainder deferred. One form of evidence a tenant can provide their landlord to show a fall in turnover is a statement prepared by an accountant.
The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme applies from 28 July 2021 to 15 January 2022. Rent relief is now only available from the date of application.
Tenants and landlords are encouraged to enter negotiations directly. The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) will be available to provide mediation if parties cannot reach satisfactory agreement. Landlords will not be able to lock out or evict tenants without a determination from the VSBC.
If you are asked to prepare a statement under this scheme, we recommend you use the attached template and disclaimer. This template has been developed from APES 315 Compilation of Financial Information. There is no requirement for accountants to complete a statutory declaration in addition to such a statement. If you complete a statutory declaration, it may reduce the legal protections the letter template may give you.
Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund
Eligible commercial landlords that waive at least 50 per cent of the rent for their tenants between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022 can apply for grants of up to $6000 per tenancy. In cases of acute hardship, small landlords may be eligible for grants of up to $10,000 per tenancy. Eligible landlords must have taxable landholdings of under $3 million (excluding their primary place of residence) and use the grant to offset the waiver.
To be considered for acute hardship, landlords must have waived more than $6000 in rent between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022 and submit a Qualified Agents letter (DOC, 59KB) that confirms:
- commercial rent comprises at least 70 per cent of the landlord’s gross annual income for the 2019-20 financial year, and
- the landlord is neither an owner occupier of the tenanted property address nor a related party of the tenant.
2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant
Queensland small businesses and large tourism and hospitality businesses from across the state can apply for a grant of between $1000 to $30,000 if:
- they employ staff (not including any business owners)
- are headquartered in Queensland
- have an annual turnover of more than $75,000
- have an annual payroll in Queensland of not more than $10 million (this cap doesn't apply to tourism and hospitality businesses)
- experienced a 30 per cent or more decline in turnover for a one-week period that includes at least one full day of the recent lockdowns, compared to the same seven day period in 2019 or an alternative period.
The grants will be:
- $1000 for non-employing businesses
- $10,000 for employing businesses and not-for-profit with an annual payroll in Queensland of less than $1.3 million
- $15,000 for employing businesses and not-for-profit with an annual payroll in Queensland of between $1.3 million to $10 million
- $30,000 for employing tourism and hospitality businesses and not-for-profit with an annual payroll in Queensland of greater than $10 million
Queensland businesses on the border with NSW may be able to request an additional grant of $5000 for an employing business or $1000 for a non-employing business. To be eligible, you must have a trading location in the border business zone, have applied for and received the COVID-19 Business Support Grant and been impacted by the Queensland–New South Wales border closure between 14 August and 14 October 2021.
Applications for grants between $10,000 and $30,000 close 16 November 2021. Applications for the $1000 grant for non-employing business close 30 November 2021.
- Tourism and Hospitality Sector Hardship Grant – eligible businesses may receive grants of between $30,000 to $100,000 depending on the size of the business. The businesses must have experienced at least a 70 per cent reduction in revenue.
- Eligible tourism and hospitality businesses that lodge payroll tax returns monthly can apply to defer paying their payroll tax liability due in August 2021 for six months.
- Rent deferral is available for eligible tourism operators on state land for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.
- Tourism businesses that operate in a national park, conservation park, recreation area or state forest, may have fees waived or refunded between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022.
- There is a12-month fee waiver or refund of inbound tour operator fees.
- Liquor licensing fees will be waived for liquor and gaming licensees affected by COVID-19 for 2021-22.
- A COVID-19 cleaning rebate is available to cover up to 80 per cent of cleaning costs, capped at $10,000 per incident, where a business is a confirmed COVID-19 exposure site.
COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant
Businesses who have experienced a 50 per cent decline in turnover and have an annual payroll of less than $10 million will receive a hardship grant if they haven’t been eligible for a business grant since July 2021.
The amount of the grant will be:
- $6000 for an employing business
- $2000 for a non-employing business.
Applications close 31 October 2021.
COVID-19 Tourism and Hospitality Support Grant
Eligible tourism and hospitality businesses as well as performing arts, creative artists, taxis and car rental businesses that have already received the COVID-19 Additional Business Support Grant will automatically receive the following top-up payments:
- $3000 for employing businesses with turnover less than $2 million
- $10,000 for employing businesses with turnover of between $2 million to $5 million
- $20,000 for employing businesses with turnover of greater than $5 million
- $1000 for non-employing businesses.
Applications for businesses with a turnover of $2 million or more close 31 October 2021.
Regional COVID-19 Support Grant – Lower South East
Business in the City of Mount Gambier, District Council of Grant, and Wattle Range Council will be eligible for grants of $3000 for eligible employing businesses and $1000 for non-employing businesses.
To be eligible, the business must have experienced at least a 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to the restricted trading conditions over the week from 4 October 2021 to 10 October 2021 compared to average weekly turnover in the June quarter 2021.
Eligible businesses that have already received the COVID-19 Tourism and Hospitality Support Grant will automatically receive this payment.
Applications close 31 October 2021.Find out more on the Treasury SA website.
Southern Tasmania Lockdown Business Support Program
Businesses in southern Tasmania that were impacted by the lockdown from 15 October to 18 October are eligible for:
- Business required to “close / not permitted” to open - $1000
- Businesses “open” with restrictions - $750
- Businesses that lost perishable goods as a direct result of lockdown – an additional payment of up to $10,000
Applicants seeking the additional support for lost perishable goods will be required to provide copies of invoices of perishable goods purchased between 13 and 15 October 2021 that had to be discarded.
Perishable goods are defined as food, that typically spoils within a relatively short amount of time, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products and other goods, for example flowers.
Eligible businesses must have a reported an annual sales turnover of between $25 000 to $10 million in the 2021 financial year. For newly established businesses, the applicant must confirm their projected sales turnover will be at least $25 000 up to a maximum of $10 million for the 2022 financial year.
Applications close 1 November 2021.
COVID-19 Small Business Advice and Financial Guidance Program
The COVID-19 Small Business Advice and Financial Guidance Program will provide eligible applicants grants of between $750 to $1500 to obtain financial or other business guidance from a suitably qualified specialist / consultant to assist small businesses with for example:
- Strategic analysis
- Profitability analysis
- Advice regarding the management of debts and liabilities.
Applicants will be required to nominate a suitably qualified service provider that will provide such guidance or support. They will also be required to provide an itemised quote confirming the services to be provided, as well as confirmation of an appointment made with the nominated service provider.
Commercial tenancy support
Commercial landlords will be prevented from taking prescribed actions against tenants facing financial hardship caused by COVID-19 such as terminating their lease without first discussing lease arrangements with the tenant.
Commercial landlords who offer at least one month of rent relief may be eligible for a commercial rates credit of 50 per cent of the total rent reduction applied to one quarterly rates bill, capped to $10,000. Credits are based on rent reductions between 1 August and 30 September. A credit is also available for owner-operators who meet the eligibility criteria and is up to 80 per cent of quarterly rates for one quarter, capped to $10,000.
Commercial landlords who apply for the Small Business Hardship fund will not be eligible for this credit, however landlords can still apply for the COVID-19 Business Support Grants and the landlord support.
The measures protect business tenants:
- that have experienced a 30 per cent decline in turnover for any month during the lockdown (15 per cent for not-for-profits)
- have an annual turnover for the 2020-21 year of less than $50 million.
Evidence to show the decline in turnover test is met includes a statement prepared by a practising accountant. CPA Australia have released the following accountant's letter template based on example 6 from APES 315 Compilation of Financial Information.
COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme [updated 28 October 2021
Eligible small businesses will soon be able to apply for a credit from the ACT of up to $10,000 to be applied against payroll tax liabilities, utilities, rates and other business licence fees and charges.
To be eligible, the applicant must have an annual turnover of between $30,000 and $2 million and can demonstrate a 30 per cent loss in revenue.
Below is additional financial support available for local tourism businesses industry.
- Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator support program
- Small Tourism Operator COVID Recovery Payment
- Hire car and charter bus registration fees