COVID-19 Resource Hub

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen communities and businesses across the world face an unprecedented situation and be called upon to adapt and tackle new challenges. We've compiled the following information and resources to assist you during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Operating Policy during COVID-19 Restrictions

As of June 29, Charltons team has resumed to working from the office.

Clients meetings can be now conducted at our premises and we have implemented necessary procedures to ensure safety of our team and our customers following the Government guidelines.

If you are an existing client and wish to arrange the consultation over the phone or zoom, please liaise directly with your accountant.

If you are a new client and would like to get in touch, please do not hesitate to contact Kasia on kmcclatchey@chartlons.com.au or on (02) 8267 6666.

We continue to monitor the situation daily and will continue to update you on our measures on a regular basis.

We value our relationships and our commitment to clients will remain unchanged. For many clients this is a highly disruptive and uncertain time. Our team is here to assist you and navigate through this unprecedented situation.

How not to get lost in the midst of the information influx.

Summary of available government stimulus for individuals and businesses.

The vast extent of COVID-19 government stimulus and safety net announcements have inadvertently added to the existing stress and misunderstandings for a great majority of Australians. It is wise to focus on Government press releases and ultimately summaries based on actual legislation from non-partisan sources. There have been numerous inaccuracies advanced by journalists and media sources, so accurate information is better obtained from the source (such as federal government website or ATO) or from a lawyer or tax accountant. Whilst the apparent access to financial relief appears straightforward, there are multitudes of differences manifested in our diverse lifestyles and situations.
The below summary is intended to assist you with self-navigation and to equip you with the level of knowledge required to ask the right questions and have a good chance of understanding the answers [or detecting the BS].

Individuals

Individuals are faced with the following dilemmas:
  • Unemployment/on benefits
  • Loss of job
  • And/or loss of business whether or not you are a sole trader company, owner or partner
There are 2 solutions for individuals:

Centrelink JobSeeker Payment

Centrelink provides the most basic safety net. Low income earners in general are familiar with its operation and occasionally have to access the benefits. For those, COVID-19 a supplement is added on top of their basic fortnightly payment. Those familiar with the system understand rent subsidies and other important social benefits. It’s unlikely the situation will change for those already in the system apart from the supplement. Casual work will be even less available. To obtain the JobSeeker Payment, you will have to register with Centrelink (if you have never registered before) and you will need a CRN. You can apply for CRN online and once you have it you can apply for payments – it’s a two-step process.

Employers JobKeeper Payment

For those newly exposed to Centrelink, the new “jobseekers”, COVID-19 supplement was potentially the only option until the JobKeeper Payment was announced. Without having actual legislation to read, this provides an employee who was recently stood down/terminated/on leave, the opportunity to access $1,500 per fortnight from reconnecting with their previous employer. This is potentially better than Centrelink COVID-19 JobSeeker Payment (which is part of the reason for announcing it). You can only benefit from one or the other and therefore cannot apply for both. The restrictions and limits on JobSeeker, are not present with JobKeeper.

So what do you do?

You need to talk to your most recent employer (one you were registered with as an employee on 1st March 2020). Bear in mind the employers are not obliged to rehire you or reconnect.
  • If your employer (one only) wishes you to reconnect that will give you $1500 per fortnight. The employer pays this to you and receives government reimbursement. This will most likely start the first week of May. Whether you work for it or not is up to individual employers
  • Employers are only eligible to reconnect and pay you the JobKeeper Payment if their business has reduced by 30% and they can prove it to the tax office. So most likely they will be reluctant to put you back on the books if they don’t know if they are eligible or not. If this is the case, register for Centrelink as a backup plan.
  • If by May your previous employer finds out they are eligible for the JobKeeper Payment, and therefore you are, you will then have to advise Centrelink so no double dipping. You are only eligible for one of the payments: either JobSeeker or JobKeeper and cannot apply for both
  • The tax office is all over this and will easily detect any “funny business”
  Contact us for more information

Small business in the context of the government packages mean one man bands, sole traders, charities and not for profit and, whilst not specifically mentioned, the vague and largely misunderstood term “contractor”. What is essentially covered are those entities and persons who operate under an ABN. When you applied for an ABN you stated at the time that you were carrying on a business. If you have an ABN and you earn income by using it, essentially you are in. If you only have income as a contractor (not an employee), you are unable to go to that company that you provided most of your “contracted” income from and ask for the re-engagement $1500 JobKeeper Payment. You are not eligible. However what you personally may be eligible for is the $1500 under your own ABN given that you are carrying on business AND you can demonstrate a loss of at least 30% of your income. If not then you don’t qualify. If you then head on down to Centrelink to apply for JobSeeker Payment, you may not be eligible either if you have income from other sources over the certain limit, and/or a spouse earning over $80k so your “contractor” adventure may lock you out of both JobSeeker AND JobKeeper. Being a sole trader or employing yourself via a company creates eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment for you the employee, and your other employees too. On top of that, the $20K to $100K may be accessible as well, provided you business lodges BAS regularly/up to date and was actively in business on 1 March. If you are a sole trader with employees (or a charity or NFP) you should be entitled to $10K this side of June (paid before June, 30) and $10K the other side of June (in the 2nd half of the year). The first payment of all or part of the $10K will occur in the second week of May.

So what to do?

  • Make sure all lodgements are up to date, BAS, Super STP, personal returns, etc.
  • If you owe tax, immediately apply for a payment plan or stick to the one you have (apply for a variation if you need to)
  • If the ATO agrees with your payment regime and you adhere to it you will get the benefits
  • If you were on STP and your BAS  goes in by end of April,  NOTHING to do, the ATO can work it out
If you believe your business is eligible for  the JobKeeper Payment, register with the ATO (one minute to complete).  The ATO will make contact and ask you why you believe you are eligible. They will be reasonable and flexible but will be onto any sales pitch, sob story or general BS. It is likely that you will need Charltons to assist you with this. Once eligibility is agreed there will be monthly checking/forms to submit. Contact us for more information

NSW Government

The state government has announced a one off payment to assist. They will be looking for a 66% reduction in turnover. It is most likely that only businesses closed by the government will receive this. Gyms, restaurants, beauticians, small bars, etc. Payroll tax relief won’t be useful unless you have a payroll of $900K pa plus. The NSW Government has announced relief for landlords by way of a package that encompasses application for some relief for land tax of ability to access up to $2,500 for lost rent provided that these saving are passed on to tenants as rent reductions. The problem is that there is to date no application form or mechanism to claim even though it is in legislation..

Commercial Rental

Apart from freezing evictions, this has progressed by the federal government (with state government buy in) and will see a mandatory code of conduct binding on all landlords and tenants. This will contain a compulsory reduction of rent in line with business downturn. So for example if you are eligible for the Job Keeper test by the ATO, the 30% will be the rent reduction, arguably if your small business has been closed by the government then 100% reduction until you are allowed to reopen is a possibility.   This will most likely be 50% of the amount reduced waived and the other 50% deferred until you are back in business and payable over at least 12 months.

Insurance

Clients are encouraged to check their business insurance to see if business interruption insurance is covered. Contact us for more information

Important Websites

Australian Taxation Office

Visit website


COVID-19 | Australian Taxation Office

Visit website


Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how we may help - Services Australia

Visit website


Services Australia - Centrelink (Individuals)

Visit website


Services Australia - Centrelink (Businesses)

Visit website


Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Official Australian Government information

Visit website


COVID-19 In Your Language

Visit website


Update on Coronavirus Measures

Visit website


CA ANZ dedicated COVID-19 Resources hub:

Link to the CA ANZ dedicated COVID-19 Resources hub to access the latest updates on available government packages, guides for your practice or business and support to maintain your mental health and wellbeing.

Visit website


Planning tool to help businesses reopen and be COVIDSafe:

This planning toolkit has been prepared by the Australian Government to help your business or clients prepare a plan for the different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. These align with the National COVID‑19 Safe Work Principles agreed to by all Australian Governments to guide us and ensure that our workplaces are healthy and safe. 

Visit website

Important Downloads

resource-1
resource-2
resource-nab-corona