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The Tax-Free Payments to Employers

With the announcement from Federal Governments Economic Response to the COVIC-19 Coronavirus, the cash flow grant for employers measure is designed to support employing small and medium sized businesses and to improve business confidence. The measures also supports the activities of not-for-profits (including charities) at a time where they are facing increased demand for services.

On 12 March 2020, the Government announced the cash flow grant for employers measure and initially provided up to $25,000 with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses. Small and medium sized business entities that employ workers with aggregated annual turnover less than $50 million are eligible.

The Government has then improved this measure as part of the second economic stimulus package. Not-for-profit entities (NFPs), including charities that employ workers, with aggregated annual turnover less than $50 million will now also be eligible. This will support employment activities at a time where NFPs are facing increasing demand for services.

Under the improved scheme, employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (increase from 50 per cent), with the maximum payment being increased from $25,000 to $50,000. Furthermore, the minimum payment is being increased from $2,000 to $10,000.

An additional payment is also being introduced in the July to October 2020 period. Eligible entities will receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the cash flow grant for employers payments they have received. This means that eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000 under both payments. The cash flow grant for employers is tax-free payment with no new forms required and automatically calculated by the ATO

This additional payment continues to support businesses over a longer period to help them maintain staff, improve confidence, continue operating and at the same time stimulating the economy. It’s crucial for the government to help small businesses because they are the backbone of the economy.

Who is eligible and what is the timing?

SME business entities and NFPs that employ workers, with aggregated annual turnover less than $50 million will be eligible with the eligibility generally be based on prior year turnover.

  • The payment will be an automatic credit in the activity statement system from 28 April 2020 upon employers lodging eligible upcoming activity statements.
  • Eligible employers that withhold tax on their employees’ salary and wages will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of the amount withheld, up to a maximum payment of $50,000.
  • Eligible employers that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $10,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax.
  • The payments will only be available to active eligible employers established prior to 12 March 2020 except charities which are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission will be eligible regardless of when they were registered, subject to meeting other eligibility requirements.

The cash flow grant for employers payment will be applied to a limited number of activity statement lodgements. The ATO will send the payment as a credit to the entity upon lodgement of their activity statements. The ATO will send the refund within 14 days if the entity is entitled to a refund.

Type of lodger Eligible period Lodgement due date
Quarterly Quarter 3 (January, February and March 2020)
Quarter 4 (April, May and June 2020)
28 April 2020
28 July 2020
Monthly March 2020
April 2020
May 2020
June 2020
21 April 2020
21 May 2020
22 June 2020
21 July 2020

If you lodged quarterly, you will be eligible to receive the payment for the quarters ending March and June 2020.

If you lodged monthly, you will be eligible to receive the payment for the March, April, May and June 2020 lodgements. To provide a similar treatment to quarterly lodgers, the payment for monthly lodgers will be calculated at three times the rate (which is 300 per cent) in the March 2020 activity statement with the minimum payment will be applied to the entities’ first lodgement.

Additional payment eligibility and timing

Your entity must remain active in order to qualify for the additional payment from the Government.

If you lodged activity statements monthly, the additional payments will be delivered as an automatic credit in the activity statement system. This will be equal to a quarter of their total initial cash flow grant for employers payment following the lodgement of their June, July, August and September 2020 activity statements up to a total of $50,000.

If you lodged activity statements quarterly, the additional payments will be sent as an automatic credit in the activity statement system. This will be equal to half of their total initial cash flow grant for employers payment following the lodgement of their June and September 2020 activity statements up to a total of $50,000.

The additional payment will be applied to a limited number of activity statement lodgements. The ATO will send the payment as a credit to the entity upon lodgement of their activity statements. The ATO will send the refund within 14 days if the entity is entitled to a refund.

Type of lodger Eligible period Lodgement due date
Quarterly Quarter 4 (April, May and June 2020)
Quarter 1 (July, August and September 2020)
28 July 2020
28 October 2020
Monthly June 2020
July 2020
August 2020
September 2020
21 July 2020
21 August 2020
22 September 2020
21 October 2020

If you lodged quarterly, you will be eligible to receive the additional payment for the quarters ending June 2020 and September 2020. Each additional payment will be equal to half of their total initial cash flow grant for employers payment with up to a total of $50,000.

If you lodged monthly, you will be eligible to receive the additional payment for the June, July, August and September 2020 lodgements. Each additional payment will be equal to a quarter of their total initial cash flow grant for Employers payment with up to a total of $50,000.

Examples of Tax-Free Payment to Employers

Example 1 – John’s Removalist Business

John owns and runs a removalist business in Western Australia and employs 10 workers on average full-time weekly earnings, who each earn $90,750 per year. John reports withholding of $15,600 for his employees on each of his monthly Business Activity Statements (BAS).

Under the Government’s measure, John will be eligible to obtain the payment on lodgement of his BAS. John’s business receives:

  • A credit of $46,800 for the March period
  • A credit of $3,200 for the April period, before he reaches the $50,000 cap.
  • No payment for the May period, as he has now reached the $50,000 cap.
  • An additional payment of $12,500 for the June, July, August and September period, respectively

Under the Government’s enhanced cash flow grant for employers measure, John’s business will receive $100,000.

Example 2 – Tony’s Barber Shop

Tony owns a barber shop on the Surfers Paradise. He employs 10 employees, with average salary of $45,000 per year. Tony reports withholding of $8,601 for his employees in each of his monthly BAS. Under the measure, Tony will be eligible to receive the payments on lodgement of his relevant BAS.

Tony’s business will receive:

  • A credit of $25,803 for the March period
  • A credit of $8,601 for the April and May period, respectively
  • A credit of $6,995 for the June period, before he reaches the $50,000 cap. Tony will also receive an additional payment of $12,500 for the June, July, August and September period, respectively

Under the Government’s enhanced cash flow grant for employers measure, Tony’s business will receive $100,000.

Example 3 – Todd’s Courier Run

Todd owns and runs a small paper delivery business in South Australia and employs two casual employees who each earn $10,000 per year. In his quarterly BAS, Todd reports $0 withholding tax for his employees as they are under the tax-free threshold.

Under the Government’s measure, Todd will be eligible to receive the payment on lodgement of his BAS.

Todd’s business will receive:

  • A credit of $10,000 for the March quarter, as he pays salary and wages but is not required to withhold tax.
  • An additional payment of $5,000 for the June and September quarter, respectively

If Todd begins withholding tax for the June quarter, he would need to withhold more than $10,000 before he receives any additional payment.

Under the Government’s enhanced cash flow grant for employers measure, Todd’s business will receive $20,000.

If you know anyone in your circle who need any assistance during these times, please reach out to them because “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone”and “Together We Can Make A Difference”

Pitt Martin Accountants & Tax Advisers is here to assist you and your business in time of crisis by contacting 02 9221 3345 or connect@pittmartin.com.au.

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COVID-19 Business Continuity Plan

The COVID-19 situation is bigger than any of us have ever faced. Our clients, professionals, mum’s and dad’s don’t understand how badly they need accountants and advisors’ help.  They are scared and don’t know what to do, and most probably haven’t really thought through what the consequences will be for them.

As a business owner, there’s one key thing you need to focus on now which is keeping your business alive during these tough times. Downturn can be scary usually because there is no plan in place for your business and the world around you appear to be panicking. There is no reason to be panicking. In times of difficulty lies an opportunity. If your cash flow is under control then so is your business.

You need to take actionable appropriate steps to create a Continuity Plan, then in reality a downturn is just a stop gap to the next upturn, where your business will be cash flow fit and ready to take full advantage.

To maintain your cash, you may need to consider options that you haven’t consider before. You need to work with your accountant to identify which key parts your business is eligible for Australian Government stimulus package and get the process started to obtain these cash flow bonuses. When you meet with your accountant, it’s important to update your business cash flow plan over the coming months.

As an employer, you need to openly discuss reduced working hours with your employees to save cash (if this does save cash) and working from home arrangements. Employees will be scared. They will need to be assured, so they need to be given an understanding of the plan to keep the business alive.

Constant communication and a payment plan with the ATO could be an option especially if you need to delay making payments of GST and PAYG Withholding Tax. However it’s vital that you keep lodging you Business Activity Statements (BAS) and Instalment Activity Statements (IAS) by their due dates. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is implementing a series of relief options to assist those impacted by the coronavirus. The relief will not be automatically applied. You can contact your accountant to contact the ATO to make any requests for assistance.

In addition, you can contact your Bank Manager as soon as possible and arrange for additional bank funding or lines of credit that can be approved now for use in an emergency. Making these arrangements early before things have gone bad is the key. Bank approvals may take up to one month or longer. Consider also using alternative funders to set up a short term line of credit now to pay for inventory and operating costs. You should consider doing this as a backup now to any other bank lending arrangements you may have.

If you have to self-quarantine or if you incapacitated in any way, you need to have an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) in place so your business can continue to operate. Ensure your EPOA and Will are up to date now and ensure your family and your Accountant know where the original signed documents are.

Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to understand precisely what you are and are not covered for in the event of an extended incident. Review your general insurance policies for any Business Interruption Insurance inclusions.

We need to stay calm and rely on reliable sources of information from State and Australian Government. In the meantime, below is the link directly to the Government Media release of the second Economic Stimulus Plan, https://www.pm.gov.au/media/supporting-australian-workers-and-business

If you have any questions or would like to seek assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Pitt Martin Accountants & Tax Advisers on 02 9221 3345 or connect@pittmartin.com.au

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COVID-19 and your business

With the development of COVID-19 from epidemic to pandemic status, businesses across Australia are facing the possibility of harmful effect. We are all aware of the impact and potential expansion of Coronavirus on the world, but what are the potential impacts on the Australian economy over 2020 and how the impact can be managed and mitigated.

It is unknown if Covid-19 will be long forgotten in 12 months or something that we all have to accept as part of our lives. The truth is Australian businesses are likely to face many challenges including cash flow issues, loss of trades, supply shortages and changes to working arrangement for staffs which resulting in operational disruption.

As the situation develops there is more uncertainty than assurance that the issue will be resolves at this time. It is important to keep yourself constantly updated with Government advice releases.

What to do?

There is no need to be panic. Remember that tough times don’t last, tough people do. Businesses should consider taking an immediate action to develop strategic plan to mitigate the disruption and financial loss for immediate and future threats. It is vital for businesses to identify all significant risks and potential opportunities it may be exposed to during this time and develop an action plan to ensure business continuity throughout.

Businesses can assess and evaluate their trading performance, financial position and current cash flow position via review of the relevant aspects. This process will enable assessment of the business financially, the business challenges in the short to medium term and thoroughly test financial forecast assumptions.

Constant communication with clients, suppliers, employees, financiers and all other key stakeholders regarding the development of this situation is important.

Government

The Australian Government is acting decisively in the national interest to address the potentially significant economic consequences of the virus, without a permanent or structural impact on the budget balance.

The government has now announced an economic response totalling $17.6 billion across the forward estimates, representing 0.9 percent of annual GDP to strengthen the economy during this tough period.

The package is intended to support confidence, employment and business continuity. It is designed to support business investment, help small businesses manage short-term cash flow challenges, provide targeted support to individuals and assistance to the most severely affected communities and regions. It includes cash grant of up to $25,000 for small businesses, $750 one-off payments for potential consumers, and a significant temporary extension to the instant asset write-off scheme (from $30,000 to $150,000)

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is also providing administrative relief for some tax obligations for people affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis including potential deferrals of lodgements.

For more details on the stimulus package, please visit the link below
https://www.pm.gov.au/media/economic-stimulus-package

If you have any questions or would like to seek assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Pitt Martin Accountants & Tax Advisers on 02 9221 3345 or connect@pittmartin.com.au

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Managing Cash Flow

Cash flow is one of the most important components of success for a SME business. Without cash, profits are meaningless. Organisations that don’t implement good cash management may not be able to make the investments needed to compete, or they may have to pay more to borrow money to operate.

Most business owners don’t really have a handle on their cash flow because they are too busy running their business. Inadequate cash flow management is causing more business failures today than ever before.

Cash flow is basically the movement of cash in and out of the business. You should be tracking this either weekly, monthly or quarterly. Positive cash flow occurs when the cash channelling into your business from sales is more than the amount of the cash leaving your businesses through expenses. On the other hand, negative cash flow occurs when your outflow of cash is greater than your inflow of cash. This generally brings concern for a business, but there are steps you can take to remedy the situation and generate more cash while maintaining expenses. You should review operating costs such as electricity, phone and internet frequently ensure you are getting the best deal.

You should have a clear debt collection process because late payments can put a significant strain on your cash flow. You could put your clients on direct debit with pre-authorisation checks so that the banks can draw against their accounts at scheduled intervals. You could also try offering discounts to clients if they pay invoices quickly.

As a small business owner, you might have areas that you are not so strong in. Perhaps you are great at sales but struggle with accounting, tax and bookkeeping. Hiring a professional or consultant who’s an expert in the areas that you need support with makes business sense. At the same time, you won’t have to pay a full-time additional salary ongoing. The consultant can work ‘in’ your business and you can focus ‘on’ your business.

Moving to a cloud accounting solution is a must because you can access your financials at anywhere and anytime. This means you can stay on top of your bookkeeping from overseas, home or on the road. Cloud accounting solution has made it easy for you to log in and add expense as you generate them, track overdue payments or review your profit and loss statement. You can securely share your financial information with your consultant, so they always have a live and up to date data to provide you with any advice as needed.

Most small business owners see growth as the solution to a cash flow issue. They often achieve their goal of growing the business only to find they have increased their cash flow issues in the process. Plan for growth and the related cash expenses in advance, so they don’t come as a surprise.

Cash flow shortages are often hard to predict, largely if they’re caused by a large unpredicted expense or unexpectedly slow payment from a major client. You should always have a plan in place to access additional capital if you need it.

One way to keep the situation under control is by tracking your cash flow results every week, month or quarterly to determine if your management is generating the type of cash flow your business needs. This also helps you get better at creating cash flow projections you can rely on as you make business decisions about expanding your business and taking care of your existing invoices.

Should you require any assistance regarding your accounting and bookkeeping, please do not hesitate to contact Pitt Martin Accountants & Tax Advisers on 02 9221 3345 or connect@pittmartin.com.au

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