Featured Artwork: Nigel Sense, More Better , 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 60 cm by 80 cm

The Australian Government today announced a stimulus package in response to economic challenges created by the Coronavirus.
There are 4 parts to the stimulus package: business investment measures; cash flow assistance for small and medium sized businesses; household stimulus payments; and targeted support for severely affected sectors and regions

1. Business investment measures

The instant asset writeoff threshold will be increased from $30,000 to $150,000 per item and it will now include businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. Artworks will continue to qualify for these measures.Accelerated depreciation for a timelimited 15 months investment incentive, from now to 30 June 2021, available to businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million, which will be able to deduct an additional 50 per cent of the asset cost in the year of purchase.

2. Cashflow assistance for small and medium sized businesses

A payment of between $2,000 and $25,000 that will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff, between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020.
Businesses will receive payments of 50 per cent of their Activity Statements from 28 April with refunds to then be paid within 14 days.
The payment will be tax free.
For small businesses with apprentices and trainees, employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent for up to 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice.
The ATO has also confirmed eligible businesses can defer, by up to four months, the payment date of amounts due through their activity statements (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise.

Other measures announced by the ATO include:

  • Allowing businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to;
  • Allowing businesses to vary Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the April 2020 quarter (Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters);
  • Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities; and
  • Working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low interest payment plans.

Employers will still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees.

3. Household stimulus payments

A one-off $750 stimulus payment to pensioners, social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The payment will be tax free and will not count as income for Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.
There will be one payment per eligible recipient. If a person qualifies for the oneoff payment in multiple ways, they will only receive one payment.
Payments will be from 31 March 2020 on a progressive basis, with over 90 per cent of payments expected to be made by mid-April.

4. Severely affected sectors and regions

The government has allocated $1 billion to support those sectors, regions and communities that have been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the Coronavirus, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.

This will include the waiver of fees and charges for tourism businesses that operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Commonwealth National Parks. It will also include additional assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets or supply chains. Targeted measures will also be developed to further promote domestic tourism. Further plans and measures to support recovery will be designed and delivered in partnership with the affected industries and communities.