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A taxing time

Welcome to this week’s hand book for managing through the COVID-19 crisis. 

It’s tax time again and this year there’s plenty of new things to consider. Many Australian taxpayers will be making working from home tax claims this time round, and for those business owners who are considering running their business from home permanently, there’s added complexity

For sole traders who’ve been receiving JobKeeper or JobSeeker payments, make sure you declare the payments as assessable income. 

Elsewhere, here are five more things to check off your list this week:

Also this week, we round-up how Aussie companies are raising funds during this time, share insights from some of our regular experts, and look at how an exodus of office workers is affecting businesses in capital city CBDs. 

This will be our final COVID-19 Crisis Handbook. In its place, we’re excited to bring you a new newsletter focused on technology and the future of work, starting next week. Stay turned.

Best wishes,

Eloise Keating
SmartCompany editor

EOFY and COVID-19

The end of the financial year is just around the corner and it’s going to be a whopper, amid expectations of a spike in new claims for everything from home offices to personal protective equipment.

We’ve put together some tips from the experts to help you navigate EOFY 2020.


Almost 50% of Australians with jobs have been working from home over the past few months, meaning there will be no shortage of home office expenses claimed on tax returns in 2020.

Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of your own return, including what to claim, and how to do it.


Sole traders must declare JobKeeper as assessable income in 2020, and early birds should also put down any JobSeeker income they’ve received as well, in case the form hasn’t been pre-filled.

Don’t forget, failing to declare could result in a nasty bill later down the line.

Learn more


Enjoying working from home? Keen to cancel your commercial lease and move your office to your house full time? Careful, the tax office might end up taking a slice when you eventually sell down the track.

Here’s what you need to know about capital gains and home offices.


The federal government has deferred indexing of GST and income tax instalments to provide some financial relief to businesses and high-income individuals who meet their obligations over time.

The change will apply for tax time this year, and will benefit an estimated 2.2 million taxpayers.

Read more

How Aussie companies are raising funds

Pandemic or no pandemic, startup funding has continued to flow, and Australian companies at all stages are securing backing from investors.

Just this week, Aussie founded cybersecurity startup Kasada has secured $14.4 million from US investors, and Diffuse Energy closed its $400,000 seed funding round to ramp up production of its mini wind turbines.

Equity crowdfunding is still ticking over too. Over the past month, GigSuper, Outland Denim and digital food marketplace Two Hands all closed successful campaigns. 

We’re also seeing action at the top of the pipeline; this week, VC fund Square Peg announced it has secured $350 million in investment from some of the country’s largest super funds. 


City limits

Australia’s largest capital cities are home to thousands of small businesses who cater almost exclusively to commuters, and the slow return of white-collar workers to these CBDs is threatening their very survival.

Even as COVID-19 restrictions lift, business owners are finding there’s a big difference between being legally allowed to trade and actually doing so.

Keep reading

Quick links
Manufacturer saves 29 weeks pay after Fair Work Commission slashes workers’ redundancy payouts
“Amazon will not be accepting wooden dollars”: How one mayor is countering the economic crisis by printing his own cash
Victoria unveils $250 million business growth fund for SMEs to combat coronavirus pain
Small business ombudsman calls for a small business procurement panel to assist in Australia’s economic recovery
Signed, sealed, delivered

The coronavirus pandemic has been a shot in the arm for Australia’s e-commerce industry, and for retailers in this space, there’s now plenty of postage and courier options to get products to consumers.

Read our guide to the options on offer for startups and SMEs.


As our guide shows, competition in the parcel delivery space is fierce. And what that means for Australia Post will be an unfolding story that’s closely linked to its loss-making letters business.

Read how the rise of Instagram, Facebook and email has changed the game for Australia Post.

Healthy Mind, Healthy Business

The coronavirus pandemic has given us all a chance to embrace flexible work practices. Rob Sturrock says going to a four-day week schedule was one of the best turning points in his life, and he recommends other parents consider doing the same.

Read on


Learn how Travelling Tradies founder Adam Valastro went from burnt-out tradie to inspired entrepreneur in this sponsored article.

How he traded tools for entrepreneurship.


Advice

For many businesses and individuals, the quick shift to all things digital has been a defining feature of the coronavirus crisis. As we start to ease into a new normal, GO1 co-founder Vu Tran says there are four key elements of COVID-19 life that are here to stay, and that will define the workplaces of the future.

Find out what they are.


The COVID-19 crisis has left many employers in difficult situations as they’ve struggled to keep their businesses afloat while meeting obligations to staff members.

When it comes to stand-downs, pay cuts and reduced hours, Kayte Lewis explains what you can ask employees to do, and what happens if they start working for a competitor in the meantime.

Read more here.


Effective customer communication has never been so important. And, during the crisis, those customers may be looking for something a little different to normal.

What would have been spam yesterday could be a business opportunity today, says Be Fit Food co-founder Kate Save.

Learn more.

In case you missed it
“Playing the long game”: Gym owners rejoice as restrictions ease, but say re-opening is just the beginning
“A sad day”: QUT closes its Creative Enterprise program, as COVID-19 puts pressure on university sector
Buy From the Bush delivers $5 million to regional small business, and two crises later, they’re still feeling the love
“Closed borders cost jobs”: Businesses call for ‘travel triangle’ as Treasurer ratchets up pressure on state governments
Where has Australia relied most on JobKeeper? Treasury reveals application numbers by postcode
What other entrepreneurs are doing

COVID-19 may have caused many businesses to freeze their hiring, but between the economic crisis and the spotlight on racial injustice in Australia, now was the right time for startup DivTal to release its diversity-focused recruitment tech to the world. 

Elsewhere, ColourSpace, which dresses up office spaces with works from local artists, has hung on to all of its clients during the pandemic, even as offices stand empty. And, after having to put its primary business on hold, recovery clothing business Recovawear has launched a new line of trendy attire designed especially for people with disabilities.


What we're predicting and watching

Following the announcement this week that the Queensland University of Technology is closing up its Creative Enterprise Australia program, we’re considering the plight of the university sector, and the knock-on effect it could have on the startup ecosystem.

As borders remain closed to international students, cash-strapped universities may feasibly be looking for ways to cut costs. But, if their entrepreneurship programs are in the firing line, we could lose a valuable springboard for new businesses, and one of the few resources for very early-stage startups.


The tourism sector was among the first to feel the pain associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and it looks as though it will be one of the last still reeling from government restrictions, with international travel unlikely to resume until 2021.

Should the federal government extend its support for businesses in the sector, including by expanding JobKeeper past September?

We’re speaking to tourism businesses this week about how the downturn is affecting them, and what would help them recover.


Restrictions across the country are continuing to ease this week, with South Australia and Tasmania relaxing their border lockdowns, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison put pressure on states last week to open up their economies.

Gyms are now able to re-open in NSW and businesses in other sectors are preparing their own operations for a resumption of trading in the coming weeks.

Federal and state officials want most trading restrictions gone by July, so expect to see some further announcements over the next fortnight.

Additional resources
Council of Small Business Organisations Australia
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
My Business Health
Business.gov.au
Department of Health
 
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