Explained: What’s in the NSW COVID-19 business support package?

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Bird's eye view of Sydney. Source: Unsplash/Jamie Davies.

The NSW and federal governments joint COVID-19 business support package announced yesterday includes a raft of measures for small and medium businesses affected by coronavirus restrictions.

From a new ‘Saving Jobs’ weekly cashflow boost to a revival of commercial rent support, New South Wales businesses will soon be able to access further financial assistance as the possibility of an extended lockdown in Greater Sydney’s increases. 

Here are all the support measures for businesses.

JobSaver cashflow payments

The JobSaver support program, funded by the NSW and Commonwealth governments, will give cashflow support to sole traders as well as small and medium businesses affected by NSW current coronavirus restrictions.

Businesses can receive payments of up to 40% of their weekly payroll, or between $1,500 to $10,000 in weekly payments. Sole traders will be eligible to apply for weekly payments of $1,000. 

Who’s eligible?

To be eligible, businesses must show that their national turnover has declined by 30% since the stay-at-home orders were announced. The NSW Treasurer’s office confirmed the turnover test will compare turnover during the lockdown to an equivalent period in June or July 2019. 

Businesses must also demonstrate that their staffing levels have been maintained at the level they were as of July 13, 2021 to continue receiving the payments.

How can I apply?  

Businesses will be able to apply at MyServiceNSW. While applications won’t open until July 26, Service NSW has recommended businesses update their MyServiceNSW Account and business profile, and ensure their contact details are correct in the Australian Business Register. Payments are expected to begin flowing from July 30. 

You can also register your interest in the program to receive email updates.

What documents will I need? 

The NSW government has not identified the supporting documents businesses will need to include in their applications for the cashflow payments.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) has already raised concerns about the application process, including evidence of payroll and turnover.

Michael Croker, tax leader at CA ANZ, said the application process raises “questions about data sharing between governments” because it will be managed by Service NSW rather than the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). 

“While businesses can register their interest, accountants are eager to understand what follow-up information will be required in order for cash payments to flow,” Croker said.

Croker said this cash boost is linked to employee retention but there’s no apparent reliance on the Single Touch Payroll information held by the ATO or Business Activity Statements.

NSW business grants program extended

The previously announced business grants program will be expanded to include eligible businesses with wages below $10 million.

Businesses with wages under $10 million can claim grants of up to $15,000 to cover the first three-weeks of restrictions, depending on the decline in turnover experienced during the lockdown. Applications for these grants will open on July 19.

Micro business grants

Small businesses and sole traders with annual turnover of between $30,000 and $75,000 will be able to apply for micro business grants of $1,500. Businesses must experience a decline in turnover of 30% to be eligible.

The $1,500 payment will be available to micro businesses for every fortnight restrictions continue.

Payroll tax waivers

The NSW government announced payroll tax waivers of 25% for businesses with wages bills of between $1.2 million and $10 million that experience a 30% decline in turnover.

Businesses can also access payroll tax deferrals and interest free repayment plans.

Land tax relief

Similar to last year, commercial tenants will benefit from land tax relief.

Commercial, retail and residential landlords will be eligible for land tax relief that’s equivalent to the rent reductions they give their tenants and up to 100% of their 2021 land tax year liability.

Performing arts sector

Commercial and non-for-profit organisations in the arts sector are set for a $75 million boost, under a new package to help arts businesses forced to cancel live events due to the coronavirus restrictions.

The package includes immediate relief to eligible organisations that had to cancel scheduled performances due to the lockdown.

The second stage of support will see arts organisations receive funding to reschedule performances once restrictions ease.

Applications will open at this Create NSW website from July 23.

The accommodation sector

The NSW government announced a $26 million support package for the accommodation sector on Tuesday. However, details of the package are yet to be released.

This article was updated on Monday July 19. 

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New small business
New small business
3 months ago

Any word on how to calculate the 30% decline for new businesses? If your business didn’t exist in 2018/2019 but the lockdown has hit our business hard? Can I justify using the last 6-8 months of growth + forecasts to support the 30% decline?