Another $17,500 for your business? Western Australia’s coronavirus stimulus explained

WA Premier Mark McGowan.

This article refers to the first WA stimulus package. Additional measure have since been announced and are available here.

The Western Australian government has announced its own $609 million economic stimulus package, in a bid to support households and small businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The state will spend $402 million on freezing household fees and charges — including electricity, water, vehicle charges, the emergency services levy and public transport fees — which were expected to go up by 2%.

It has also doubled its energy assistance payment to $600, in a bid to support vulnerable people, including pensioners.

However, $114 million has also been pledged to support Western Australian small businesses, in addition to the federal government’s package announced last week, with a heavy focus on payroll tax breaks.

Payroll tax grants

Through the stimulus package, any WA small business that pays payroll tax will receive a one-off grant of $17,500.

Businesses with a payroll of between $1 million and $4 million will be eligible for the grant.

These grants will be automatically paid by cheque, and are expected to start being distributed from July. However, there may be delays for businesses whose tax status changed during the 2018-19 or 2019-20 financial year.

The state government advises businesses to make sure their registered addresses are up to date.

It is currently not clear whether those businesses have to apply for the grant, or if they will be allocated the funds automatically.

Businesses with payroll of less than $1 million will become exempt from payroll tax, from July 1 2020, as the threshold increases six months ahead of schedule.

Payroll tax deferral for ‘affected’ businesses

Western Australian businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak may also be eligible to defer their payroll tax payments until July 21, 2020.

Deferral is available to employers that pay up to $7.5 million in taxable wages, who have been directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the government’s website, a business is ‘affected’ if turnover, profit, customer numbers, bookings, retail sales, supply contracts, or other factors have seen a negative impact, because of the coronavirus outbreak.

To secure the deferral, business owners have to fill in a form, and describe how their business has been affected.

You can find the payroll tax deferral form here.

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