Tax reprieve for SMEs as ATO offers bushfire support

ATO

The Morrison Government passed new tax debt laws last October. Source: AAP/Lukas Coch.

Small and medium businesses in NSW, South Australia and Victoria have been granted an additional two-month deferral on activity statement lodgements and payments as federal regulators step up efforts to support bushfire affected communities.

As unprecedented bushfires continue to ravage large swathes of Australia’s east, where an estimated 8.4 million hectares have so far burned, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday announced the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will place an eight-week stay on tax obligations for more than 100 postcodes in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The decision builds on earlier deferrals announced by the tax office last November and December, and automatically applies to quarterly business activity statements (BAS) as well as other payments.

The tax office is also considering extending the scope of the deferrals to include additional areas and payments.

“The ATO recognises that bushfires continue to devastate communities across Australia,” a tax office spokesperson said in a statement.

“The ATO does not want individuals and businesses who have been impacted to face additional stress related to their tax obligations during this time.”

Individuals and businesses in postcodes listed by the ATO on its website do not need to apply for the deferrals, but the tax office has previously advised firms to ensure their Australian Business Number (ABN) details are up to date.

“The ATO will give you time to recover and work with you to sort out your tax affairs when you are ready,” a spokesperson said.

Taxpayers affected by the bushfires but not located in listed postcodes have also been encouraged to contact the tax office directly to ensure individuals and businesses don’t fall through the cracks.

Frydenberg announced the extension during a press conference in Canberra yesterday, where the Morrison Government unveiled an additional $2 billion in taxpayer money to fund a national bushfire recovery fund.

It comes as new estimates emerge about the prospective economic cost of the bushfires, pegged at around $2 billion (and rising) in modelling conducted by SGS Economics and Planning’s Terry Rawnsley.

Communities eligible for tax deferrals

Search your postcode below (keyboard: ctrl+F).

New South Wales (by postcode):

  • Bega Valley: 2546, 2548, 2549, 2550, 2551, 2631, 2632;
  • Blue Mountains: 2758, 2773, 2774, 2776, 2777, 2778, 2779, 2780, 2782, 2783, 2784, 2785, 2786, 2787;
  • Central Coast: 2083, 2250, 2251, 2256, 2257, 2258, 2259, 2260, 2261, 2262, 2263, 2775;
  • Kyogle: 2469, 2470, 2474, 2475, 2476, 2480;
  • Lithgow: 2785, 2786, 2787, 2790, 2795, 2845, 2846, 2847, 2848, 2849, 2850;
  • Mid-Western: 2795, 2844, 2848, 2849, 2850, 2852;
  • Singleton: 2320, 2325, 2330, 2331, 2333, 2335;
  • Wingecarribee: 2571, 2574, 2575, 2576, 2577, 2578, 2579, 2580; and
  • Wollondilly: 2508, 2560, 2568, 2569, 2570, 2571, 2572, 2573, 2574, 2745, 2752, 2787.

Monthly BAS statements originally due on January 21 and February 21, 2020, have been deferred to March 21, 2020, for these postcodes.

Note: This deadline was extended from March 6 to March 21 on January 8.

Additionally, dozens of other parts of the state remain eligible for previously announced deferrals. Full details are available on the ATO’s website.

South Australia (by postcode):

  • Adelaide Hills: 5052, 5072, 5073, 5076, 5114, 5125, 5131, 5132, 5133, 5134, 5136, 5137, 5138, 5139, 5140, 5141, 5142, 5144, 5151, 5152, 5153, 5154, 5155, 5156, 5157, 5231, 5232, 5233, 5234, 5235, 5240, 5241, 5242, 5243, 5244, 5245, 5252, 5351;
  • City of Playford: 5110, 5112, 5113, 5114, 5115, 5116, 5117, 5118, 5120, 5121;
  • Kangaroo Island: 5220, 5221, 5222, 5223;
  • Lower Eyre Peninsula: 5606, 5607, 5630, 5631, 5632;
  • Mount Barker: 5153, 5155, 5157, 5201, 5243, 5244, 5245, 5250, 5251, 5252, 5254; and
  • Yorke Peninsula: 5552, 5558, 5570, 5571, 5572, 5573, 5575, 5576, 5577, 5580, 5581, 5582, 5583.

Monthly BAS statements originally due on January 21 and February 21, 2020, have been deferred to March 21, 2020, for these postcodes.

Note: This deadline was extended from March 6 to March 21 on January 8.

Victoria (by postcode):

  • East Gippsland: 3699, 3701, 3707, 3851, 3862, 3864, 3865, 3875, 3878, 3880, 3882, 3885, 3886, 3887, 3888, 3889, 3890, 3891, 3892, 3893, 3895, 3896, 3898, 3900, 3902, 3903, 3904, 3909; and
  • Towong: 3691, 3695, 3700, 3701, 3704, 3705, 3707, 3708, 3709.

Monthly BAS statements originally due on January 21 and February 21, 2020, have been deferred to March 21, 2020, for these postcodes.

Note: This deadline was extended from March 6 to March 21 on January 8.

Queensland (by postcode):

  • Noosa: 4562, 4563, 4565, 4566, 4567, 4568, 4569, 4571, 4573;
  • Livingstone: 4700, 4701, 4702, 4703, 4704, 4705, 4706, 4710, 4711, 4741;
  • Somerset: 4306, 4311, 4312, 4313, 4314, 4342, 4346, 4514, 4515; and
  • Toowoomba: 4314, 4350, 4352, 4353, 4354, 4355, 4356, 4357, 4358, 4359, 4360, 4361, 4363, 4364, 4365, 4400, 4401, 4402, 4403, 4404, 4405, 4407, 4614.

Deferrals for postcodes in Queensland were initially listed last November, the latest round of deferrals do not apply to Queensland.

Monthly BAS statements for these postcodes due on November 21 and December 21, 2019, were extended to January 21, 2020.

Income tax bills for 2018-19 originally due on November 21, 2019, were also deferred to January 21, 2020.

This story was updated at 3:30PM AEDT, January 8 to reflect additional deferrals published by the ATO.

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